Wattletree Road Bridge, Eltham

This is currently before VCAT after the council rejected Vic Roads' application for widening and realigning the bridge. The date for mediation is 8 October 2010. The final VCAT hearing will be on 22nd and 23rd November 2010. Vic Roads wishes to widen the bridge and remove vegetation. Replanting of a number of local species and landscaping is intended. Residents are mostly concerned about the size of the rebuilding and the vegetation removal.


Mon 4 October, 2010
A mediation session for all parties to this dispute will be held at VCAT on Friday 8th October 2010 at 10am.

Fri 12 November, 2010
Mediation at VCAT between Vic Roads and objectors occurred over two days during October and November. The outcome is that we have won some concessions from Vic Roads. The bridge, originally intended to be 14 metres wide, has been reduced to 11.7m wide. No trees are to be removed prior to the commencement of construction on the site. An arborist is to report to the satisfaction of the Nillumbik Shire Council on the minimization of any impact on significant trees and any other nearby trees on the North West end of the proposed bridge. Vic Roads will co-operate with the NSC on collection of seed from the trees felled on the site. A Landscape Plan for the site will be circulated to each of the parties prior to the lodging of the plan with Council and it will include a minimum of 25 local indigenous eucalypts. Vic Roads will cooperate and encourage the use of the recycled timber from the existing bridge in any landscape concept plan proposed by the Landscape Architect and/or make the material available to the Responsible Authority (NSC) for future use in the area. A fence proposed for the property on the Northern side of the bridge will vary in height from 3.6m to 2m. Piers or columns used in the construction of the bridge shall be round or of similar shape. Some trees on the Gastons Rd corner which were earmarked for removal have been retained but whilst care will be taken there is no guarantee that these trees will survive. Whilst we believe that these concessions are good we maintain that the approaches to the bridge are still too wide. However, in mediation sessions, at the end of the day, we had to be mindful of the fact that if negotiations had failed then two days at a formal VCAT hearing would have resulted and that Vic Roads would have taken their original plan to these hearings instead of the amended plan as described above.

Mon 14 February, 2011
This issue is still ongoing. After what we thought was a successful mediation it seems that some important requests of the residents regarding tree retention has been inadvertently left off the agreement. Vic Roads has not been very forthcoming about this error so we have returned to VCAT and requested their intervention.

Mon 21 March, 2011
We have yet to hear from VCAT or Vic Roads as to the present status of this appeal.

Tue 28 June, 2011
VicRoads is still ignoring pleas to have the disputed trees retained. Their draft landscape plan shows that no eucalypts are proposed for this site. Residents and Friends of Nillumbik and Eltham Gateway Action Group would like to see offset planting to go on or near the actual site.

Sat 5 November, 2011
Tenders for the construction of the Bridge are closed and Vic Roads is now reviewing these. It is envisaged that works will be completed by early 2012.

Mon 18 June, 2012
New landscape and design plans have been provided and are nearing completion. Bridge construction to commence on 18 June.