There is overwhelming community support for protecting Warrandyte’s bushland environment. This is the clear message from respondents to the recent WCA survey. There was a very strong preference (89%) for Warrandyte to retain its bush or rural feel rather than develop a typical suburban feel.

This result is unsurprising. However, when you dig deeper into the results there are lots of issues for community discussion”.

The survey, conducted by Gundabluey Research during March and April, received nearly 500 responses, 86% from residents and 14% from visitors or previous residents.

The survey was designed to canvass community opinion on the built and natural environment of the town.

drainage in warrandyte

Key Results of Survey

Key results of the survey were that respondents prefer the look and feel of Warrandyte to be characterised by:

  • A bushy and rural feel
  • Drainage and infrastructure which uses more natural materials
  • Footpaths that blend in with the environment, that are more winding, which avoid tree removal and use crushed rock and aggregate rather than concrete.

The need to protect the river and water quality also ranked highly.

footpaths in warrandyte

lower speed limit in warrandyte

However, respondents were divided as to whether the speed limit along Yarra Street should be lowered.

Respondents were also generally supportive of the WCA’s objectives, particularly protection of the Green Wedge, minimising urban over-development, protecting the history and character of the town and
protecting the environment and encouraging regeneration of native flora and fauna.

Respondents were asked to rank the importance of various factors in creating a highly liveable community. They were asked to rank these from Extremely Important to Not at all Important. The chart on page 6 summarises responses.

Respondents were less encouraged about how successful the town has been in supporting these factors, as shown in the chart on page 8.

Clearly our community has to be more vigilant in its protection of these highly valued township features, and local and State governments need to be more responsive to community opinion.

The biggest negative about the town was the traffic, particularly peak hour traffic. However, given the pinch point of the river crossing this may just be the price we have to pay for living in this wonderful river environment.

One interesting feature of the responses was that the longer a respondent had lived in Warrandyte the more important was it to defend and protect the character and heritage of the town. This may reflect the fact that those who have resided here the longest are more acutely aware of the loss of amenity which has occurred over time.

keep warrandyte a rural feel

One final observation concerns subdivision and housing density. There was a clear preference among respondents for subdivision to be limited and for Warrandyte to remain a low-density suburb. The State Government has foreshadowed reducing local government planning responsibilities to enable greater residential density in existing suburbs. The impetus for this are the laudable objectives of reducing urban sprawl and retaining valuable agricultural land. These changes, should they come about, will present a particular challenge for Warrandyte.

Protecting Warrandyte from these changes may be viewed as merely evidence of ‘not in my backyard’ self-interest. On the other hand, an even denser Melbourne will need accessible green and natural spaces, as is evidenced by the large number of visitors we host on weekends. Melbourne as a whole needs areas like Warrandyte, and it needs to protect the river environment from excessive development. The community may have to come up with creative ways of helping house Melbourne’s growing population while preserving valuable green spaces and the natural environment. It is to be hoped that any changes to planning practices are flexible enough to meet both objectives.

The full results are contained in the attached PDF. We would welcome your comments to:

download survey