Stonnington Leader – Holly McKay.
LEASING and tighter licencing could be the answer to maintaining the protection of the Yarra River, according to its riverkeeper.
Andrew Kelly is not opposed to private jetties, but he is opposed to those that aren’t in character with the riverscape.
Mr Kelly said the new Labor Government’s plans to introduce a Yarra River Protection Act to guard the river corridor from inappropriate development was exactly what was needed to prevent too many private jetties from littering the banks of the river.
“The councils look after different sides of the river — I want them to think about what’s happening on the other side, too,” Mr Kelly said.
“Many people are responsible, which sometimes means no one is responsible. It’s a connected system, that’s how we need to think of it. That’s why I want a trust — to encompass everything.
“We need mandatory height limits and set backs along the river. We say: no taller, no bigger and no closer than what exists now.”
He said private jetties needed to be licenced “properly” and be leased so that each jetty was assessed on an individual basis, which would include materials, size and the length of time they were operational.
“We need to accept that the river is used and people have the opportunity to have jetties, but there needs to be an overall plan,” Mr Kelly said.
He said the smaller wooden jetties added “a lot of charm” to the river, but he would worry if there were too many.
Mr Kelly said he would not object to the application for a private jetty at St Georges Rd in Toorak because it was “a modest jetty made of wooden materials and it’s not out of character with this stretch of river”.
But he has lodged an objection with Stonnington Council for a private jetty at Yarradale Rd in Toorak.
“It’s not made of natural materials and is totally inconsistent with the character of the river,” Mr Kelly said.
“It’s not adding anything and it’s a navigation hazard.”
COMMENT — Holly McKay
I ACCOMPANIED Andrew Kelly down the river to see for myself the jetties and proposed plans.
Prior to boarding the boat, I must admit I was sceptical about the purpose of a jetty. Why are people applying for them? What will they use them for? What do they even look like?
But once we hit jetty heartland in Toorak, I agreed with Mr Kelly.
They do add a certain charm to the river. And if I resided in one of those properties, I’m sure I, too, would have a boat and would want to have it moored at my own private jetty — if for no other reason than to tell people just that!
But on the other hand, I am concerned about the future of the river.
As Mr Kelly said, we are lucky to have such a serene space.
It would be a shame to see it inundated with large, concrete, plastic and metal jetties sticking out into the path of wildlife.