High-density housing fury in Mt Helen

MOUNT Helen residents fear a proposed apartment complex will ruin their neighbourhood and create a traffic nightmare in the process.

More than 55 residents have lodged objections to the multi-story buildings, featuring a basement car-park and 10 apartments, on a prominent corner near Geelong Road. Complaints are on the rise ahead of a special council meeting with the City of Ballarat next week.

Residents argue plans for the complex, on the corner of Eddy and Boak Avenues, are incompatible with Mount Helen’s semi-rural character, particularly on such a prominent corner across from Federation University and IBM.

Plans feature five three-story and five two-storey residences on a block about 900sq m in size with 36.3 per cent garden space, including pathways.

Mount Helen resident Kevin Flynn said the complex was completely inconsistent with the area’s character, which locals feared could change forever.

“We can’t allow a precedent to be set. It will change the whole character of the neighbourhood and takes away from what it is to live in Mount Helen,” Mr Flynn said. “If this goes ahead, this will be the first nail in the coffin.”

The Courier met with about 20 Mount Helen neighbours who were united in their concerns, including potential traffic impacts on what was already a busy corner.

A basement car-park, for 17 vehicles, has a proposed exit on Eddy Avenue with a ramp driveway less than 20 metres from the corner of Boak and Eddy Avenues. This intersection also feeds nearby to Geelong Road and the Geelong Road service road (known as Kisler’s Road).

Residents also fear hazards for school children, with a bus stop just off the intersection on Geelong Road, and a shared path for recreational walking, running and bike riding parallel to Geelong Road and connecting schools in the area.

City of Ballarat development and planning director Angelique Lush said the overall development proposal had finished advertising and council was organising mediation with objectors. A special council meeting to hear registered objectors will be at Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility, Monday 4-8pm.

We can't allow a precedent to be set. It will change the whole character of the neighbourhood...This will be the first nail in the coffin.

Kevin Flynn, resident