Summary of Survey Responses
Did you complete the survey by Vicki Ward in late 2021 seeking your views about a new gateway to Eltham to replace the former treed roundabout entry at the intersection of Fitzsimons Lane with Main Rd Eltham and Main Rd Lower Plenty?
If so, or if you are interested in the results of that survey generally, here are the main take aways from the survey results -
How many people completed the survey?
What area was covered by the survey?
There were 3 separate areas marked A, B & C - see the map below
How many people wanted to see the sites improved?
Site A - 75% Site B - 90% Site C - 88%
What were the recurring themes for what people wanted in a new gateway?
The words that were used most frequently in responses were:
trees, native vegetation, nature, natural (often followed by “materials” or “vegetation”), planting, indigenous vegetation, and artwork should be rustic/rural
How many people wanted art and where did they want it?
Site A - 41% Site B - 61% Site C - 54%
20% wanted no artwork at all.
What sort of art was preferred?
Art influenced by indigenous history and representing local flora and fauna
Made from - the majority preferred wood followed by metal, steel or iron. Very few preferred mosaic or glass.
What sort of seating was preferred and where?
made from - "Wood (including plastic wood)" 64%
style - bench (30%) with a back (45%)
preferred use - for resting (87%) compared with only 21% for gathering and 27% for picnics
Site A - 78% Site B - 64% Site C - 44%
What was the preferred path surface?
There was no strong numerical preference (gravel was 39% and asphalt 38%) but there were more positive comments for gravel.
Generally respondents felt that gravel looked more natural and could be compacted for use by people with prams or wheelchairs.
There were also comments about porous surfaces being better for the environment.
What were the main responses for each site?
One person wrote that Site A should be ‘a space for wild to return and be protected’ and, in response to the question “What else would you like to see at Site A?", one person wrote “Leave it alone”.
24% responded “No” to the question “Would you like to see improvement at Site A”.
(Southern Gateway Renewal Group comment: although Site A seems to be native bushland that should be left undisturbed, a professional botanist has provided us with a plant listing for this site which shows that the vegetation is 2/3 introduced plants and only 1/3 indigenous. This means that the weeds need to be removed and the site replanted with indigenous vegetation in order to restore it to a more natural state)
Some wanted minimal but educative signage regarding the naming of plants and highlighting of the use of some plants in aboriginal culture
It was suggested that an acknowledgement of the traditional owners could be developed on Site A and that the appropriate aboriginal advisors should be invited to participate in the choice of plants or the actual planting and signage
81% wanted a path but some were concerned that a path leading around Site A would detract from conserving and enhancing the environmental values of the site
Most respondents wanted the path to be used for walking and not bikes (59% preferred pedestrian use only and 31% preferred shared use)
This was the preferred site for art
Some people wanted a drinking fountain. (Group comment: This could probably only be provided on Site B, where water is available)
Many suggested this was the area for tourist information and a "Welcome to Eltham/Green Wedge/Nillumbik" sign and signage about the history and culture of the area
(Southern Gateway Renewal Group comment: All of the above could be in an area with enhanced landscaping and indigenous vegetation that could still be easily maintained by Council by mowing. This area would not be as ‘bushy’ as Site A.)
It seemed to be more difficult for respondents to identify how Site C could be dealt with, possibly because it is split into separate areas on opposite sides of Main Road. However 88% of respondents wanted this area improved.
The comment "I don’t see anything in the survey that gives a feeling of a Gateway" highlights the challenge with Site C.
(Southern Gateway Renewal Group comment: The feeling of a Gateway could perhaps be created by planting the same species of trees either side of Main Road, or installing artwork or “Welcome to ..” signs.”)