Do you want swamp with that?

One of the things I enjoy about my job is that most of my work is done in other people’s businesses. This variety of locations exposes me to all sorts of interesting trivia and the opportunity to understand a bit more about how some things work. Today one of my jobs led me to visit a new housing estate, you know the type of place I’m talking about, rows of shiny new display homes set in what was up until recently a featureless paddock.

I’m not a big fan of new housing estates, they invariably have narrow, winding streets, odd shaped house blocks, no established trees, featureless homes, no corner stores and no foot paths. But today I found another reason to curse these places without right angle street corners.

The estate I visited today had a landscaping addition that I hadn’t seen before, a swamp.

It’s not a wetland, it’s a swamp. It’s a dirty great big puddle that’s going to end up full of rubbish and mosquito larvae on your doorstep. Which planning genius ticked off on this? Does anyone think that this messy bog hole is a feature?

In addition to the fact that it’s going to stink, force you to spend extra on Aerogard each summer and it’s not particularly visually appealing, the swamp also isn’t safe. Do those fences look childproof to you? If this was in someone’s back yard the council would have a fit about it being an unfenced pool, but because it’s out in the open, thanks to some cockspank in the planning department, it’s suddenly OK? Where’s the logic in that? And before anyone starts preaching ‘parental responsibility’, shut up. Kids should be able to run around their neighbourhood without kill-joy, over protective parents at their side every second of the day. We put grates over storm water drains, so I hardly think it’s inappropriate to keep people away from this fetid bog.

I’m also not interested in anyone trying to claim that this is somehow environmentally responsible. The crappy, boxy, energy consuming houses that will no doubt populate this new estate aren’t somehow offset because there’s a place for some ducks to shit.

Best of luck the people lining up to suffer from mortgage stress so that they can have a fifth bedroom for their only child to play in, in this soulless estate. Enjoy your swamp.

11 thoughts on “Do you want swamp with that?

  1. You don’t like it huh? Where is it, Dave? It actually looks more like a dam and, if that’s the case, it should be filled in. But if it’s a natural feature I’d say it should be kept. But it should also be (a) beautified (b) made safe with a proper child-proof fence, as you suggest.

    BTW, I hear what you’re saying about new housing estates but you obviosly haven’t been to Point Cook, which is a whole new suburb of Melbourne that’s sprung up off the Geelong Road.

    They’ve gone back to the ‘grid’ layout of streets (hardly any curves, all right angle corners, straight streets) and it doesn’t look great. But what it does do is allow the developers to maximise the number of blocks!

    Pt Cook is lifeless & monotonous in my opinion.

  2. It’s out at Thurgoona, opposite the uni campus. It used to be a paddock, I couldn’t tell you if there was a wetland there previously, but it seems unlikely given the topography of the area.

    I’ll always prefer grids to nonsense street layouts, but developers need to be prevented from selling tiny piss-ant blocks on narrow streets that make the type of suburb you’re referring to so unappealing. The reason I hate the curvy street-scapes so much is that they rarely fit in with the topography and are just wanky for the sake of it.

  3. Well it sounds like an old farm dam, Dave, so “fill it in” is the appropriate measure.

    There are some estates with ‘curvy’ (or semi-curvy) streets that fit in with the topography. Wattle Glen in Wodonga is a good example of that. Nice undulating land and varied block sizes. And they’ve got a few (natural) wetlands too, but they’re not as big or dangerous as the one in your picture. The only problem is it has no facilities. Still, it’s only a short drive to the CBD.

    I think, for all the criticisms, that White Box rise looks OK too. Except for that over-the-top pool they’re going to build.

    I like Wodonga though, I like the way it’s forever improving. Mind you, it’s coming from a low base.

    The blocks at Pt Cook aren’t all that small. My sister and her husband have just built a new home there and their land is 800 sq metres. But the whole area is as flat as a tack and there is an incredible sameness about it with all houses set back the exact same distance in a straight row. I think it needed some variation. not much, but just enough to break the monotony of it.

  4. Hey, Ray, us Wodonga-ites just can’t seem to shed our struggletown image, OK? Thanks for helping to maintain it.

    Coming from a low base. Sheesh.

  5. You’re looking at what I said the wrong way, JR. I said positive things about the way Wodonga is going. It’s a compliment not an insult.

  6. I’ve never regarded Wodonga as ‘struggle town’, JR, and I think it’s got a lot going for it and a bigger future than Albury. It’s no surprise to me that it is developing rapidly as a desirable place to live, especially the hillier parts to the south. And let’s not forget, it’s in VICTORIA, which says it all!

  7. Ray, I think that Wodonga, however large it grows, will continued to be considered second rate to Albury in most areas. I just don’t think that you can easily overcome the historical factors, no matter how much you spend. The fact that Wodonga Council fought so hard to have the Bandiana link included in the freeway project just confirms that Albury continues to be the central destination for the region.

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