Before the heavy work starts…


Cross Yarra Partnership is offering all owners at The Botanica a free ‘pre-condition survey’ at no cost.  I am very aware that work has already commenced, you should be aware that we have been lobbying for this for some months.

Owners should have been contacted by now but you can use these forms if you want

MM LETTER PCS Offer_400 St Kilda Rd_Owner [25515]

400 St Kilda Rd_Apartment PCS – Permission Form

I STRONGLY encourage you to do this

Street lights

A number of you have raised the lack of street lighting with me.  I have encouraged you to report it to the 1800 105 105 number, and many of you have done this.

The short term answer has been for CYP to redirect two of their light towers towards our building.  That has helped those on the footpath but been an issue with light glaring into lower level apartments.

They have realised that this is urgent and will be taking a long term fix.  Here are the details.

I have asked for clarification about exactly what means for those of us at The Botanica.  Will keep you posted


Internet options at The Botanica


I want to make people aware of some things happening in this area for all apartments at The Botanica.  A number of people in the building have ADSL, some have cable, some use the TPG FTTB service and there are a variety of providers (Telstra, iiNet, TPG….)

About a year ago TPG started providing a high speed service (Called FTTB).  Full details of their service are here.  TPG installed their own fibre into our basement (it is their box in the recycle room) and are using the existing copper cables up the building.  I have personally been using this service and it has been very good.  For $60pm you get unlimited volume and fast speed.  For the technical people, I normally get a speed of 90Mbps down and 35 Mbps.  People often call that 90/35

Another company will be installing their service in the next month.  A company called DGTek has agreed to run a fibre into our basement and also fibre up the building.  From there they run a cable (called Cat 6) into apartments.  They are a wholesale company and they have partnered with a company called to provide the service.  Their offer for Botanica will be $60 pm for unlimited data and fast speed (100 Mbps up and 100Mbps down) – so same cost as TPG but faster.  They also offer faster again, for $80 pm they will offer 300/300 speed or for $150 pm they will offer 1000/1000.

They will charge a $100 connection fee and it will be a “no term” contract.  Month to month

DGTek has been in the news lately here and here.

Finally NBN will also be installing their service in the next 6 weeks.  Again they are a wholesaler and you buy that service through a normal ISP, like Telstra or iiNet or the like.  A quick look at the iiNet rates show for $80pm you get unlimited data and around of 44Mbps, TPG’s NBN offer is similar but costs $70pm, Telstra’s offer costs $80 pm but has capped data.  These are all on 18-24 term contracts

So from a simple speed perspective – the DGTek/Pineapple $80 pm offer will be around 7 times faster and no contract…but they are a small start up.  My expectation is with this sort of service, once it works, it will keep working.  And without wanting to getting into a political debate, I am not sure going to NBN should be seen as a safe bet.

What will I do??  I will sign up with the DGTek/Pineapple guys on their $80 pm deal and see how it goes.  I may even leave my old TPG service running for a month or two to be safe.

I think DGTek may even offer to waive the $100 for a limited time.

As these services become available I will send out more information but I wanted to give everyone a heads up now before you make any other commitments to existing suppliers.

Tram screech update

c2-class_tram_hero_800x340I don’t have any good news – it seems a lot is happening but no-one really knows too much.  It was horrendous this morning and woke me v early.  Here are the sounds at 730am today

Yarra Trams today used my live feed to watch and listen to the problem.

Oddly the problem improved late today.

The official reply from CYP is below

Hi Gary/Jan,

Apologies for the delay in response – I don’t have anything new to report on the issue, but there is action happening behind the scenes.

You already know that YT sent a crew out to do rail grinding the other night, with little effect. They certainly aren’t sitting on their hands on the issue and hoping it will go away.

I’ve spoken to a number of people in the Botanica today and assured them that we’re not walking away from the issue and we’re actively looking for a solution.

I’ve also today provided your live feed of the tram situation to Yarra Trams for their ongoing consideration

The second I hear from Yarra Trams I’ll be letting you both know.

 Rob Mair

City of Port Phillip – April update for Botanica

Jan and I ran out of things to do and so we decided to initiate a regular meeting with the City of Port Phillip – just kidding, we have been pretty busy!!

It has become increasingly clear to us that we need to ensure that the City of PP better understand our needs.  In that way they can help in discussions with MMRA but it is also important that they  understand the needs of our building and this precinct.

Items we discussed included

  1. MMRA / CYP
    • The chiller plant
    • Central bike lanes
    • Rubbish removal during the tunnel project
    • Lack of adequately lit foothpaths
  2. Parking permits
    • Visitor and resident parking issues
  3. Cladding
  4. Status of 412 St Kilda Rd
  5. Getting reversing beepers updated on City of PP rubbish trucks

They tabled 2304 Domain Precinct Vision – Presentation

Happy to answer questions, we will continue to meet with them about every 6 weeks

Parking bay update


Sorry for the confusion…are the bays back or not??

Earlier in the week it looked like we had lost them all for a couple of years.  After some discussions they were re-instated BUT from time to time they will need to take a couple off us.  Last night / today they needed a couple of bays to make it safer for the re-surfacing.

I suspect we will lose a few when they remove our trees.

So – bottom line, we have them MOST of the time.

I know it feels like nothing is happening, but…

The tram screech and flanging has caused us all a lot of grief over the last week.  I know that several people have relocated themselves.  I have tried to get some sort of formal reply from CYP and that has been very skinny.  They have said things like…Yarra Trams are working hard on it.

I did some walking around and looking and talking to Yarra Trams bods.

I spotted Charlie checking the tracks are the right distance apart


This morning I was woken around 12:45am and saw this grinding happening

Marginally better today, here is a video.  Lets see what tomorrow brings

Tram screech update

c2-class_tram_hero_800x340When the temporary tram track was designed in St Kilda Rd, we were told the curve had been designed to ensure no tram screech.

When it went live last week and the screeching was terrible we were told – it will settle down in 2-3 days

When it didn’t settle down in 2-3 days, we were told – it needs another 2-3 days

When that didn’t happen we were told – We are currently investigating the cause of the noise and solutions to mitigate noise impacts to surrounding residences and businesses.

One of the big frustrations is that sometimes it is northbound trams, sometimes southbound, some mornings are good and afternoons bad, sometimes model x trams are bad sometimes they are fine.  It is clearly more than one issue.  Surely this is not the first time?  Something is different to the work that Fulton Hogan did on Toorak Rd – that is a tighter curve and had zero screech.  Surely John Holland did a ‘standard install’???

So how bad is it?

This was earlier in the week

This was 9pm last night

This was this just now

If you live at The Botanica and it is causing you grief, call 1800 105 105 and politely complain