18 February 2013

G-RAG Minutes 14th Feb

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7.00 – 8.30 P.M
Chair: Rhonda Sharp
Minute taker: Mollie Birch
1. Introductions
Chairperson welcomed everyone including Steph Key and Bob Schnell, noting that there was a
good spread of people with many new faces.
2. Brief report of what has been done by the coordinating group since last meeting.
Vegetation and landscaping was the major issue at last meeting (website has the minutes). Our
campaign on this issue was the focus of the second G-RAG newsletter.
Simeon has made a major improvement to the www.grag.org website. It now no longer requires a
Facebook account.The second newsletter is now on the website. Thanks to Ashford Electoral Office staff and Steph Key for sending out our first newsletter and invitation to join G-RAG. As decided at the last meeting Kathy has sent a letter to the Mayor of Unley on behalf of G-RAG urging the City of Unley to become involved in the planning of landscaping an amenity development around the rail corridor. No formal response as yet. Copies sent to John Devine and several councilors. However Ray reported there had been a letter from Unley C.E.O. in response to Steph Key’s earlier letter on behalf of Cromer Pde residents. Peter Tsokas stated that Unley was starting the process of working with DPTI on landscaping (see website for correspondence). As decided at the last meeting Sal has sent a letter on behalf of G-RAG to John Devine (Unley’s Manager of Infrastructure) urging him to attend CAG. No formal response yet.

Mary reported on developments at Devon St. South and Victoria St. The focus has been on unacceptable
noise levels due to railway line work and the need of a suitable and effective noise barrier. She has sent
a letter to minister Tom Koutsantonis signed by a number of residents. Two DPTI representatives came
to her house to suggest chipboard boardings. These are known not to be effective, nor is metal fence
now being erected. The idea of using a wall of hay bales that had been effective elsewhere was raised. A
discussion occurred about the use of noise meters. During the discussion a freight train passed by with a
high level of squealing. It was agreed that the noise from many of the freight trains was not acceptable.
The technology used to put the culvert and creek underground is 1950s and fails modern environmental
Communication has begun with Cowper Road residents who are concerned about the impact of works
on residents along the bikeway.
Ray reported that there are now over 60 members of G-RAG
3. Brief report on Community Advisory Group meeting on 6th Feb.
Ten members of G-RAG attended the last meeting of CAG.
Jutta said that the Fairfax Pedestrian Crossing issue had fallen to the bottom of agenda at last CAG
meeting and not properly discussed, therefore should be top of agenda at next meeting. Suggested that
this be a future rule when formulating agendas.
Luke has researched incidents of suicides at these types of crossings – DPTI will give more details later.
What are the alternatives to loud sounding devices as these and gates and devices are also to be installed
at Victoria and Leader St. crossings?
The CAG meeting appeared to confirm that DPTI will provide finance for landscaping, bikeways etc by
Unley Council.
Mollie spoke about lack of community consultation re position of culvert and lack of plans for
development of land acquired by DPTI for the actual culvert position. Devon St. South was not
included in special plans for council development of affected area to come under general Urban
Planning for Unley. Trees should be returned to neighbourhood affected by works.
Arundle Ave. trees to be trimmed - need to compile list of where trees were for replacement and put on
website and give to C.A.G. and Michele with suggestions.
Residents encouraged to put comments re greening on www.grag.org and Simeon will develop a grid
reference for the website so council knows exactly the position referred to. Indigenous trees should be
planted in areas where most have been removed.
Steph said there were a new lot of ministers in place and Ian Hunter now responsible for Environment
Sustainability & Conservation – address letters or emails to him.
4. Strategy discussion
The Chair proposed that the meeting further develop the issues and strategies document tabled at the last
meeting (available with the minutes on the website).
Issues occurred during the construction stage and in the long term and strategies need to reflect this.
• noise at Fairfax and Victoria (East Avenue and Leader Street?) crossings with the safety devices
• noise abatement for people on the rail corridor
• issue where noise comes from and where it goes (noise specifics)
• health and noise (article on website)
• community safety and devices
• noise modeling carried out by DPTI has never been revealed
• Goodwood Upgrade document presented to DAC gave a current noise measure – equivalent
noise to library
• noise of trucks during operations
• Goods train noise can be variable but high pitched squealing not acceptable
• Tubular spiked fencing is planned all along the line has no noise abatement properties
• Temporary fence provided to Devon Street specifically requested on the grounds of noise has no
noise abatement properties (see above)
• Resistance by DPTI to provide noise abatement- argues it has no responsibility to do this. Who
• Residents are encouraged to ring the Environmental Agency re noise problems – E.P.A. 8204
2004 and/or email Minister Ian Hunter (cc these emails to Step Key)
• An app is available for iPhones that can be used and residents are encouraged to monitor the
noise and send it to the 1300 443 198 number with the time stamp and location. It costs $30 to
buy electronic sensor (example provided by Bob) – records max/min. and continual noise –
These measure are not official as a monitor but provide a good guide and backs resident
complaints up with some data.
• Ask for DPTI noise monitoring at next CAG meeting
• G-RAG to draw on its own noise experts
• Find examples of effective rail and road sound barriers that are provided interstate and in SA and
bring to G-RAG meetings; post on website
• Trucks do not need to use exhaust brakes if obeying suburban road limits - get CAG to fix this.
• To complain about noisy goods trains the requirement is to contact CEO responsible for running
that train and leave details. This is difficult. Raise alternatives with CAG. Steph suggested: (i)
insist a ‘phone line’ is set up to take residents complaints (ii) meet with C.E.O. of E.P.A.
• Be persistent - do not allow the person at other end to fob you off – they should be able to tell
you who you need to contact – they are usually sitting in front of a computer that has these
details of the train.
• Unley council – John Devine has a role in negotiating with DPTI re moving vegetation and
landscaping which can assist with noise. DPTI has indicated it will provide funding for Unley
Council. If further clarification is needed on this the councillors need to inform G-RAG
• Hay bales to be used as immediate temporary solution for Devon Street and others if necessary.
Need to raise this with CAG and ARTC which manages freight line.
• Unley ratepayers saved $1.8 million from linking the Culvert works to the rail line construction
and some of this needs to be used to compensate for the noise, reduced amenity, landscaping
and habitat lost in the Goodwood area.
• Ask at CAG for what is going to be in the final plans to be released in March re noise abatement
and monitoring
• The land purchased in Devon St. South by DPTI needs to be allocated to green space with a
noise reducing wall with art and landscaping, especially the section of the land that will be
handed back to the Unley Council.
• Make links with other groups organizing along the rail line (eg Blackwood group) and develop
combined strategies
• Media campaign needed including G-RAG members to raise issues on talk back radio (Matt and
Dave, Leon Byner), post cards, emails, phone hot lines

ACTIONS for the next meeting

  •  will contact Blackwood group

Ray will;

  • to put newspaper article re freight train noise being injurious to health on website
  •  to organize reps for the next CAG meeting 
  • plan the next Newsletter


  •  to make website easy for residents to make suggestions re landscaping
  • contact the academic who provided expert commentary on rail noise in the recent newspaper article
  • copy Sal’s video on noise on facebook and website


  • speaking points for Devon St. South for the media
  • start media campaign with Messenger Press and Adelaide University radio and move up – get coaching on handling media
  •  investigate getting hay bales for Devon St.

Nicky & Sal

  • speaking points current and long term for the media

Michael and Jess

  • take expert noise readings
  • attend next CAG meeting to provide expertise re soil contamination information


  • contact D.P.T.I. on their 1300 443 198 (24/7) no. – also E.P.A. 8204 2004 office hours re noise problems and recordings pass recording of noise levels information on to Steph at the Ashford electoral office

Steph Key
  • will pass residents’ letters or emails on to relevant Ministers and these will be used to as questions in Parliament on the issue.

5. Future meetings
The next CAG meeting will be next week (Wed Feb 20).
Next G-RAG meeting Thurs Feb 28 at 7.00pm at Clarence Park Community Centre

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