History of MADRA

Humble Beginnings

In the mid to late 1970’s when Gael Court and Brendan Street were established and people started to purchase land, the sales people stated that within a few years both gas and sewerage would be available. In the years preceding these sales this promise was not fulfilled and the people essentially gave up and / or forgot about the issue.

In the late 1990’s the government of the day committed to installing a high pressure gas pipeline from the gas fields direct to Wodonga, to service Wodonga, Albury and beyond. At this time enquiries were made as to whether the Mernda Township could access this high-pressure pipeline. The answer was it would cost over $1 million to cut in a reduction valve to reduce the pressure to levels required for household consumption. Unless a commercial customer would commit to utilising the gas line it would deemed not viable.

citygate

The issue remained dormant until works began just to the north of Mernda accompanied with the announcement that Whittlesea would be connected. The connection of Whittlesea to mains gas spurred hope that Mernda would be connected. In May 2004 the first domestic user was connected in Whittlesea.

pipeline

Convincing the Authorities

With firewood prices escalating and the cost of bottled gas an expensive alternative Mernda residents began phoning the gas supplier the City of Whittlesea Council only to be told that there is nothing planned in the near future. As individuals they were treated poorly and were constantly getting the run-around. A petition was arranged and situated in the Milk Bar, Post Office, and Hotel for people to sign. The response was overwhelming and gave these people heart leading to a public meeting, which was held at the Mernda Primary School. A representative from council was asked to be in attendance and he bought along a display showing all the future development in the City of Whittlesea. This covered Epping, South Morang, Mernda and Whittlesea townships. About 30 people attended and listened to the council representative only to be informed near the end of the presentation that in fact there was no immediate plan to service the Mernda Township with natural gas.

Establishment of MADRA

Chris Noonan, then principal of Mernda Primary School, addressed the meeting and garnished interest in forming a committee to represent the residents. On the 5th October 2004, with 63 people in attendance, Chris chaired the meeting and put several proposals to the group, including becoming an incorporated body. From this discussion the Mernda and District Residents Association (MADRA) was formed.

The following is the first committee of the MADRA:

President – Michael Bradley

Secretary – Warrick Peters

Treasurer – Michael O’Brien

Committee Members were elected as follows:
– Chris Atkinson
– Michael Augustus
– Graeme Bushby
– Wendy Harrison
– Greg McColl
– Kathy Meyzis
– Darren Paynting

First Public MADRA Meeting DSC00590

The first public meeting was held on Wednesday 27th October 2004 at the Mernda Recreation Reserve. Invitations were sent to Fran Bailey MP, Danielle Green MP, Councillor Allan Cann and Councillor Rex Griffin. All specially invited guests attended except for Fran Bailey who was represented by a staff member. We heard from all guests about their views and those of the state government and the City of Whittlesea. Danielle Green MP in two subsequent speeches to parliament mentioned both our Gas and Sewerage issues.

Success!

An open public meeting was held on Wednesday 17th November 2004 at the Mernda Recreation Reserve. Special guest on the night was Mr Andrew McKenzie, marketing manager from Envestra, who addressed the meeting and gave an overview of Envestra and its requirements for supplying gas. He explained that due to the new developments in South Morang there was a need to have extra gas pressure and a new line would be run from the north of Mernda to South Morang by May 2005. This he explained was extremely fortunate for Mernda as it made it possible to connect gas to Mernda in the short term, not long term as previously indicated.

In February 2005 MADRA became the incorporated entity it is today.

If you are interested in joining the Mernda and District Residents Association please click here.

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