One must really wonder why council has spent over $100,000 of ratepayer funds on a consultancy that delivers pre-determined outcomes and maintains the status quo in all important areas. The policy contains nothing of import that is new or that will change the course of what this administration and its lackey councillors have rubber stamped for eons and eons. But the most glaring omission relates to the manner in which open space levies are to be used.

We remind readers that on June 25th 2013 council adopted a policy which stated:

Council will only spend Public Open Space contributions it receives after 1 July 2013 to acquire and improve land to serve as additional public open space.1 (including the former Glen Huntly Reservoir)

Council will not spend Public Open Space contributions it receives after 1 July 2013 to improve land which is already public open space.

From June 2013, each Council Budget, Strategic Resource Plan and Annual Report will disclose the revenue and expenditure of public open space contributions.

Suddenly this policy is ignored and morphs into the following:

As described in the Strategy and in this report, the open space contribution program is based around the provision of additional land area for open space and also for capital works cots (sic) to establish new open space and upgrade facilities in existing open space where appropriate to meet the additional needs of the forecast population. 

Use of the Reserve fund

Cash contributions toward land acquisition and open space development should be held in a Reserve fund until a suitable site is located and sufficient funds are available to assist Council with purchase or resulting capital works. Funds will also need to be held for upgrades to existing open space

As for ‘monitoring’ and ‘review’ of this long term strategy, residents should not be holding their breaths that their views will be solicited and carefully considered. It will again be more of the same as is made apparent by this one liner – Internal review the Strategy every 4 years for the duration of its operation.