Residents have their chance to address council on the budget this Tuesday night. 17 submissions have been sent in – a huge increase. The comments (highlights presented below) range from unacceptable charges and rate increases, poor policy documents, that are so out of date they belong in a museum, and lack of real consultation with residents.

Before presenting these ‘highlights’, we draw readers’ attention the most ridiculous set of tenders ever entertained by this council. When councils all over Victoria are being urged to tighten their belts and be accountable for the expenditure of ratepayers’ hard earned dollars, Glen Eira council is its wisdom is about to spend a million dollars on unnecessary ‘trifles’. It appears that for this council the major priority is to promote itself rather than address the needs of residents. Here are the details of the proposed tenders –

  • Mystery shopping program for GESAC – $40,000
  • Point of Sale system for Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre – $150,000
  • The supply of promotional items for sale/giveaway from Glen Eira City Council – $400,000
  • And $390,000 to plant a few trees and grass in the Carnegie forecourt! (mind you, no ADDITIONAL open space, just the usual expensive tinkering – which begs the question why the first design was ever countenanced).

This expenditure should be read in the light of resident comments below –

Deliberate, repeated deception and secrecy in governance and cover up continuing

I note that Glen Eira’s half-page Street Lighting policy dates from 2002 and as such is completely out of date. I suggest that this policy be comprehensively revised with the inclusion of the environmental and health impacts of light at night before such a program (ie LED) is contemplated.

…this year’s planned increase in rates of approximately 4.94 per cent, which is almost four times the current inflation rate, is completely unnecessary and unacceptable. (Please note: this resident has obviously been duped by the manner in which council has publicised its rate increase. The increase is 6.5% and NOT 4.94%!)…During March of this year, most of the kerbing, footpath and landscaping at this location, has been reworked at considerable expense to the Ratepayers of the City. In my opinion, the works appear to have only completed superficial changes, which I regard as unnecessary. Furthermore, it is unconscionable that the developer of this site is able to reap the profits, when the roadworks surrounding this property development have been required to be reworked as a direct cost to Glen Eira Ratepayers. ….it appears that the Council decision makers are intending to apply different principles because their accountability is obscure, and Ratepayers do not generally feel that the outcome of the objection process is likely to be worthy.

I consider the $450,000 allocated towards the construction of the Eskdale Road/Fitzgibbon Crescent Caulfield North new open space to be an unnecessary and terribly wasteful expense. The proposed new open space is small and is unwarranted as it is located within easy walking distance of Caulfield Park and therefore is unlikely to be used by many residents.

Supply of places (childcare) may exceed demand due to council charging too high fees for the service the centres provide. Whilst I am very conscious of the quality of care and the homely environment provided for children at the centre my child attends (which was a primary factor in choosing this centre), it is my understanding that other centres in Glen Eira provide nappies and even cooked meals. Parents have to provide these at the conoucil-run centre in Carnegie. Other centres also provide excursions…..It is actually my understanding that kinder places are funded by the State or Federal Government (which makes the cost significantly lower for parent who have the flexibility to put their child into a straight-up kinder program) and that the City of Glen Eira is not passing that funding on to parents through reduced fees for children in the Kinder-year.

Currently, there is no allocation in the budget to redress the steady erosion of resources and facilities for passive usage of Caulfield Park….Since the Conservatory has been removed, there is no shelter in the western end. This means that young and old have neighter shelter from the scorching heat of the summer sun, nor from biting winter wind and rain.

I appreciate that there are many opportunities for community input and consultation to Council deliberations generally, however feel that one area in which these opportunities are lacking, is in relation to the Children’s Centre. As far as I am aware, formal parent involvement in the governance of the centres is limited to an annual online survey, the results of which are not communicated. Input from the parents and the community has the potential to have direct impact on the bottom line, through suggestions that have cost savings, or revenue enhancement, implications.

As I can see the tennis courts are regulary used (ie at Carnegie pool) and appear to be in very good condition, why is $130,000 being spent to change them? Has there been any community consultation, and what is the reason for the change? (ie to convert to small sided soccer pitch)

The Draft Community Plan – Transport – page 28 proposes to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities but “only where balanced against maintaining traffic flows”. Is the council really wanting “more traffic faster” as the overriding objection of transport planning in Glen Eira? The priority for more faster traffic reads like a strategy from the 1960’s for freeways and not a way to create a livable local community with good sustainable transport choices. Instead the plan and councils transport planning programs and works should firstly prioritise pedestrians, then bikes, then public transport and lastly cars – as is current transport planning best practice…..The Walking Plan is mentioned in the transport section but is missing from the list of all strategies on page 42 – is that an oversight or a statement of priority?….The proposed investment of $150,000 would be insufficient to build more than 1 set of traffic lights on the Rosstown Rail Trail – let alone the many that are required. Does carrying over funds from last year also indicate poor action on implementation and a need to review how the plan is managed?

How can $50,000 be allocated to Thomas Street Reserve, McKinnon? Surely, four large old trees surrounded by bark and drought affected grass, on a double housing block, doesn’t constitute a ‘Reserve’….Only two seats are provided at bus stops between Thomas Stret and Wheatley Road North side and no seats on the South side. Elderly people sitting on fences and students sitting on the kerb, waiting for the bus, is demeaning.