VP flyer re 22nd June meeting-2Over the past 4 weeks we have received numerous emails from residents complaining that they know nothing about the proposed rezoning of Virginia Estate and where they can find information. This is a damning indictment of council’s failure to not only live up to its charter and Community Plan in ‘ensuring’ community input into development, but we would go further and allege that this is all part of the culture of this council – ie the less people know what is going on, then the better from the point of view of ramming things through. God forbid, there should be extensive community involvement!

Council has spent tens upon tens of thousands of dollars upgrading its website. We challenge anyone to find any ‘useful’, coherent information on the plans for Virginia Estate. It’s not listed under ‘Major Projects (in fact, nothing is at the time of writing). Under ‘Public Notices one would have to know which amendment number refers to the Virginia Estate proposal. In other words, users have to click on every single amendment listed. Not only is this woeful website design that a 4 year old could do better, but it makes things as difficult and time consuming as possible for people.

Once found as Amendment C135 residents are overjoyed to find the following ‘explanation’

(The Amendment proposes to rezone part of the land to Commercial 1 to enable an integrated mixed use development over the entire site and amends Schedule 2 to the Development Plan Overlay (DPO2) to enable a broader mix of uses across the site)

Accurate? Of course! Informative? Never! How many residents really know what Schedule 2 is and means? How many know what the ramifications of rezoning to C1Z means? And as for Development Plan Overlay, that belongs in the stratosphere 0f total incomprehension for most people. There is absolutely no excuse why Council can place ad after ad in the Leader for GESAC, (at what cost?) and only one notice about Virginia Estate which would be the largest single development in the municipality’s history. Don’t people deserve to know what is really going on and what it could potentially mean?

Compare this with Bayside and the documentation that accompanies their proposals – ie actual documents online; ‘have your say’ available, and most importantly, a PLAIN ENGLISH EXPLANATION of what is proposed AND WHY! http://www.bayside.vic.gov.au/living_in_bayside/amendment_C139_bayside_drainage_development_contributions_plan.htm

The same can be said for Boroondara and countless others – http://boroondara.vic.gov.au/your_council/building-planning/strategic-planning/amendments/amendment-c178-introducing-permanent-heritage-overlays

Even typing the word ‘amendment’ into council’s search engine brings up a page of gobbledygook – ie a list of amendments. Click on any one, and all that comes up is the ‘public notice’ published in the Leader. Informative? Conducive to resident involvement? No way!

We are now living in the age of social media. Glen Eira Council still belongs in the dark ages. We also believe that the substandard website is nothing more than the physical manifestation of this culture which is determined to carry on business as if residents don’t matter, shouldn’t know, and definitely not be given the best chance of becoming involved and voicing their opinion(s). Yes, council adheres to the legislation – at the literal and minimal level. It will not go one step further in ensuring that people know exactly what is going on.

How much more incompetence, sub-standard performance, and anti-community behaviour, will this set of 9 councillors allow? When will they exert their legal muscle and say ‘enough is enough’?

We urge as many residents as possible to attend Monday night and for once, let us hear the community – loud and clear!