A new record low in public relations has been reached by Glen Eira City Council. The issue relates to the draft amendment for McKinnon Road, McKinnon. In an unprecedented move the Planning Conference was arbitrarily designated as ‘by invitation only’. No sound reasoning was provided for this new move to stifle community involvement. Instead, anyone who bothered to question the rationale behind such a decision was provided with the pro forma response sent out to all questioners by Delahunty.  She wrote:

As you know we are currently reviewing all aspects of our planning process, including our Planning Conference processes. As part of this review we will trial different approaches, and seek community feedback before implementing permanent changes.

From time to time there are contentious or sensitive applications that, in our view, require a slightly different approach in order to ensure that community views are able to be heard in a safe, welcoming and respectful environment.  This Council is absolutely committed to transparency, but we are similarly committed to a no tolerance approach to racism, bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

The application for 88-100 McKinnon Road is an example of a more sensitive application.  For this reason only those who have made a formal submission through the advertisement process will be able to attend.

Please encourage those who are in contact with you to give me a call if they need further explanation.

But the best was yet to come! At the actual Planning Conference held last week, POLICE WERE PRESENT. Residents were told that they were there in order to PROTECT THE DEVELOPER from angry residents. It is indeed a very sad state of affairs when residents, who have every right to attend such a meeting (regardless of whether or not they are formal objectors) are firstly denied access, and secondly, treated as potential hoodlums.

Surely council would be better off spending our hard earned dollars, not on hiring armed police, or drafting obnoxious and spurious  excuses for its decisions, but instead accelerating its stated planning scheme work!

There are many questions that need to be answered on this set of events:

  • Did all councillors know that these decisions had been made?
  • If they did, then did they support them?
  • Who made the decision? When was it made?
  • On what basis was such a decision made? – and please no bogus claims about ‘damaging’ developer’s property or his need for ‘protection’!
  • Is this the course that council has set itself for the next few years? Is there actually a ‘policy’ which outlines the circumstances that police are ‘invited’ and residents excluded?
  • How will any of these actions solve the root problem of inadequate and negligent planning?
  • Given all the community angst, how on earth can council still claim that there is enough development potential in Glen Eira for the next 100 years as stated in their submission to Infrastructure Victoria?!!!!!!!!

Finally, what on earth was council trying to achieve through such actions except to alienate more of its constituents and to again prove how little respect is held for residents.