Another great turnout by residents of approximately 100 people. Again butcher paper, facilitator and Aiden Mullen presenting the background, current status and promised future work. There was however about an hour of questions that interrupted Mullin’s presentation. We note once again that the magic words of 12 storey high potential developments were eventually admitted through gritted teeth!

Councillors in attendance: Delahunty, Silver, Sztrajt and Athanasopoulos

Here are a mere sample of the questions asked by residents and the ‘answers’

RESIDENT #1 – One resident asked for hands up from residents, developers, and state government agencies. The vast majority were residents

RESIDENT #2 – When Mullin put up the slide of the Vision for Elsternwick, which still included the word ‘village’, this resident interrupted and stated ‘I am quite frankly struggling to relate that vision plan to the concept plan’. Said that all council’s thinking and what’s presented in the concept plans ‘doesn’t seem’ to endorse the vision statement. Mullin answered that it’s about ‘maintaining that strong cultural and heritage feel’. Mullin then went on with the rest of the presentation – ie spoke about bike connections, and an ‘integrated rail precinct’ and parking ‘opporunities, particularly along Orrong Road’. Said that the ‘fundamental change’ would be ‘creating a new cultural precinct’ near the cinema and ABC studios. Plus the library ‘could be relocated’ to this new precinct. Also said that ‘council’s carparks could have a role in providing more office’ space and employment opportunities (aka flogging off council land to developers is our take on this).

RESIDENT 3 – another resident interrupted and wanted Mullin to explain what ‘community benefit’ means. Mullin responded by saying that Glen Eira is a ‘diverse community’ but developers only build one sort of dwelling – ie 1 or 2 bedroom or double storey attached in the NRZ. ‘The market’ doesn’t do ‘affordable housing, aged care’ and student accommodation and ‘medium density family type housing’. Said that on ‘counciul owned land we can have a lot more control on that’. Resident then wanted to know whether this land would be ‘given to the developer and they produce it’? Mullin responded that there’s a ‘whole range’ of ways this could be done. Resident then persisted with ‘selling council land’ and Mullin answered ‘that is one option’ but that nothing has been decided as yet. The objective is to ‘get something in’ that ‘meets community needs that isn’t being met at the moment’.

RESIDENT 4 – When Mullin outlined that the car park had an 11 storey permit next to it, another resident stated that ‘an 11 storey building doesn’t set a precedent for what is right in terms of development’. Went on to say that ‘someone who wrote these plans missed the church’ and a scout hall both ‘historic buildings’ but the plans have building heights of 8 storeys so ‘what is going to happen to that church’? Wanted Mullin to ‘please explain to me, how does that work out’? Mullin then said ‘I’m trying to get through the presentation and the resident repeated that he would like an answer. When Mullin again said that he wanted to continue with his presentation the resident stated that the evening was about residents asking questions and getting answers from those people who put the plans together. Mullin said that his aim was to ‘take you through to how we got to’ this stage and get your feedback. It’s up to residents to then decide if they ‘agree’. Mullin went on to say that people didn’t want apartment buildings in residential streets and council ‘really’ wanted to protect heritage and the neighbourhood character overlays and these are currently zoned for 4 storeys. Stated that a vcat decision for 8 storeys was given recently in a heritage overlay and vcat is saying that if you ‘lock everything down it has to go elsewhere’. Council was trying to ‘get a better mix’ in housing and in the commercial areas a better mix of employment opportunities like ‘office’.

RESIDENT 5 – said there was no single storeys being built and there was a strong need for this. Wanted to know why this wasn’t in the plans. Mullen said this is because people are trying to ‘protect back yards’ and that with council’s plans for the townhouses they are trying to ensure that ‘living is on groundfloor’.

Mullen went on to say that ‘you can’t lock down everything’ because if ‘won’t get approved by the Minister’. So council is protecting heritage but saying that along the railway line and Nepean Highway this can ‘accommodate’ ‘taller buildings’ which will have an ‘office’ and ‘allow for employment’. This area would be 6-8 storeys but if there was ‘community benefit’ this could be ‘additional car parking’, ’employment’, ‘diverse housing’. The strategic sites ‘can accommodate height behind the shops’.

RESIDENT 6: said that ‘our little court’ disappears from the concept plans but council has ‘rezoned that area’ to ‘be 6 storeys’. Wanted to know why previously it was 4 storeys and now capable of a potential 6 storeys. Repeated that ‘this is in a court and we’re not on Glen Huntly Road’. Mullin answered that he would be ‘happy to discuss’ the matter with the resident afterwards.


Once again residents are presented with spin and more spin and no detail, no strategic justifications for anything, and no honest to goodness data. We remind readers that at the Bentleigh forum when asked how many properties were being rezoned to accommodate higher development, Mullen stated that the data would be provided. It is yet to make an appearance!!!!!

Nor have we had a single word to justify why 12 storeys is fair and reasonable. Why not 6 storeys, or 7 storeys, etc. On what basis is the figure of 12 storeys plucked from the air?

There is much, much more that could be said. We will simply reiterate our conviction that decisions are already set in concrete and that these forums have been nothing more than a public relations exercise designed to meet state recommendations for ‘community consultation’ when doing structure planning.