Quite a few interesting items in the agenda papers for Tuesday night.

Item 9.3 – Visitor Parking for Residential & Mixed Use Developments

No surprises here. The recommendation is to do nothing again and wait until the Integrated Transport Strategy is completed. Part of the ‘let’s do nothing’ justification rests on council’s: acknowledge(ment) that there are planning tools available to Council to manage car parking provision but the implementation of these tools requires a lengthy planning scheme amendment process underpinned by strong strategic justification 

As a result of the above the conclusion is:

The planning scheme sets out a basis upon which to assess car parking provision for new developments in Glen Eira. Given the complex pressures the municipality is facing with population growth and the resultant traffic congestion and parking demand, a more sophisticated approach is needed. This will likely involve a move from the current ‘one size fits all’ approach and one which uses a combination of planning policy and parking overlays.

To do so requires a planning scheme amendment, and the requisite strategic justification. The current structure planning program and the upcoming Integrated Transport Strategy will form an important part in the strategic justification that is required. Once this is completed, more detailed preparation of the necessary planning tools can commence. 

Our conclusion? At least another 2 years, if not more, before any thought of parking overlay amendments are introduced – and this despite the fact that residents have been screaming about the lack of adequate parking for at least the past decade!

Item 9.5 – 282 Centre Road, Bentleigh

This involves an application to extend liquor hours to 10pm Tuesdays & Wednesdays and until 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There were 17 objections highlighting noise, parking, impact on residential amenity, etc. Council’s ‘solution’ was –

It is also proposed to include a new condition that advises patrons to respect the neighbours and minimise noise when leaving the premises.

We question first of all the legality of such a ‘condition’ and secondly even if legal, how effective it would be? Is this ‘condition’ merely there to placate objectors?

Item 9.8 – Harleston Park Basketball Court 

We’ve now expended further ratepayer funds on a second consultation on the proposed basketball court in Harleston Park. Again no surprises in that the recommendation is basically to ignore the majority of respondents and to go ahead with installing the court. So much for ‘community consultation’!!!!!!!

Item 9.10 – Access to Ripponlea Gardens 

A good outcome in that Glen Eira residents will now have free access to the Ripponlea Gardens area. It will however cost council $250,000 per annum over the next 3 years. We do not bemoan this funding. What should however be acknowledged is the fact that:

  • This issue is not new. Now we learn that the reason it did not come about years ago is because Council’s previous position has been that it would not provide funding.
  • Last council meeting resolved NOT to appoint extra staff to insist on building/parking/construction compliance by developers because the monies had not been budgeted for. The recommendation was do nothing until the funds are possibly made available in the 2018/19 budget. Strange then, that we now have the ability to miraculously find $250,000 for Ripponlea and don’t have to wait for another year before something eventuates!

Finally a few minor points worthy of consideration:

  • The McKinnon Basketball Association’s winning of the GESAC basketball courts allocations until April 2018. This of course begs the question of why they didn’t get their lease years ago and how much the Bob Mann group (now gone bust) might still owe council given that the ‘reason’ for the choice of the latter was that they ‘guaranteed’ up to $98,000 per annum to council.
  • Talk of ‘refreshing’ the Open space strategy but not a word about the promised increase in the levy!