We’ve received the following email from a participant at last night’s Virginia Estate forum. Several questions arise from this:

  • Given this will be the largest development in Glen Eira’s history, the turnout is disappointing. More disappointing is the failure of many councillors to show up!
  • The economic analysis is still to make an appearance on the VPA website and it is nearing mid December and consultation closes soon. How can residents provide meaningful comments when they have nothing to comment upon?
  • Since when does council have no control over building heights? Has council already caved into whatever the developers and state government want?
  • We’re supposed to have had a Community Reference Group, yet no names have been made public so how on earth can these people ‘represent’ their community when no resident knows officially whom to contact to provide ‘feedback’?!! Nor do we know how many times this committee has met. No minutes or reporting back to council has taken place. In fact, we believe that this committee was basically ‘sworn to secrecy’. Another example of sham ‘consultation’ -standing in sharp contrast to what happened with the Alphington Mill reference group where minutes and agendas were made public and everyone knew who was on the committee. Woeful and deliberate stuff Glen Eira Council!

Here’s the email:

There was a mix of about 38 people there, Hyams and Taylor attended as did Libs candidate for Bentleigh Asher Judah.

Glen Eira’s representation was minimal and in the background and consisted of a few young female officers handing out Glen Eira’s Draft Quality Design Guideline book in the hallway, with nothing about the proposed East Village Activity Centre on show.

The opening presentation/slide show from VPA’s Steve Dunn took too long, leaving not enough time for questions; and there was no systematic reporting back from each table.
There was little new information from VPA to move ahead with.

Yvonne from the Residents Consultation Group/Panel took the podium and gave the development the big tick, basically saying what is proposed is better than what is there now, with reservations on Councils ability to control the final outcomes on height limits and traffic.

Residents used question time to rehash their same concerns of traffic overflows into their streets. Traffic issues took the lion’s share of the question time.

At about 7:30 a panel of at least 8 people assembled to answer question only 3 were used the others said nothing, Ron Torres took a few questions on building heights with the development. The person from the Education Dept took a few questions on the proposed school, the main concerns here, were to do with having the drop off and pick-up areas within the Village and not on the boundary residential streets.  (traffic related again).

Other concerns were:-
/flooding on the site
/Council not being able to control the building heights as the development progress (Ron Torres took these concerns on,  and asked for submission to the activities centre consultation and mention mandatory height limits being protected under law and mostly VCAT proof.

/The soccer club from Marlborough Reserve wants another soccer field, and suggested that by moving the existing soccer field forward and using the proposed aligning open space in the Village, they could be another synthetic field in. The answer from Steve Dunn was basically this was a done deal, Ron Torres hedged on this done deal statement,  saying Marlborough reserve was council open space and nothing has been decided.

My feelings are the residents are going to get done to death here. Issues like quality of design, rooftop gardens, larger set backs on North and E/Boundary roads, sustainable design, impact on Centre Road shopping strip, lack of public transport,  and where all these thousands of hoped for workers are going to park hardly got a mention.

One suggestion was subterranean parking. If all the other buildings are going to have similar subterranean car parks, you can imagine the permeability levels of the whole site will be very low, not to mention the sense of building subterranean car parking areas in a SBO area. The VPA is very secretive on onsite car parking, digging out these car parks will remove most of the polluted soil from the site, although the disposal costs of this spoil will be huge. It will be interesting to see if and how they justify these subterranean car parking areas in an SBO area.