Tonight’s council meeting represents nothing less than a complete betrayal of resident views. Each structure plan was voted in with arguments that are disingenuous and basically incompetent.

The central issue of officers employing Section 20(4) of the Planning & Environment Act and thereby bypassing the community was voted in with Delahunty’s motion that this apply only to Commercial zones, Mixed Use Zones, and tellingly, to all residential areas where the existing interim control is more restrictive than what is proposed in the new versions of the structure plans. In other words, Urban Renewal areas in Carnegie and Elsternwick will now be rezoned to 12 storeys and the Mixed Use zones in Elsternwick will get their 6 or 8 storeys. All without the opportunity for the community to formally object. Good luck we say in removing these ‘interim’ heights when the full amendment goes out for consultation!

It is really laughable that Delahunty admitted that the recently released shadow drawings for Elsternwick were ‘rudimentary’ and is now calling for more detailed shadow analysis and traffic analysis. Yet, these 9 individuals pass these structure plans BEFORE this research is put before them and the public. Surely this information is vital to informed and sound decision making. Not after! (Silver was the only councillor to vote against the Elsternwick plans – but he voted for the other two).

We are also dismayed at the repetition of all those old irrelevant and erroneous shibboleths that have been trotted out for years and years – ie

  • Magee and Sztrajt blaming VCAT when a decade of a planning scheme that had more holes in it than a swiss cheese was, and is, the problem
  • The setting up of false dichotomies again and again – ie Glen Eira can’t say no to development or structure planning. No one that we know of has argued against development or against structure planning. Residents have been opposed to inappropriate development and for a decade have desired a structure plan that achieves at least a modicum of residential protection. It is council that has refused to even entertain the idea of a structure plan until ordered to undertake the work by Wynne!
  • Appalling arguments of ‘we can’t say 4 storeys because VCAT and the Minister will not give us this, so let’s go for 12’!!!! We simply ask – on what basis was 12 storeys plucked out of thin air? How many units is a 12 storey building likely to house and what does this do to dwelling projections? What of communal open space and doesn’t council’s Urban Design Guidelines therefore not meet recent legislation on this issue if there happens to be more than 40 units? Where is this factored in? Or has it been conveniently forgotten?

To put it bluntly, we are having a hard time in deciding whether these 9 councillors are merely incompetent, ignorant, or mere mouth pieces of Torres, Mullen, McKenzie and developers who have undoubtedly already come knocking. Also worth pointing out that Torres claimed that 4 and a half years ago there was a planning scheme review with community consultation. There wasn’t. Council claimed that it had undertaken an ‘internal review’ and of course nothing changed. In fact the last review really occurred in 2010 and if council had their way would not have happened in 2016. They had applied for several extensions which was finally refused by Wynne and he ordered them to undertake the 2016 review. Torres should be reprimanded (again) for providing both incorrect and misleading information!

We urge all residents to listen to the recordings of this meeting and to carefully consider what was said, by whom, and to remember this when it comes time to vote!