The year is fast drawing to a close, so we thought it worthwhile to consider the ‘achievements’ and ‘failures’ of this council over the past few years.

Below is a list of things that spring to mind. We’ve probably ignored or forgotten some, so please feel free to point out any we might have missed. There is no specific order to the following list.

What we’ve concentrated on are major councillor decisions that arguably fly in the face of majority community views.

Tree Register: still waiting after the issue was first raised in 2003. No guarantee that any control will include private land.

Local Law (Meeting Procedures): No notice of motion; no change to public question format or ensuring that public questions occur much earlier

Structure Plans: version(s) change from 7 storeys to 12 in Carnegie; Elsternwick 12 storeys; and Bentleigh up one storey. Strongly opposed by vast majority of residents.

East Village: 3000 apartments an ‘overdevelopment’; heights of 8 storeys on nearly 60% of the land too high; no public transport to speak of.

Neighbourhood Centres:  no height controls and won’t be for at least another 3 years. In the meantime 7, 8, 9 storey applications coming in. Council’s ‘excuse’? Resources and working very hard on major activity centres, yet nothing is adjusted in budget to facilitate this undertaking.

Environmental/Sustainable development: no WSUD in planning scheme as promised in 2016. Position is ‘advocacy’ and state problem

Winter Solstice Overshadowing: again do nothing but ‘advocate’

Aged Care Sell Off: no consultation and huge angst created for all concerned. Back flip we suspect because price not agreed upon. No guarantee that they still won’t be sold down the track.

Open Space: purchase of Aileen Avenue for $2.1m and then leased for approx. 3 years. No public acquisition overlays except for Mimosa Road property in past 5 years. Millions in fund but council content to spend a fortune on ‘redevelopment’ rather than purchase.

Caulfield Village: cave in on ‘affordable housing’ and overdevelopment of site

Heritage: too little too late for Seymour Road, Elsternwick. Plus how important is heritage to these councillors when a 12 storey permit is granted for Derby Road in a heritage precinct.

Planning Scheme Review: change after change in ‘action plan’ so that years are added on to completion of promised actions. Some ‘actions’ simply disappear ie structure plans for all activity centres becomes ‘urban design guidelines’.

What all of the above illustrates is the nonsense of the utilitarian arguments about ‘greater good’. If that was truly the motive behind some of the above decision making then we would already have more open space, a tree register, height controls in all our commercial zones, and a council that fought tooth and nail to protect residential amenity.

PS: The recently published Wynne letter to council spoke about 2 months of working with the department to ensure that the permanent Amendment for Bentleigh & Carnegie is progressed. We now have an extension on the existing interim controls gazetted until MARCH 2021. Another 15 months of dithering and opportunity for developers to go to VCAT and argue their case about ‘interim’ controls that have not been tested at panels, etc.