Another item of interest in the current agenda is the proposal to steam roll ahead with spending $51+ million on the redevelopment of the Carnegie Pool. Needless to say by the time anything is constructed this figure will have increased tremendously so we could easily be looking at a cost of $60 million plus.

As with all council proposals, residents are not given the opportunity to have a real say. The formula is to present a series of options determined from above. Surely before council commits to such huge expenditure residents have a right to see a Business Case, costings for various options, detailed ‘community benefit’ outcomes. Instead, all we often get are pretty pictures and no real detail.

Reading through the comments on the Carnegie pool, the overwhelming majority state again and again that they do not want a miniature GESAC created. The emphasis is clearly on outdoor pool and open space and the retention of the history and ambience of this pool.  The writing is on the wall that council wants another GESAC (albeit smaller)!

Next we have a forecast expenditure of $5 million on the creation of Eat Street in Bentleigh and another $5 million upgrade for the library (which underwent an upgrade less than 4 years ago). So that’s another $10 million at this stage. Add in the Inkerman Road bicycle path and the real possibility that it will be council paying for everything, then millions more are set to be spent.

We are not against upgrading ageing facilities. Nor are we against providing important community infrastructure. What we are questioning is whether all of these projects provide ‘value for money’ and how essential they really are? When council is soon to borrow another $30 million whilst still owing about $10 million, we have to query the wisdom of such decision making, especially when the community is crying out for more open space and some decent strategic planning that would safeguard our neighbourhoods. These two areas have been put on the back burner and instead we get project after project that ignores these most pressing issues.

In Glen Eira residents do not have a say on budget priorities. It is definitely time that they did.