Another year is fast drawing to an end with very little ‘progress’ in most major areas of council business. 2023 will undoubtedly be crucial in setting the foundations of what Glen Eira will become over the next 20 years.

2022 was basically very disappointing. Following the Wynne letter of December 2015, which basically ordered council to pull its finger out, 7 years later we still do not have:

  • Permanent structure plans for our major activity centres
  • Any comprehensive reviews of the residential zones (circa 2013)
  • A developer contributions levy
  • An ESD (Environmental Sustainability) policy in the planning scheme
  • A WSUD (water sensitive urban design) policy in the planning scheme
  • Parking precinct plans – promised at least 15 years ago

In many ways transparency and accountability have also gone backwards. For example:

  • No longer is there publication of all community consultation feedback. Instead we get carefully manipulated ‘summaries’.
  • The Annual Report now no longer publishes data that fully explains everything. We are told that council planted 2000 trees but are not given any indication of how many were ‘replacement’.
  • Important background documents such as traffic analyses are not provided in many cases PRIOR to the call for community input. In other words, residents are asked to comment on something that is vague and lacks the strategic justification for the recommendations – literally making consultations practically meaningless for residents. Even councillors don’t get to see all the data prior to their important decision making.
  • Nothing of real consequence for tree protection. It will not be part of the planning scheme.
  • No update on flooding since 2006 when climate change is central
  • Urban Forest Strategy that lacks sufficient funding
  • Probably hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on glossy planning documents and consultants that amount to nothing – ie car parks; Inkerman Road bicycle path etc.
  • FOI applications fought tooth and nail by this administration to prevent full disclosure

So, are there any good points that featured in 2022? There are a few in that it is clear that some councillors at least are not enamoured with the way this council conducts its strategic planning. The very fact that the notorious Housing Strategy was voted in by 4 to 3 means there is division. Had both Esakoff and Cade been present at this meeting then we have no doubt that the Housing Strategy would have been voted down. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t put back until the next council meeting when these 2 councillors would have been present?

2023: The year ahead

The coming year will be pivotal in setting the scene for the next 20 years. Up for decision we will have:

  • Bentleigh, Elsternwick structure plans and the accompanying DDO’s.
  • Review of the Planning Scheme. Whether or not this will incorporate a review of the actual zoning everywhere is anyone’s guess.
  • What happens to the remaining 10 neighbourhood centres that are currently without any DDO’s or Urban Design Frameworks, and definitely no structure plans? Will they be left untouched for another decade?
  • Will community consultation come close to genuine consultation where councillors and the community consultation committee have direct and influential input into the survey questions?
  • Will we ever get decent parking policies and parking precinct plans?
  • How much funding will go to our declared climate change policy and all its attendant duties – ie Urban Forest strategy and real protection for trees on private property?

As stated earlier, it’s now been seven years since the Wynne letter to get things right and we’re still waiting. No other council that we know of has taken this length of time to produce some decent strategic planning. What is wrong with Glen Eira?!!!!!! Until there is a major change in council personnel, and in culture, we believe that the pro-development of this council will remain.

Finally, we wish all our readers a fantastic festive season and a healthy and fulfilling 2023. We also thank readers for their continued support and encouragement.