Election 2016


Small McKinnon street sandwiched by large developments

Sam Bidey, Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader

October 18, 2016 12:00am

PEOPLE living in a small McKinnon street feel they are being overrun by major developments which are changing their neighbourhood character.

Foster St runs parallel to Claire St, where a three-storey 33 apartment block is set to be built, and adjacent to Adelaide St, where a 34 unit, three-storey dwelling has just been approved by Glen Eira City Council.

All but two of the original homes on Claire St have been snapped up by developers who have taken advantage of the new zones which allow a three-storey height limit.

Steve Toth, who has lived in Foster St for 21 years, fought against both the builds that will leave him and his neighbours sandwiched between two major developments.

Mr Toth said he was more understanding about the need for developments than most of his neighbours, but was put off by the size and style of the builds.

“I accept that we are a developing suburb but there has to set backs and it doesn’t have to look so industrial,” Mr Toth said.

“The side facing me (of the Adelaide St development) which is the one I can comment on — looks like the back end of a power station and that’s something we don’t like.”

Mr Toth said the “butt ugly” building proposed from Adelaide St took away from the character of the neighbourhood.

“If you have a look at Adelaide St now you have five of the most unique, nice houses with each one creative and each one different.

“That’s what I find very disappointing — there are five beautiful houses and now we’ll get Lego land in their place.”

Councillors Jamie Hyams and Jim Magee opposed the Adelaide St development at last week’s council meeting.

Cr Hyams said the proposal was “out of touch” with the character of the opposite side of the road and surrounding streets.

He suggested it would be more appropriate if the townhouses were two stories nearest the street with a setback to a third story at the rear of the block.

Mr Magee said the main issue was VCAT would always allow these developments unless the State Government introduced legislation to make them apply the Glen Eira Planning Scheme to their decisions.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-south/small-mckinnon-street-sandwiched-by-large-developments/news-story/a76b62771c7802de6952cba8c26a9d91

COMMENT

We have had a gut full of the hypocrisy, contradictions, and straight out mistruths that this council and in particular Hyams and Magee keep inflicting on residents via their statements. This is an election period and current councillors are definitely panicking – most noticeably in Tucker Ward. The blame VCAT game continues, as does the promulgation of half truths and deceptions.

Shortly after the zones were introduced, Magee on one application in Centre Road Bentleigh, voted for a permit whilst saying – MAGEE: He will support the application because ‘you can support it without liking it’ and ‘developer does have the right’ to go for ‘the maximum’ and ‘the planning scheme allows that’. So that’s the policy and he will ‘support it’.

VCAT has not set the ‘maximum’ – it is council and its zoning of properties in the GRZ or RGZ. Developers go for broke because of the zoning and because VCAT must resort to what the planning scheme says!

As for Hyams, we repeat his statements from before the introduction of the zones and after their introduction. Contradiction and opportunism certainly don’t appear to worry this councillor who, we remind readers, played an integral part in the introduction of the zones in the first place!

Prior to the secret and devious introduction of the new zones, which is repeatedly heralded as Glen Eira’s crowning achievement strictly because of its height limits, Hyams proclaimed the following (dates are from our postings)

HYAMS: Said that a problem was that if you set height limits then ‘people will build up to that height and you can’t stop them’ but if you don’t have height limits and let each application be ‘judged on its merits’ then you could get ‘better outcomes’. (from our post of 6/2/2013 – ie on application for Glen Huntly Road – 6 storeys and 45 dwellings which got a permit from council.)

Then post zones we get this diametrically opposed statement –

Hyams – ‘The new zones are limiting development’ because of the height limits and that ‘anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t know what they are talking about’ or ‘is deliberately seeking to mislead you’.(25/9/2014)

 

Residents will remember the GESAC basketball allocation fiasco where the Oakleigh Warriors were given the lease of the newly created basketball courts instead of the local McKinnon Basketball group. The arguments presented by Paul Burke at the time were that the Warriors had promised council more money and about 120 hours filled in court time. We also believe that the ombudsman became involved in this decision. Public questions followed, none of which were satisfactorily answered –  for example: are the Warriors paying their weekly rental? are they meeting the stated court hours?

Well now it appears that:

  • Council could be owed thousands and thousands of dollars that the Warriors have not paid on their weekly rent
  • Bob Mann is now gone
  • McKinnon Basketball has been granted access to GESAC
  • Does any of this account for GESAC’s stated loss of $340,000+ from the anticipated income?
  • What does this say about the ‘business plan’ instituted by Newton, Burke and the councillor group? What ‘evidence’ was supplied at the time to ensure that the Warriors could afford what they promised? and
  • How much have residents forked out over the years in subsidising another woeful decision from this administration and councillors?
  • Will this council produce figures that clearly reveal all income and expenditure on GESAC? If not, why not?

Here is the Leader’s version of events –

Oakleigh Basketball Association slammed by messy off-court chaos

OAKLEIGH  Basketball Association is in tatters with financial and governance issues meaning hundreds of children have been forced to leave the league.

The association, which last year had more than 500 junior players, has had its operations put on hold by Basketball Victoria after an inquiry.

Some players have been transferred to the McKinnon Basketball Association, while representative players had the option of trying out with other associations or establishing an Oakleigh team in the McKinnon or Port Phillip associations.

Glen Eira Council reached a deal with McKinnon which will see the association have use of the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre basketball courts this season; the courts would usually be used by Oakleigh.

Basketball Victoria manager Stephen Walter said he initially stepped in to resolve a governance issue as two committees had claimed control of the ­association.

“There were lot of families leaving the club or they just weren’t re-registering; the club had lost critical mass to run a domestic competition,” Mr Walter said.

Tony Pitara, who was president of one of the club committees, said he had identified a tax debt at the club, dating back to 2009 and that was being addressed.

Mr Pitara said he respected Basketball Victoria’s decision, but was confident that had the club sorted out its internal “politics”, it could have found a solid financial footing in two to three ­seasons.

Karen Wilson, vice-president of the newer committee said she had been informed the debt was in the region of a “manageable” $70,000.

But she said the sacking of the head of coaching had created dissatisfaction and prompted the establishment of the second committee.

Cheltenham mum Rosey Cooke, whose son Andrew had played at Oakleigh for five years, said parents weren’t consulted.

“The kids don’t understand all this business — they just want to play ball,” Ms Cooke said.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-south/oakleigh-basketball-association-slammed-by-messy-offcourt-chaos/news-story/5e556fc1430a1dbbaa4f4e27ccc34a23

We’ve received this email from a resident asking for Tucker Ward candidates’ responses –

Dear Candidates,

As you are a candidate for Tucker Ward, I would like to hear your views about the following local problem.

If you visit Mckinnon station and walk along Nicholson street, you will see exposed pilings, both within the station and external rail corridor. The job to rebuild Mckinnon station and reinstate appropriate aesthetic finishes to the rail corridor is clearly unfinished and not done to an equivalent standard as Ormond Station.

Since the beginning of the level crossing removal, we have been asking what the final structures will look like. Early on, we were told there would be a concrete wall with additional fencing for safety and screening. This has not been the outcome.

In the rush to re-open McKinnon station first, the completion of the concreting and aesthetic finishes were not completed. Not only are the exposed pilings and partial concreting unsightly, but the incomplete nature of the works appear to be unsafe (e.g., the exposed sharp edges of the metal pilings). This will inevitably encourage vandalism, which has already started.

However, the job is finished according to the Level Crossing Removal Authority, with the exception of some revegetation along parts of the rail corridor. They claim that Glen Eira Council have signed off on the “design”, including the exposed pilings and partially concreted beams. This clearly contradicts the concrete covering of these same structures that have been done at the Ormond location.

Most of Bent Street and Nicholson Street have already been sold for development. There are simply not enough long-term residents left to garner interest in this local issue.

So my question to you is: What will you do, if elected, to ensure the Level Crossing Removal Authority really finish McKinnon station and the surrounding rail corridor?

Kind regards,

xxxxxxxxx

Resident of Nicholson Street McKinnon, Tucker Ward

On Thursday night at the Camden ward forum there was some discussion on structure planning and how this was to be the be all and end all for Glen Eira’s problems! A solution in one fell swoop! Delahunty expressed some regret that council had not undertaken this process during her four years as a councillor but assured residents that Elsternwick would be better off once these plans were introduced.

Even if we accept this position, it still leaves a multitude of questions that require honest answering. Structure plans are intended for use in activity centres. Elsternwick is a MAJOR activity centre – yet it has been excluded from the interim height controls recently proposed by council. The spurious and unbelievable excuse provided by councillors was that in the ‘popularity’ contest, Elsternwick featured lower on the list of priorities than did Bentleigh and Carnegie. This may well be true, but it is hardly a valid excuse for neglecting Elsternwick and the prospect of major high rise development that is on the cards with Coles, Ripponlea studios, etc.  This leads us to suspect that Council has geared Elsternwick to accommodate much denser development in this area.

Further, council’s ‘action plan’ following the ordered Planning Scheme Review, states that 2 structure plans (Bentleigh & Carnegie) will be completed within 4 years. If it takes 2 years per plan, and if Elsternwick is next in line, we won’t see anything happen for another 6 years! Unacceptable! Then there are all the so called ‘neighbourhood centres’ such as McKinnon, East Bentleigh (with Virginia Park looming), Ormond, Caulfield North (already seeing 7 storeys go up) etc. The time lag for completion of these structure plans could be as far away as 20 years. In the meantime street after street, neighbourhood after neighbourhood will be overdeveloped and ruined if the current rate of development continues.

As for the interim amendments recently submitted to the Minister for rubber stamping, residents have again been left out in the cold with no opportunity to comment or express their viewpoints. No-one was asked whether they thought discretionary rather than mandatory heights should be the option; no one was asked whether they thought 7 storeys in Carnegie was acceptable or appropriate or whether 5 storeys in Bentleigh was suitable. Not one single piece of strategic justification for any of these decisions has been provided. This makes us suspect once more than a neat little secret deal has already been teed up with the department and the minister in order to buy time for council and to delay and continue to delay any real strategic work!

Below we feature council’s ‘justification’ (obtained under FOI) for these two amendments as sent off to the minister. Hardly solid, researched, and validated ‘strategic justification’ for anything.

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Thus if new councillors are elected in a few week’s time we suggest that their immediate priority should be to:

  • Rejig the budget so that funds are available to immediately hire outside consultants to start on these structure plans and other amendments that would change the schedules to the various zones.
  • To immediately implement a full and complete review of the zones with community consultation

A very good turnout at last night’s Camden ward ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum. Congratulations to all candidates for showing up, namely – Delahunty, Pinskier, Hermann, Sounness, Silver, Fayman and Strajt. Questions focused on the following:

  • Community safety – with some members of the audience arguing that Glen Eira is very safe. Candidates responded that crime statistics don’t bear this out and that if even some residents feel unsafe that it is council’s duty to listen and consider their concerns. Ms Pinskier said that she was opposed to CCTV cameras and ‘angry’ about guns in parks which she is absolutely against.
  • One resident from Redan Road, Caulfield East asked why Delahunty and Sounness voted against 92% of residents’ wishes in regard to council’s traffic management ‘solution’ for the street and why emails weren’t answered. Delahunty responded by saying that the measures introduced were in response to ‘safety’ issues and that she makes no apologies for that.
  • Another resident asked how much money council had raised in the past few years from the open space levy and how much of this money had been spent in acquiring new open space in Camden. Sounness replied that there is a process in place where officers look at what is available for purchase and then determine how to proceed. Given the high cost of land at the moment councillors have to decide if any purchase is ‘value for money’. Delahunty then outlined what council had spent money on – ie Riddell Parade, Eskdale Road, and the purchase of an Aileen Avenue property (to be settled in November).
  • Next question was directed to new candidates about the changes to the public questions protocols and whether they thought this was ‘discriminatory’. All new candidates stated that they were opposed to this change and Pinskier favoured full streaming of council meetings. Silver added that he thought there should be a limit on the number of questions per individual because council could then run until 3am! The resident also asked about why the ‘red fence’ of the racecourse was still up and why council allowed this. On the fence question Sounness stated that he thought it was part of the racecourse only to be corrected that it was both council’s and the MRC’s responsibility. Delahunty conceded that council should get moving on this issue and that it was ridiculous that people couldn’t ask questions like this at council instead of a forum.
  • Another resident asked the new candidates for their definitions of ‘neighbourhood character’ and ‘overdevelopment’ and how they could ‘guarantee’ (as Silver stated on his facebook page) that there would be ‘sensible development’. Silver responded that his definition of this is ‘family friendly’ development with proper apartment size to fit 2 adults and 2 children and the need for gardens. Fayman was concerned about waiving of car parking places and thought that 3 or 4 storeys along main arterial roads was justifiable as were one bedroom apartments near university. Strajt spoke about population growth and how councils that joined forces would be best placed to resist overdevelopment. Hermann called overdevelopment the most important issue facing the community and undertook to get fully ‘up to speed’.
  • There was a question on preferences and whether this was done on political grounds. Delahunty said that she put those who had real estate advertising on their boards as last. Silver thought this was a ‘slur’ and that there was no ‘impropriety’ or ‘conflict of interest’ concerns. Hermann thought it was time for fresh faces and that’s why Delahunty and Sounness were put last on her voting card.
  • Another questioner was interested in governance and brought up the issue of notice of motion, recording of council meetings and general transparency and accountability and whether the local law would be changed as ‘first item on the agenda’. Silver said it was ‘up there’ but not his first item and didn’t know whether these suggested options ‘would work’.  Sounness, Hermann, Delahunty were all in favour.
  • A further question was on the large number of developments in Elsternwick, especially the shopping strip and whether candidates felt it was appropriate that this rate of development continues. Also queried was the future of the Elsternwick library. Strajt talked about the system failing and the need for wholesale changes so that councils have more control. Sounness said he would like to see 4, 5 or 6 storey development in some areas so that people can get to know each other and that where there is ‘density’ that it has to be well designed and ‘comfortable’. Hermann was concerned about traffic in Elsternwick and overshadowing and if elected would do all she could to change this. Delahunty said that structure planning could control the ‘rate of change’ as was pointed out by Wynne. Said she will ‘wear’ the criticism as council hasn’t done any structure planning and that when the Coles development happens this will ‘stretch’ the rate of development even further. Structure planning will help and that ‘should have been done a long time ago’.

We’ve uploaded several pages from a secret report by Charter Keck Cramer. The report was obviously commissioned well before July 2013 (the date the report was completed). The report is courtesy of the Department and its objective was to use GLEN EIRA AS A MODEL for the introduction of the new zones. Thus Council was well and truly up to its eyeballs in secret meetings with Guy, and the department in order to be the ‘first’ council in the state to introduce the new residential zones.

What is significant in the following pages (obtained under FOI) is:

  • The emphases on state revenue via property tax and stamp duty
  • Job creation for the construction industry, and
  • Housing supply

There is not one word in this analysis regarding impact on existing neighbourhoods or the deterioration of residential amenity. No mention of required infrastructure; no mention of open space and no concern about transparency and community consultation. Even more astounding is that Glen Eira claimed to have 85 years worth of development potential and 89 years worth once the commercial areas were included! Notes of meetings between the parties reveals that ALL COUNCILLORS were in favour of the introduction of the horrendous zones.

The crucial questions here are:

  • Were all councillors provided with a copy of this report? If so, what questions did they ask? If not all councillors were provided with the report, then why not?
  • Exactly what were councillors told about the secret meetings between Guy, Newton, Akehurst and Hyams?
  • What role did the Liberals on Council (ie Hyams, Lipshutz, Esakoff, Okotel, ‘Pilling’) have in endorsing this secrecy and collusion with Matthew Guy and his bureaucrats?

As we have repeatedly stated, there is no excuse for responses to public questions being lies. There is no excuse for the failure to inform the community as to what is about to happen. There is no excuse for appalling planning and definitely no excuse for failure to implement planning controls for the past decade. All current councillors are responsible for these failures and the damage they have caused to countless residents.

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Candidates report theft of election material and complain about rival posters

Sam Bidey, Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader
October 10, 2016 5:10pm

COUNCILLOR campaign material has been the target of petty thieves in Glen Eira.

And some council chamber squabbles have spilt onto the campaign trail in the municipality.

Candidates from the Tucker Ward and incumbent councillors Jim Magee and Oscar Lobo have reported their campaign posters and signs had been stolen.

With election day on October 22 fast approaching, Cr Magee said eleven of his posters had been taken from around the Bentleigh area, including two from his own home.

“It’s not what you need in the campaign — mine disappear but the one next door to mine doesn’t disappear,” Cr Magee said. “You put them up and they disappear — two of them have come out of my own front garden. “The stakes and everything is gone — you put them on a fence it’s gone — cable ties are laying on the ground and they’ve been cut.”

Cr Magee said he didn’t think another candidate had taken the signs but it could have been the work of people wanting his opponents to be elected.

Fellow Tucker Ward incumbent Cr Jamie Hyams said stealing campaign posters was “disgusting behaviour” but said there had been issues surrounding posters displayed in shopfronts.

Cr Hyams said he had received a complaint from a resident that Cr Lobo had complained to a cafe in Bentleigh about other candidate material being displayed with his.

Cr Lobo argued that businesses “preferred” to put his posters up because he frequented local stores. “Some candidates arrogantly ask coffee shops why they are only placing my picture on their windows,” Cr Lobo said. “The only people who would attempt (to steal posters) would be the losers and those who have not served the residents.”

Cr Lobo said aside from the theft of his material, he had also been pulled up for not having correct authorisation on his signs after a fellow candidate informed authorities.

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