GE Consultation/Communication


From today’s Caulfield Leader

Below is an email that was sent by council to all Trade Associations in Glen Eira. Nothing wrong with this except:

1. Why aren’t residents included since the blurb below speaks of the ‘community’s views’?

2. Why is this the first we hear of council’s plans for A Place Making Action Plan?

We do not wish to diminish the importance of local business. However, we do not believe that traders should get precedence over the general community on something as important as planning and residential amenity. Furthermore, very little reporting of such meetings ever makes it into the public domain. It would appear that traders very definitely are at an ‘advantage’ in Glen Eira compared to the ordinary run of the mill resident!

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Local Economy and Place Making Action Plan – Traders Associations Consultation

Glen Eira City Council warmly invites you to participate in a discussion to help shape the development of a new Local Economy and Place Making Action Plan for our municipality.

As with Greater Melbourne, Glen Eira is currently experiencing a time of significant change, with transport upgrades, population expansion, shifting land use and changes to the way people work and do business. These significant, externally driven changes present both challenges and opportunities with regards to the economic and social viability of our municipality.

As a Traders Association you play a vital role in capturing and representing the views of the traders in your centre. We would like your input into what would make Glen Eira an even better place to work and do business, and how this could be achieved.

This is an exciting opportunity for you to help us ensure the Action Plan is informed by the community’s views and vision regarding developing our local economy. (our emphases). We really hope you are able to make it and contribute to this important conversation. 

Date:     Wednesday 27 February 2019

Time:     6:30pm for 7pm start. Concludes at 8.30pm (includes light refreshments on arrival)

Where: Glen Eira Town Hall, Caulfield Cup Room

RSVP:    cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au by Wednesday 20 February

Background information

Regards

 

Alex Francis-Yu
Place Making – Business Support

City Futures

PO Box 42 Caulfield South VIC 3162
T 9524 3464 M 0466 027 490
E afrancis@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Council has resolved to sell off its 3 aged care facilities. Whether or not this is the appropriate decision is not the point. What concerns us is the manner and process by which this decision was made. There has been:

  • No community consultation whatsoever
  • No warning to staff, residents of these homes, or volunteers
  • No public documentation indicating the reasons why such a decision was made
  • The decision was made behind closed doors
  • No financial report tabled in council on the parlous state of aged care
  • No upfront admission by council that for the past 4 years at least council has been in the red for between $1m and $2m per annum in this area.

We certainly acknowledge that recent federal legislation has impacted severely on councils’ ability to provide such services. This however does not obviate the need for full transparency and communication with ratepayers and those directly impacted by such a decision. Our view is that it should be up to residents to determine how their money is being spent. Are residents willing to have their rates subsidise aged care in the community? Or, do they believe that private companies are the best option? Such decisions can only be based on council providing the community with the full facts. That has never happened in this council. No document has ever been tabled to explain why aged care has been running at such a loss for year upon year. Nor has any document been tabled which outlines a business case for the sale. Residents have been kept in the dark. That is tragically the modus operandi of this council on so many issues!

The very fact that such a momentous decision can be made in secret and that 9 individuals are totally complicit in endorsing this veil of secrecy is frankly unconscionable.

Many more questions need answering. For instance:

  • Will council also be ‘outsourcing’ its home care assistance functions – ie cleaning, carers, etc?
  • What guarantee do employees have of future work?

What irks us even more is the tone of the public statements issued by Hyams and the CEO. As shown below the Hyams document is nothing more than spin taken to the nth degree. The fact that employees can ‘transfer’ if they wish to the new employer ignores completely the fact that this only applies to permanent staff and not long term casuals and is at the mercy of the new owners as the McKenzie document (uploaded here) makes clear.

To see the impact that such a decision has had we publish one of several emails we have received. This is the human cost – something that our 9 councillors have obviously ignored and refused to put out for public debate!

This is my first time to get in touch with you, although I read your work with great interest. 

I do need to stay anonymous, as I am an employee …. of one of the aged care residents. Do with this information what you will but please let me stay anonymous.  

….. the very first I heard of this was this morning, February 6, 8.38 am in an email from mayor Jamie Hymes. Next communication came from the union, at 1.38 pm as I am an in-home-support staff as well. At 2.08 pm another email arrived from CEO Rebecca McKenzie, addressed to all employees of council. 

All this without any inkling or whisper and with not much notice either.  

As a permanent part-time staff of xxx years , working as an in-home-support worker, I can’t help but feel this is our fate for next year and this is exactly how it is going to be handled as well.  

….. as an employee, what I find most offensive is 1. this was all done in secrecy, 2. no ifs and buts 3. Council is offering for residents and staff free “shrink” sessions.  

Regards, 

And finally, the Union reaction –

 

The tree register saga is now at least 15 years in the making. Following the September 2018 report we still are eons away from anything happening. As far as we can tell from council’s published information the eventual tree register will:

  • Only be part of the Local Planning Law and NOT enshrined in the planning scheme. This means that it will not have the necessary clout that the planning scheme could provide.
  • There are no guarantees that this register will even get through to include trees on private land. At the September meeting Strajt and Magee, plus Esakoff’s historical stance, made it absolutely clear that they were opposed to any ‘law’ that pertained to private land. Hence a free pass for continued moonscaping!
  • Nor have we been provided with any information as to how many trees will be on the register; whether council will only include ‘natives’ as stated in their September 2018 list of ‘objectives’; nor whether council will follow the National Trust’s full criteria in assessing any trees. Again the September ‘guidelines’ only referenced ‘large’ trees!

By way of illustrating what can and should be done we highlight recent amendments from Moonee Valley Council. This council has had a register for years. The register has been updated annually, plus it has existed for quite some time as part of its planning scheme. The latest amendment, gazetted recently, takes this a step further by placing an Environmental Sensitive Overlay (ESO) on every tree listed in the register. Whilst removal is still permitted, Moonee Valley has ensured that moonscaping is now much more difficult and unlikely. The ESO ensures that for each tree there will be permanent tree protection zones, regardless of development desires, and that only branches of less than 10cm in width may be lopped by developers.

Glen Eira’s stated proposals don’t come within cooee of such actions!

FYI we’ve provided the following screen dumps from the Planning Panel report which supported council in their endeavours to protect their habitat. Importantly, the imposition on individual landowners and developers was seen as less than the overall ‘community benefit’ to that municipality by the enhanced tree protection!

The rise of resident action groups across Melbourne

Allison Worrall Jan 21, 2019

 

The genteel streets of Elsternwick are not usually the scenes of a protest but on Saturday, more than 150 disgruntled residents, many with children in tow, marched with placards.

The rally was to highlight the community’s opposition to two apartment towers of 10 and 14 storeys proposed after supermarket giant Woolworths bought the site of the former ABC studios.

The resident action group behind the march is in its infancy; members banded together just weeks ago. “I’m a complete novice,” said organiser and veterinarian Karen Boyd-Jones. “I didn’t realise it was going to be all day, every day – lucky I’ve just retired.”

While resident action groups are not new, their prevalence, profile and role in Melbourne has grown as the city’s population has boomed. Social media has been harnessed to raise awareness, attract new members, co-ordinate campaigns and share information.

In Brunswick in the inner north, an established and well-organised action group with more than 1000 members is gearing up for the eighth day of hearings at the state’s planning tribunal.

Protect Park Street Precinct formed two years ago in response to the proposed 13-storey development of 333 apartments overlooking Princes Park. The application has since been revised to 14 storeys, 255 apartments and 12 townhouses.

To date, the group has raised more than $100,000 to mount a comprehensive legal case against the large legal team hired by developer JW Land Group, which paid $32 million for the site.

Members include former La Trobe University chancellor Professor Adrienne E Clarke, who said the group wanted to see “an appropriate building, respectful of heritage values” on the site.

The rise of resident groups has seen thousands of Melburnians, many with little or no experience in politics or lobbying, become resolute activists in recent years.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the way the planning scheme operates at the moment tends to be quite pro-development and favours the big end of town,” says Glen McCallum, the president of Protect Fitzroy North, a powerful group that campaigned against a sprawling 16-storey apartment complex on Queens Parade proposed by developer Tim Gurner.

In that case, planning minister Richard Wynne controversially intervened to place a 10-storey limit on the site, which ultimately led to the project being greatly scaled back. Mr Gurner defended the project at the state’s planning tribunal and welcomed the approval when it was granted.

Since then, Mr McCallum’s organisation has offered assistance and fielded enquiries from resident groups in Collingwood, Alphington, Ivanhoe, Heidelberg and Brunswick.

“The pace of development has stepped up,” Mr McCallum says, “and the regime the councils operate under hasn’t changed since way back in the ’90s.”

With or without the support of councils – many of which have been inundated with development applications and are simultaneously juggling dozens of proposals and appeals – resident action groups are regularly taking on multi-millionaire developers in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

When a case reaches the tribunal, developers will often hire high-flying legal teams consisting of a QC, a junior barrister, several solicitors and a stream of other consultants and experts.

Meanwhile, residents may not have any legal representation or, if they have successfully fundraised, may hire a planning barrister like Daniel Epstein, who charges community groups a reduced fee.

“It’s absolutely a David and Goliath battle,” Mr Epstein admitted but added that resident groups had repeatedly proven effective. “It might be that the development goes through but is much more considered and restricted because of what the community did.”

Most resident groups vehemently reject the NIMBY label, and Mr Epstein agreed it was not the right description. He stressed that the dozen groups he had worked with were not anti-development, but against developments that were ill-considered or too large.

Those involved in planning disputes say it is arduous work entailing countless hours of research.  “Our little structure plan for Elsternwick had approximately 19 documents, over 1000 pages,” said research scientist Jacinta Smith, who attended Saturday’s march.

“How do people cope with that? Only ridiculous people like me think ‘I’m going to read this with my highlighter’.”

Ms Smith said she had never stepped foot inside a council meeting until 18 months ago when her land was rezoned. “I, like many people, was ignorant and apathetic on local council issues,” she said. “We assume the professionals and experts will handle this for us.”

Glen Eira council will hand down its decision regarding the Woolworths development next month.

Source: https://www.domain.com.au/news/the-rise-of-resident-action-groups-across-melbourne/?utm_campaign=strap-masthead&utm_source=the-age&utm_medium=link&utm_content=pos2&ref=pos1

PS – From today’s Caulfield Leader

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In the 2016 Planning Scheme Review, residents made it clear that high on their list of priorities for council action was the introduction of an ESD (Environmentally Sustainable Development) policy, plus a WSUD (Water Sensitive Urban Design) policy.  The formal Review submitted to government went on to state (page 26):

ESD, loss of water, permeability, underground car parking  

Feedback revealed a greater desire for environmentally sustainable developments. 

It is recommended:

Σ That a town planning sustainability policy be developed together with ESD objectives in the MSS.

Σ Investigate possible incentives encouraging ESD for developments.

Σ Increase opportunities for planting

Σ Develop a Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy.

Σ Continue advocacy for a Statewide ESD Policy.

In the October 2018 review these ‘recommendations’ somehow went out the window with council resorting to its time honoured practice of ‘let’s wait for the state government to do something’ as evidenced here:

Even the WSUD idea morphed into the single issue of the Elster Creek Catchment project rather than seeing this as an issue for each individual development application.

For 30 other Victorian Councils, waiting around is not an option. Here’s a recent announcement from the MAV – the peak body of all councils.

Glen Eira isn’t even a member of the above listed alliance! Why not? Why is this council so averse to working collaboratively with other councils to ensure positive outcomes for the community? Is it really so hard to devise a policy that is now firmly entrenched in countless other planning schemes? Or is it that any impediment to developers goes against the grain?

Here is a list, taken from the CASBE website of all councils forming this alliance.

Banyule

Bass coast

Bayside

Benalla

Brimbank

Darebin

Greater Bendigo

Greater Dandenong

Geelong

Hobson’s Bay

Hume

Kingston

Knox

Manningham

Maribyrnong

Maroondah

Melbourne

Monash

Moonee Valley

Moreland

Port Phillip

Stonnington

Strathbogie

Whitehorse

Whittlesea

Wodonga

Wyndham

Yarra

Yarra Ranges

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has today released its data for building approvals for the July to November 2018 period. Glen Eira remains well and truly above target to meet its housing needs for population growth.

The chart below features all building approvals since the 2011/12 financial year. Please note that these figures also include building approvals for single house replacements. Thus, whilst the chart indicates that Monash has 300+ more building approvals, once the number of permits for single houses are removed, Glen Eira is streaking it in. For example: during this period Monash has had 4432 single house permits granted. Glen Eira has had 2232 – ie Monash has had double the number. Boroondara is another example where the rate of single house replacement is very high – 3547. Further exacerbating this data is the size of these municipalities. When 80 square km (Monash) is compared to the 38.9 km of Glen Eira, questions of density, open space become critical. Something our council is ignoring completely!

Given this data, it remains unbelievable that council is still committed to doubling the size of our activity centres and facilitating apartment blocks of 12 storeys and more.

PS – in order to put some of these stats into perspective we are adding the following – a list of all municipalities that had more building permits granted than Glen Eira’s for the period July to November 2018. Glen Eira had 853 permits of which only 132 were for single house replacements. The following list includes the total number of permits, plus the number of single house permits following the bracket(/).

Casey – 1983/ 1794

Greater Geelong – 1416/1246

Hume – 1615/1395

Manningham – 1109/170

Melton – 1216/1199

Monash – 1201/291

Whittlesea – 1266/890

Wyndham – 2557/2296

 

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