GE Consultation/Communication


The agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting contains the draft Urban Forest Strategy. Whilst it does have an abundance of useful information, such as the economic, social, and environmental impacts of doing nothing, and the subsequent further loss of our tree canopy, the same cannot be said for its ‘Action Plan’.

Here are the most important points to consider:

TARGETS

These targets are well below what is required. A comparison with some other councils illustrates once again how late and token this council’s proposed actions really are:

These recommendations raise numerous issues that residents should consider –

  • If the stated objective is to increase the municipality’s overall tree canopy and to mitigate as much as possible against urban island heat effect, climate change, etc., then why has council REMOVED THE MANDATORY GARDEN REQUIREMENTS from those areas proposed to be zoned GRZ5 in Amendment C184 for Bentleigh & Carnegie?
  • Why is council even contemplating a zone that allows 90% site coverage and 5% permeability?
  • Why has council allowed the NRZ2 zoning in this amendment to revert back to a site coverage of 60% (from 50%)and a reduction in permeability requirements from 25% to 20%?
  • Why are we still waiting for a Water Sensitive Urban Design policy to make it into the planning scheme when this was announced 4 years ago?
  • Why do we only have a proposed Significant Tree Register that will in all likelihood only include about 150 trees (maximum) instead of far more stringent and powerful controls incorporated into the Planning Scheme as other councils have done?
  • Why, when council has declared a climate emergency do we have a budget that only provides an additional $150,000 to an already paltry sum.
  • Why does a strategy such as this nominate ‘low’ priority for monitoring and evaluation? Surely council should keep and publish all data such as tree removals as a result of development on a regular bases?

CONCLUSION

Several conclusions are possible given this draft strategy. Most importantly until we have a planning department that is in sync with other departments then no environmental strategy will come within cooee of achieving its targets. It is quite ludicrous that a strategy ostensibly devoted to increasing our tree canopy, is faced with a planning department that consistently fails to introduce controls that would facilitate this endeavour. What is happening is the reverse.

Then again, we have to wonder whether this strategy is nothing more than another public relations exercise, a ‘feel good’ document that whilst very belated, council can point to as ‘look we’re up to date’ and ‘concerned’. If council was really ‘concerned’ then perhaps we would have proper budgetary funding, and a planning scheme that contributes rather than hinders to mitigating all the environmental issues we currently face.

 

One of council’s advertised documents is supposed to represent overshadowing possibilities and how the proposed heights will not (greatly) impact on open space during the proposed time slots. We have concentrated on the winter solstice times (see below)

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According to the above diagrams, there is no real problem in terms of overshadowing with heights of 8 and 12 storeys. Yet it was an entirely different story a year or so back.

Presented below are overshadowing diagrams that were obtained via an FOI application. They show the winter solstice projections BUT with building heights of 5 storeys fronting much of Rosstown Road. Amendment C157 changed all this. We no longer have 5 storeys here but 8 and 12 storeys. Thus since the heights have dramatically increased, then so will the length of shadow.

These two sets of diagrams raise some crucial questions:

  • Can we believe this latest effort given what was previously shown?
  • Is council merely producing results that support their predetermined decision making?
  • Why is there no overshadowing emphases on private property in the proposed amendment?

Residents really need to challenge every scrap of paper that comes out of this council for:

  • Accuracy
  • Relevant detail
  • Comprehensiveness
  • And dare we say it? – ‘honesty’

Finally, it is also worth commenting upon that various councillors have got up in chamber and argued against the wedding cake setback arrangements for countless developments in the municipality. The proposed setbacks fly in the face of these arguments given that everything will now be ‘wedding cake’ in Glen Eira according to this amendment.

Our apologies for this long post. It is however a very important one. Our objective is to inform the community why Amendment C184 represents another cave in by our councillors and why residents should object strongly to the continued erosion of their amenity.

The image presented below represents the zoning changes that Amendment C184 is seeking to introduce. In summary:

  • Areas marked as red are supposed to represent a REDUCTION in height of 2 storeys
  • Areas marked as yellow/orange are supposed to represent a REDUCTION in height of 1 storey
  • Areas marked as green are supposed to represent an INCREASE in height of 1 storey, and
  • Areas marked as blue are supposed to represent an INCREASE in height of 2 storeys.

The most important aspect of the above image is the number of INCREASED property zonings. If one were to calculate how many untouched properties had their heights reduced and how many of the green and blue labelled properties had their heights INCREASED, then the increase far outweighs the effective reductions. Even more important is the fact that what will now be zoned as GRZ5 has had the ‘mandatory’ garden requirements removed and that those properties zoned NRZ2 will have an increase in site coverage permitted and a decrease in the permeability requirements currently tagged as belonging to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

Whilst it sounds wonderful that Heritage is now reduced from 4 to 2 storeys, and that previously zoned 3 and 4 storeys will also be reduced, we maintain that the horse has well and truly bolted given council’s abject failure to introduce sensible and judicious zoning in 2013. Mavho and Loranne in particular are now gone and no amount of rezoning can remove the 3 and 4 storeys already in existence. The following image reveals exactly what has happened in these two streets whilst council sat on its backside and welcomed such development. Mitchell street, with its Heritage Overlay is also another victim of four storey developments.

Finally, we wish to illustrate our previous allegation that the zoning which was introduced secretly and by stealth in 2013 has been an absolute disaster and is now explicitly acknowledged as a failure. The architects of this zoning are still there – namely, Hyams, Magee, Delahunty and Esakoff. They are part of the problem – not its solution!

The following screen dump taken from one of Council’s exhibited documents makes it absolutely clear how illogical the 2013 zoning was/is. Heritage areas were zoned RGZ (4 storeys) and some were even under a Special Building Overlay. This was done in spite of the fact that the Planning Practice Notes stated clearly that Heritage Areas were to be excluded from Activity Centre borders. Yet the Libs and Guy rubber stamped the ineptitude of Akehurst and his complicit councillors. Residents have been paying the price ever since. And remember, Wynne had to order this council to undertake structure planning. It was not something that our woeful council wanted to do!

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So 5 years down the track we have another abomination to contend with. Gone are mandatory height limits for all areas as was the case in 2018. Not once, in any document produced by this council has there been clear and unassailable evidence that the municipality needs more and more growth to meet its projected housing ‘quota’. What we have been presented with is more scapegoating onto State Government. Opposition, public commentary and fight to oppose more and more development has been deafening by its absence. Conclusion? This council has always been and remains a pro development rather than a residents first council. It is definitely time for a change in October!

In what can only be described as the most retrograde and negative step this council has taken since the introduction of the notorious residential zones in 2013, we now have a further erosion of residential amenity. All thanks to the proposed C184 amendment. The main documents can be accessed via this link! https://www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/services/planning-and-building/planning-scheme-and-amendments/current-planning-scheme-amendments/c184glen

Whilst we still need to go through all the documents with a fine tooth comb, here are the main things we’ve noticed at this stage. Please note:

  • Properties zoned NRZ 2 (Neighbourhood Residential zone) will revert back to what was there in 2004. What this means is that instead of a requirement for a 50% site coverage this will now become the ResCode vision of 60%. Permeability will also go from 25% to 20%.
  • Here is the zoning map for Bentleigh. Please note the number of GRZ5 and NRZ2 dwellings to be rezoned. Also GRZ5, will no longer have to have the mandatory ‘garden requirement’ as recently introduced by Wynne. In other words, more room for development with less open space.
  • Carnegie will now have a RGZ4 where site coverage is 90% and permeability is 5%
  • Please also note that some of the above ‘thinking’ was never, ever made public. How typical of this council!!!!!!

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Council held its ‘information’ evening on the draft Glen Huntly structure plan this evening. There were over 40 residents plus only 2 councillors – Esakoff and Hyams. City Futures was represented by officers.

Sadly, the first 25 minutes was devoted to a powerpoint display pretending to explain the intricacies of the draft structure plan. Amazingly this officer did not once explain the most important aspect of the plan which was the fact that the proposed heights were currently designated as ‘discretionary’. The terms ‘discretionary’ and/or ‘mandatory’ did not pass her lips. Instead we got the usual platitudes, generalities and absolutely no justification for the suggested heights.

By the time this part of the meeting was completed, there was only about 25 minutes for resident questions and comments. Hardly enough we say! However, this did not stop tonight’s participants from presenting their views via their ongoing comments throughout the rest of the meeting which Zoom allows.

We feature these comments in full below. They certainly provide readers with a clear indication of what the community thinks of the draft structure plan. We have removed the names of the participants from the various questions/comments

Why Equinox sun, when the December Solstice is more important ???

06:57 PM

good question

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  06:57 PM

Verbatim question here everyone – I live 3 houses away from the proposed 6 story development on the Booran Reserve side of Booran road and Glen Huntly road. There seems to be a lack of transition from the existing tram route 3 story and 2 story side street height limit to what is proposed specifically in the opportunity site (West) corner Booran and GH street on the Booran Reserve side of the street. The proposed 6 story development will impact privacy and light to surrounding homes as well as parking, traffic, and the suburban character of the area as well as the general quality of life for residents. Why has the development been extended so far down GH road (to Emma and Heatherbrae) and not concentrated in the existing shopping and train district? Why is a 6 story development being considered- in a neighbourhood that has nothing higher than 2 stories. When was it decided that Glen Huntly was flagged as a high density major activity hub? My understanding was that is was not flagged as such- Caulfield and Els

06:58 PM

So is Ormand…. which has 6 lane road

06:58 PM

Is there going to be a heritage plan for Glen Huntly shopping strip, and wouldn’t it be better to have heritage protection in place before the structure plan

06:58 PM

Please explain your plans for car parking around the station. Thanks.

06:58 PM

Bentleigh is the other major activity centre which has shops spanning over 1km…

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  06:59 PM

Verbatim question here folks: Is the councils preference for the 3 railway lines to be lowered. If it is, will the pedestrian crossing at Macgowan / Wattle Avenues be retained.

06:59 PM

Will the bike path on Queens Ave be on the outside of the racecourse at ground level and if so how will the road / traffic be treated?

06:59 PM

yes please provide a further response

07:29 PM

totally agree with xxx  regarding Glenhuntly should not be a Major Activity Centre !

07:29 PM

Who is the proposed builder of these towers

07:29 PM

Great points xxx has made – still want to know where all the profits are going

07:29 PM

I think our area has been hijacked by developers,

07:29 PM

Yes xxxx- good on ya

GLen Huntly is much smaller and much more similar to Caulfield South and MicKinnon and Murrumbeena and Hughesdale which are all neighbourhood activity areas

06:59 PM

(statement) I think 10 stories is far to high

07:00 PM

Agreed

07:00 PM

Agreed

07:00 PM

Absolutely

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:00 PM

Verbatim question from Kate: Is the bike path / running track on Queens Ave inside or outside of the racecourse and how is it accessed from the trail bike path from Carnegie?

07:00 PM

AGreed

ie re 10 storeys being too high.

07:00 PM

No tall buildings should be built in a residential area – it’s certainly NOT consistent with the character and feel of the area

07:01 PM

Hi Glen Eira Council. Just wondering if any of the housing developments within the Glenhuntly redevelopment is planned for social housing?

07:01 PM

There is no development higher than 3 stories in the immediate area including the commercial site on the corner of Booran and GH road. A move to 6 stories bordering on residential houses is very high with no transition

07:01 PM

agreed re 10 storey limit being too high and need to clarify heritage streetscape first

07:01 PM

are the bulding adjacent to Glenhuntly station on royal ave demolished

07:01 PM

is there an option to reduce the 10 storey building to 4-6 storey

07:01 PM

what happens to Woolworths parking?

07:02 PM

Ormond rail station ended up being a real mess that stills hasn’t been resolve. We have to do better than this.

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:02 PM

Thanks for all these additional questions everyone – we will follow up on these and make sure we send answers around

07:02 PM

What planning is there re parking and traffic…none has been presented that I have seen…does any exist or is Council allowing massive over-development first and worrying about parking and traffic later?

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:02 PM

Verbatim question from xxxx I think it’s fair to say that locals in general are concerned about the significant changes proposed along Glen Huntly Road which will completely alter the character, feel and visual impact of the area – please advise what residents have to do to prevent these drastic and unwanted changes to the local area, and how councillors will assist in this process.

07:02 PM

Will the plan be looking at the potential impact of Covid-19 or (let’s hope not) future viruses.  Eg. if there is less usage of public transport

07:03 PM

Agreed

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:04 PM

Question from xxxx: Provide additional information on the potential to rezone residential areas from 3 storeys to higher mandatory height limits?

07:04 PM

For the high density development in the current Woolworths carpark you talked about shadows on Glen Huntly Rd, however you didn’t mention the shadows falling west onto Station Pl / Huntly St. Has this been considered if there is to be no setback against the railway line?

07:04 PM

xxxx  I wanted to discuss the opportunity site 4 bookend sites on huntly street and watson grove. Thanks

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:04 PM

High density housing (many blocks of units / apartments are being built around Glen Eira). Will this be the “new look” for Glen Huntly?

07:05 PM

I agree 10 storeys is too high for the woolworths area 😦

07:05 PM

Can we request a review of the Glen Huntly allocation as a Major Activity Centre? I think we see ourselves as a “neighbourhood activity centre”

07:05 PM

the council web site say that Glen Huntly is already 74.4% medium to high density,,why, wasn’t this stated in the plan, and how much is to much? 80%, 90% 100%?

07:05 PM

Growth can be accommodated without inappropriate high-rise.

07:05 PM

For the two carparks on Huntly St, wouldn’t open space fit better into the current feel of this part of the neighbourhood compared to 3 storey residential living? The surrounding streets all have low-medium density housing and a strong community feel

07:06 PM

Has this draft been voted on by council- if so has council approved this as it is. If that’s the case is this a done deal

07:06 PM

Well said xxx

07:06 PM

Can Council identify any level of support among local residents for 6-10 storey towers in what is already the densest population centre in Glen Eira?

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:06 PM

Question from xxx How the car parking on the two opportunity sites on Huntly street will be maintained if housing development is permitted on those sites

07:07 PM

Will all these questions be answered in an open forum?

07:07 PM

Looking map of interchange – what is proposed? Map shown crosses the railway tracks and opens the possibility of development (SkyTower?)occurring above the railway tracks.

Verbatim question from xxxx: Is there any community support whatsoever that Council can identify for allowing 6 + storey buildings turning large sections of the Glenhuntly Road shopping strip into a sunless canyon for much of the year, or for 10 storey apartment blocks in the area, or for residents one block from Glenhuntly Road to have 4-6 storey apartment blocks overshadowing and overlooking their houses and back yards?

City Plan cites max 5 storey max so why is anything higher than that even being mentioned in Glen Huntly

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:08 PM

Please provide details of Council’s intentions to re-zone residential  areas in Glenhuntly.

“Quite a lot of people opposed to increased building heights” – there’s your community feedback, Council!!!

I worry that residents voices won’t be heard

Is the idea of having all this development 10 storeys, 6 etc – is it to make money for the council? Who benefits financially from all this real estate developement?

What is the justification for 10 storey height behind Woolworths? What will it do to traffic flow? Light? setting a precedent for high rise? Insufficient green space in the area?  What are the plans to add green space in an area that has not nearly enough – despite wonderful Booran reserve that caters to kids primarily

car park next to woollies – who owns this land?

07:10 PM

For existing residential properties -what do you mean by a  housing assessment will take place- are there any plans to rezone current residential homes

The feedback here is that people are very concerned about the building heights. DOes this mean a new plan will be developed with residents input taken into consideration?>

Traffic movement in GH is already poor – how will the big increase be managed?

What does mixed housing mean- large buildings with mixed use is not enough detail.

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:11 PM

Question from xxxx:What’s the height restriction for the car park on the corner of Watson Grove and Huntly Street? How is the impact assessed?

07:11 PM

I’m Interested in the justification for 10 storeys, which seems excessive.

Did you do any community consultation when you changed it from a neighbourhood centre to a major activity centre? or decided for the residents that it would be okay to add 10 storey height limits?

07:12 PM

The corner of James street and GH road is already a mess, how can this under sized corner cope with all this proposed development.

1)           Why has the Activity Centre’s core shopping strip been extended from Booran Road to Heatherbrae and Emma Streets ? What forms of commercial activity will be permitted in this area adjoining residential housing ?

07:12 PM

Will Council compensate residents whose solar panels are shaded by potentially 6 storey towers shading their rooves?

From Glen Eira City Futures to Everyone:  07:12 PM

2)           Why have the sites at the Cnr of Booran and Glenhuntly Roads been proposed with a building height of 6 stories adjoining a low density housing area ? What forms of commercial activity would be permitted at this location ?

3) What is proposed for the rail siding area north of the current Glen Huntly Road car park adjoining Nerrium Road ?

Was anyone on this call part of the consultation process changing our suburb from a neighbourhood zoning to a major hub zoning

I was at the planning meeting

what is the plan for building adjacent to Glenhuntly train station on royal ave.

07:13 PM

Was there support for the rezoning

07:13 PM

I came away with the understanding that the character and feel of the area would be retained. I don’t believe this plan is consistent with that intention.

What are your specific plans for the area around U3A and the car park near Glenhuntly Woolworths?

This plan appears to be Half baked- lots of  development but no thought as to how local residents are affected

07:15 PM

One of the stated reasons for allowing denser high rise development is to provide accomodation for the projected Melbourne population growth. In view of the recent abrupt change in the Australia – China relationship and growing opposition to population growth as a driver of economic growth surely the projected population growth (one of the inputs to the plan) has to be reduced ? When this is considered along with the devastating impact of the pandemic in dense high rise dwelling surely the proposed revision upwards of some of the areas to four and even six levels is both unwise and inappropriate given there are additional other major reasons for not changing current height limits (including traffic congestion and parking) ?

I agree- all of us support a beautification process for the existing shops in GH that has been neglected over the years, the height of proposed buildings is causing concern

07:15 PM

I agree – I don’t think GLen Huntly should be considered a Major Activity Centre. This will enable changes that are not consistent with it’s current character.

07:16 PM

I agree with you xxxx

Q What were the considerations that determined the height and density of developments in the Glenhuntly Road and Booran Road precinct and what effect will this have in the surrounding streets?

Q: What were the considerations that determined the height and density of developments in the Glenhuntly Road and Booran Road precinct and what effect will this have in the surrounding streets?

I agree with you

07:17 PM

Could you talk about the $$$ profit all this development will make and where it is going?

07:17 PM

There is no transition from 3 to 6,or more stories

will u3a  survive in its existing site?

Are these building heights to be mandatory or discretionary….will 4 stories turn into 5 or 6 stories if developers make noises in this direction?

Why do you not create mandatory maximum height limits for some of these commercial developments to stop the loss of amenity, loss of light, overshadowing issues and detrimental effect on surrounding green areas?

07:18 PM

The answers is getting very repetitive, more development and more development .

Why do you not create mandatory maximum height limits for some of these commercial developments to stop the loss of amenity, loss of light, overshadowing issues and detrimental effect on surrounding green areas?

Balance that’s a joke, I see no balance here

07:20 PM

What sort of community and cultural services and venues will be incorporated?

The 2 car parks in Huntly Street were paid for “by the Glen Huntly Traders and Landowners back in 1980’s, with a fifteen year levy paid.” How can you replace these carparks with high rise dwellings?

Could Council provide justification and details of the amendment to the Glen Eira Planning Scheme that is needed to accommodate the draft Glen Huntly Structure Plan?

8 stories storeys  is too high for  for a neighbourhood centre   It will change the atmosphere of the area.   It is not carnegie or elsternwick    Please explain?

Hi Matt we don’t have an answer to the height- you can see the level of concern. Can the heights be changed or are they a given

07:22 PM

City Plan may be high level, but residents are angry about the persistent applications for mega storey developments.  Council should be listening to residents and applying significant pressure on the state government in regards to planning.  Acid test is:  would you want to live next door to a mutli-story apartment block.

Mandatory max heights would stop the VCAT merry go round that Council currently face, wasting huge amounts of residents money on legal fees.

It seems that the stricture plan allows rampant development with discretionary height limits but mandatory heights are in the too hard basket

If this structure plan is rammed down local residents throats now….what more will we have to fear from the “Housing assessment” alluded to by the speaker…when will this assessment be and will it allow 4-5 storey buildings next to 1-2 residential houses?

07:26 PM

I have pushed raise hand button to ask a question – can’t see if it’s up. Would like to ask a question

Yay xxx we need Council to represent US, not developers

07:29 PM

agrred

07:29 PM

If GH is a neighbourhood centre in the GE planning scheme, how can Plan Melbourne just override this?

Council have ticked the box for consultation but seem to be deaf to residents not wanting high rise extremes in their neighbourhoods. Not good enough,

07:30 PM

I wonder if any of the Council speakers would like a 6 storey monstrosity overlooking their back yards???

07:30 PM

Has council votes on this plan

07:30 PM

No, it’s still a draft

07:30 PM

By the time we get there it will be too late to object

07:31 PM

Yes

Given the way Caulfield Village grew and grew way past the initial proposed development, I fear that GH will go the same way

07:31 PM

If council addresses the height issues a large percentage of public concern would disappear

07:31 PM

the council is to represent the rate payers and it looks like the council has not listened to its people

07:32 PM

To keep in touch, contact https://savegleneira.com.au/

07:32 PM

Re Height limits and justifying them using the sun’s position. I’m asking why they’ve used the  Equinox sun ‘s position and not the Winter Solstice position which is lower in the sky?

good point Helen

07:32 PM

I think this draft plan is a mess and it should be started again with more sympathy for the existing built form

07:32 PM

it’s a draft ok

07:32 PM

count me in

07:32 PM

Is Council “consulting” with developers too?

07:33 PM

Development is great. It just needs to be appropriate.

07:33 PM

agree

07:33 PM

count me in too

07:33 PM

yes it looks like they are

07:33 PM

How much money is this proposed development making and where is the money going?

07:33 PM

Can we simply develop to Neighbourhood levels then?

07:34 PM

Scrap this plan , consult with residents, and start again please. If not, maybe we can elect councillors who are willing to do so.

07:35 PM

Why propose 6 to 10 storeys, knowing the minister will like this – can’t Council propose what the community wants, and take it from there?

07:35 PM

Is GH now a designated Major Activity Centre due to the cost of level crossing removals?

I am keen to further challenge our Major Activity Centre – can you please guide me?

disappointing meeting not enough time allocated for questions

07:36 PM

the level crossings were the numbers 3 and 4 in priority – why so long?

surely as a collective group you can challenge the Planning minister?

07:36 PM

This is a sham consultation.

thanks

07:37 PM

why are they still smiling about it all despite everyone’s concerns?

Maybe they know the final outcome and this is a charade?

Let Council know what you think of this by attending their zoom session tonight at 6.30pm. The link is: https://www.haveyoursaygleneira.com.au/GlenHuntly

A quick summary of last night’s council meeting.

BUDGET, SRP & CARNEGIE POOL

In a council first, changes were made to the advertised budget. Esakoff moved a motion to include an additional $150,000 for sustainability efforts as a result of the declaration of a climate emergency. Where and how this money was to be utilised was not stated. The motion was passed unanimously. Whilst certainly a welcome change given council’s past record of rubber stamping everything, we wonder whether this amount is nothing more than a token gesture and what it will actually achieve.

Comments were also made on the proposed $60M loan over the next 5 years and some were repeated when discussing the issue of the Carnegie pool redevelopment. The arguments presented included: current low interest rates, meeting community service expectations, cheaper to fix/renew/develop infrastructure sooner rather than wait until repairs cost too much or the costs go up year after year.

In relation to spending at least $51M on the Carnegie pool only Delahunty questioned the wisdom of concentrating so much on aquatic facilities in place of other potential projects. Also disheartening was Sztrajt’s continued recourse to a black and white (and false) dichotomy. The issue isn’t whether infrastructure needs upgrading, but how much should be spent on these projects. It is never a case of do nothing now or spend the money now. The fundamental question should be: Do residents agree with spending $51M – especially since they have never been asked this question! We remind readers that council is currently in debt for $11 plus million. Borrowing another $60M will ensure that ratepayers are paying off the loan for another several decades at least.

TREE REGISTER

Councillors unanimously resolved to seek further consultation on implementing the tree register. Sztrajt again came up with some bogus arguments such as the problem with anonymous nominations by neighbours determined to create mischief. Delahunty countered by stating that the decision would be based on the merits of the tree nominated. If it was worthy of inclusion in the register it would be regardless of the motivation of whoever nominated it.

Esakoff did not repeat her previous opposition to the register on private land, but stated that she would read residents’ views. Cade was opposed, and Magee was absent. Hence we have at this stage 4 councillors who have already declared their opposition to the creation of controls on private land. All it would take is for one councillor to alter their view and the tree register issue would again be confined to the dustbin of history!

It is also becoming pretty tiresome to hear repeated the arguments about community consultation and how this fails to elicit the full community’s views. Instead, we are told, that only those with an interest will respond, or those who are the loudest, will respond thereby negating the ‘outcomes’ of the consultation. Council can’t have it both ways – ie arguing that ‘we have consulted’ and forging ahead with dubious projects or, conversely, the consultation is a dud. If council is really determined to elicit greater responses then there are various methodologies they could employ, namely:

  • Including a letter/flyer with each rate notice so that postage costs are kept at a minimum
  • Providing discussion papers for each major project that clearly lists the pros and cons so that residents have a clear idea of the issue
  • Asking specific questions instead of the vague nonsense that currently parades as ‘community consultation’

DELEGATIONS

Whilst other councils rescind their earlier increase in funds available to the CEO, Glen Eira councillors have merely halved the total – ie from $20M to $10M. However, planning conference and Delegated Planning Committee meetings can now proceed with community input via zoom.

In another jam packed agenda for Tuesday night, the council tradition of ignoring resident views continues. Here is a brief overview of the important items.

THE BUDGET & SRP

Given the number of submissions put forward by residents on the budget and the Strategic Resource Plan (SRP) it is unbelievable that the budget does not include one single word in response to these submissions. The only acknowledgement of what residents said comes in the SRP in a paragraph that typically says nothing. We quote:

While there were three formal submissions received for the Strategic Resource Plan 2020-2021 to 2029-2030, twenty submissions received for the 2020-21 Draft Annual Budget also made reference to a number of matters in the Strategic Resource Plan. These included level of proposed borrowings and strategic projects contained within the long term capital works program. No formal submissions were received for the Draft Community Plan Commitments 2020-2021.

Once again we have a council that refuses to alter any aspect of its budget in response to resident feedback. Several submitters urged council to increase its allocated spending given the declaration of a climate emergency. Totally ignored! But this has not stopped council from:

  • Increasing the rate in the dollar (marginally) despite the fact that there is now an additional 200 rateable properties that will be paying rates.
  • A mere $3 reduction in the 240/120L wastage charge, despite the fact that there is a large reduction in the estimated State Government land fill levy.
  • The continued determination to borrow $60m over the next five years, most of which will probably go to funding the $51M Carnegie mini Gesac pool redevelopment! This is assigning future generations to huge debt repayments.

When residents have taken the time and trouble to sift through volumes of pages and figures, the least any council should be prepared to do is respond directly to these comments and provide solid justification as to why the suggestions have been ignored, adapted, or even incorporated into the final budget! In Glen Eira, there is no such thing as changing what has already been determined as a result of community feedback. The legal requirements are met and that is it!

CARNEGIE POOL DESIGN

Despite the fact that the vast majority of feedback on the initial concept designs repeatedly stated that a de facto GESAC was not wanted, Council has again ignored these views. The ‘promise’ is that the size presented in the plans: Remains within the footprint, size and structure as the existing pool

We certainly query the veracity of this statement as depicted in the following images. How on earth council can claim that the ‘footprint’ will be identical to what currently exists is simply mind boggling when the following is compared:

There are many other questionable statements. For example:

In terms of a Business Case we find this comment: The findings of this review will be presented in full to Councillors in July. Does this mean that councillors have not as yet even clapped eyes on the business justification to spend at least $51M? Will this business case ever make it into the public domain? And how on earth can any design be progressed when the financial evidence is not available? Another example of putting the cart before the horse!

There’s also this:

The traffic and parking report includes future scenarios which have been modelled around the proposed closure of Moira Avenue. Councillors have not made a final decision on closing Moira Avenue yet and an additional community consultation will be conducted in relation to the proposed road closure at a separate time next financial year 

Surely the question regarding the possible closure of Moira Avenue should come before any designs are put out for consultation? This smacks of the Inkerman Road bicyle path fiasco where decisions are made to plough ahead prior to a full, objective assessment of all the data.

We are simply reminded of what happened at GESAC with its abysmal planning that required the expenditure of several more millions to turn open space into more car parks (3 times). The Mile End traffic report and its claims for sufficient car parking down the track warrants very careful scrutiny.

All in all, it would appear to be more of the same in Glen Eira City Council. Namely, pretend you are really consulting in order to ‘prove’ all the decisions that have already been made!

Evidence keeps piling up as to the machinations that this council undertakes in the name of ‘community consultation’ – especially in relation to structure planning. The latest example is the draft Glen Huntly Structure Plan.

Tuesday night’s ‘debate’ on whether or not to accept the draft was stage managed to perfection. With Silver absent this created the potential for a tied 4-4 vote on whether to proceed with consultation or to reject the draft plan. The final vote was 5 to 3 to exhibit with Hyams, Esakoff and Sztrajt voting against exhibition and Magee, Athanasopolous, Cade, Delahunty and Davey voting to go ahead.

Not for the first time Magee outdid himself. Anyone listening to his comments would surely have come away with the view that he was opposed to exhibition. But no! He VOTED FOR, in spite of all such comments as: Council has to be ‘very very careful’; Glen Huntly is ‘charming’; there already are ‘lot of flats a lot of units’; to grow futher  ‘ would be detrimental to that strip if the structure plan was implemented the way it is currently written’ and finally ‘let’s make sure we save Glen Huntly so that in 10 or 15 years time Glen Huntly looks like Glen Huntly’. Had Magee voted against, as his comments implied, then Esakoff would have had the deciding vote and the draft would have been knocked back. As we said, stage managed to perfection!

But that’s not all. Consultation is now going ahead and the questions asked of residents could not be any more vague and useless. Here are the pertinent questions after the usual demographic options such as sex, age, connection with Glen Huntly. Direct questions on the draft structure plans itself are:

What do you like about the draft Plan?

Are there opportunities for change?

Do you have any other feedback?

How did you hear about the draft Structure Plan and the opportunity to provide feedback? Please select all that apply.

Not once in the opening blurb are residents told:

  • 10 storeys is proposed in one spot and between 6 and 8 for others
  • How many properties will be rezoned from 2 or 3 storeys to 4 storeys
  • Which height limits are discretionary and which are mandatory
  • That Glen Huntly is already the most dense suburb in Glen Eira

By way of contrast we provide the following example from a current consultation by Kingston. Whilst not brilliant, residents are at least provided with options that they can prioritise and comment upon. Also worth noting is that residents are specifically given the option of development density and scale plus the question: Please describe what need to be protected most when planning for the future of Chelsea! Questions that Glen Eira would not dare to ask because they know that the majority of residents are opposed to 10 storeys!

Countless other processes are missing whenever this council pretends to undertake community consultation. For instance:

  • No Discussion Papers outlining the pros and cons are presented
  • No background studies on traffic, parking, business, etc are done to accompany and inform the consultation

This approach is consistent in all council’s ‘consultations’ and stands in stark contrast to the way that  other councils go about involving their communities. Glen Eira does not have consultation worthy of that name. What we have is a carefully managed show where decisions are made behind closed doors and then the data or questions are skewed to find the ‘evidence’ that supports the predetermined decisions.

The following table taken directly from council’s latest version of the Open Space Strategy (OSS) says it all in terms of performance and how important this council views open space.

There are several things to note about this table:

  1. Of the fourteen suburbs listed 7 have less than 10 square metres per individual
  2. Only three suburbs have maintained the amount of public open space available to each individual, and these are the suburbs with the LEAST amount of public open space per capita (ie 3 metres).
  3. Thus Glen Eira has seen a REDUCTION of available public open space per individual over the past 6 years. Given the projected population growth, this will only get worse.

Over the past 6 years council has ‘achieved’ the following:

  • Placing a public acquisition overlay on 2 properties in Mile End Road/Mimosa Road, Carnegie. Houses still stand.
  • Purchase of old furniture store in Carnegie for $3+M in order to cater for market
  • Purchase of fully renovated property in Aileen Avenue for $2.16 and then rented out for 4 years. Also a stone’s throw from Princes Park
  • Several pocket parks. No report/evaluation as to how well used these are – ie unnamed road between Eskdale and Fitzgibbon Crescent and 500 metres from Caulfield Park

Over the past ten and a half years, council has accumulated $52m in open space levies. It has spent just over $8M on acquiring properties as NEW open space. That is basically 15%. The rest has gone into ‘improvement’ of existing open space, despite the fact that this council has identified for the past 30 odd years the need for additional open space!

Here’s the table that documents council’s accrued levy contributions. The figures are taken directly from the 2014 and 2020 open space strategies, together with data from the monthly financial reports.

FINANCIAL YEAR

REVENUE

2009/10 $1,663,000
2010/11 $1,629,000
2011/12 $2,230,000
2012/13 $1,900,000
2013/14 $2,581,000
2014/15 $3,667,000
2015/16 $5,865,000
2016/17 $7,811,000
2017/18 $10,348,000
2018/19 $7,851,000
2019/20 (Jul-April) $6,856,815
TOTAL $52,401,815

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