GE Consultation/Communication


There is absolutely no way that last night’s webinar could be construed as ‘consultation’. It was nothing more than an officer talk fest, carefully designed to limit community participation and for this administration to fully control every aspect. We elaborate:

  1. The only voices (and faces) that were seen and heard, were those of the four officers in attendance and the facilitator
  2. The number of participants was not revealed and nor could they read out their questions.
  3. Questions contributed during the evening only went to the officers and were not revealed to participants. We have no idea how many questions were submitted.
  4. Many of the questions were paraphrased by Torres, rather than read out verbatim
  5. Responses were general and more than half did not specifically answer the question. For example, the rationale for height increases was simply put down to ‘urban design’ recommendations. Responses on ‘sustainability’ were frankly abysmal.
  6. Specifics were totally absent – ie no mention of the removal of the garden requirement; no mention of the proposed new nrz which would increase site coverage, reduce setbacks, etc.
  7. Responses to questions submitted prior to the evening lasted precisely 13 minutes. We then had another 13 minutes of ward ‘explanations’ that again refused to mention the most important aspects of the proposed changes.

More disappointing is that only four councillors were announced as being present – Esakoff, Magee, Szmood and Zyngier – although they could not be seen and nor were they given the opportunity to say anything.

What happened last night is nothing short of disgraceful. We would even go as far as stating that there has literally been NO CONSULTATION whatsoever on the housing strategy. When residents are denied the opportunity to speak, to hear/or read what other residents think, and to be continually fobbed off with double speak and weasel words, this is the opposite of ‘consultation’. At best, this was nothing more than another ‘information’ evening – and even that failed to reveal the full facts to participants. Providing skewed and misleading information is NOT consultation. At no point in anything that has happened thus far have residents been asked the most important question that genuinely seeks their views – namely:

  • What do you think of our proposed changes to zones, garden requirements, sustainability, etc?

For those readers who wish to hear what occurred last night we have uploaded the full audio. The audio starts after about 40 seconds. Apologies for the quality of the sound. Council couldn’t even get this right it seems!

Also worth mentioning that the evening finished 10 minutes early.  Does this mean that all questions were dealt with, or it was simply decided to cut the evening short?

PS: BY WAY OF CONTRAST HERE IS WHAT KINGSTON COUNCIL DID IN TERMS OF CONSULTATION WITH THEIR COMMUNITY.

Source: https://www.kingston.vic.gov.au/Property-and-Development/Planning-for-our-future/Housing-Strategy-and-Neighbourhood-Character-Study

Council has now provided the Zoom link for tomorrow nights Housing Strategy Webinar. They have also included an agenda, presented below.

Judging by the published agenda, ‘presentations’ by officers will dominate most of the 90 minute scheduled meeting. Unacceptable!!!!!!!

Furthermore, why is the program divided into wards? Does this mean that comments made by Tucker Ward residents will not be admissable if the program is at the Rosstown ward section? Again, unacceptable!!!!!!

Furthermore, a Housing Strategy, is NOT about wards. It is about the entire municipality, and the principles embedded in the strategy that will shape land use. For example: the general residential zoning exists in all wards. What if some residents wish to comment on the proposed removal of the mandatory garden requirement, as a concept, and not necessarily how it relates to either Rosstown, Tucker, or Camden? Will they be told ‘this isn’t a question’ as stated in the agenda?

All in all, the deliberate and calculated machinations of this council to avoid anything resembling genuine consultation is quite literally unbelievable. Either those in charge have no idea of what consultation means, or they are simply doing everything possible to negate and undermine the expected flood of negative responses. But, and a big but, the URL is now available. We again urge all residents to log on and to tell this council administration, planners, and some councillors, exactly what they think of their strategic planning and continued failure to represent community views.

Criticism after criticism has for ages now been directed at council’s ‘consultation’ methods. Countless comments have highlighted:

  • The failure to incorporate, or even acknowledge resident feedback in officer reports
  • The absence of Discussion Papers that provide a complete and accurate overview of what is proposed in an accessible, short summary format. Instead residents are expected to plough through hundreds upon hundreds of pages instead of simply being told: this is what we are planning to introduce.
  • Survey questions that are anything but open ended or are geared to gaining genuine and relevant feedback
  • Drop in sessions that are mostly set down for times that are unsuitable for many residents.
  • The failure to implement councillor resolutions – ie on the Housing Strategy both councillors and the Consultation Committee were to be part of vetting the survey questions. We have been informed that the Consultation committee received the draft questions late Friday afternoon and were told to provide feedback by the coming Sunday. In order to provide any decent feedback, this meant that the committee members had to have read 589 pages of associated documentation – all on a weekend! We doubt that any changes occurred as a result of any feedback that did come in.

Adding further insult to injury, this coming Thursday, (24th March @ 6.30-8pm) council has scheduled a ‘webinar’ on the Housing Strategy. Registration is essential. The blurb states: Our independently-facilitated webinar will include a presentation by our planning officers, followed by a Q&A session. What this actually means is:

  • Probably one third to half of the 90 minutes will be taken up by officers
  • A Q & A session is not designed to hear what residents really think. It would come under the rubric of an ‘information session’ and not a ‘feedback session’.
  • In the past very few councillors attended. Will this be the same on Thursday?
  • For the past few ‘webinars’ residents were unable to copy items from the chat feature. This must be changed so that all attendees can see and respond to what others have said.

If council is really serious in receiving feedback from its residents then the following should happen:

  • No officer introductions. Immediate hand over to residents to state their views on various aspects of the Housing Strategy.
  • No registration required. If someone wants to log in at any stage they should be able to do so.
  • The evening be recorded and uploaded on council’s website for all to see/listen
  • Full zoom features to be available to all participants.
  • Councillors free to comment without being gagged.

For too many years now, this council has been allowed to get away with a ‘tick the box’ consultation methodology, that is anything but genuine consultation.  If residents, and councillors, really care about what is happening to the municipality, then it is vital that resident voices are heard loudly and clearly. Please attend this Thursday evening.

PS: We’ve just received the following from Save Glen Eira which is being distributed to all streets impacted by the proposed changes in the Housing Strategy.

PPS: please have a read and listen to the following. Another example of the depths this council can stoop to. Remember that twice this application was unanimously rejected. Now decisions are made in secret by what constitutes a minority of councillors.

The following audio is from last night’s council meeting where one resident addressed council basically telling them how inadequate strategic planning has been and the consistent refusal to incorporate years of community feedback into the draft housing strategy. Please listen carefully:

It is vitally important that residents have a clear understanding of the various ramifications of the proposed Housing Strategy and its associated documents. Council has acknowledged that approximately 11,000 current sites are in the firing line for various changes. Making matters worse is that areas currently zoned as General Residential Zone (3 storeys) or Residential Growth Zone (4 storeys) will basically remain unchanged – unless they include precincts with a heritage overlay. Only a handful of properties are mooted to have lower height requirements. The vast majority of these changes include:

  • Currently zoned properties in NRZ (2 storeys) will become available for 3 storeys and some 4 storeys
  • Currently zoned properties in GRZ (3 storeys) will have the mandatory garden requirement removed, setbacks removed, open space reduced
  • Currently zoned properties in NRZ (2 storeys) will have increased site coverage allowed; permeability requirements reduced, rear setbacks removed.

The stated justification for these changes are at best dubious, and at worst, statistically unjustified. We are told that the municipality has capacity for 50,000 new dwellings. All we ‘require’ according to population projections out to 2036 are 13,000. If this is indeed the case, then what is proposed is not only unnecessary, but will further destroy our suburbs and amenity.

The Council Argument

Despite our capacity for 50,000 new dwellings, council argues that what is missing are smaller ‘townhouses’ and ‘villa units’ (or medium density housing). This they believe will result in cheaper housing options, and hence all the proposed changes.

Here are some quotes taken directly from the last council agenda which state:

Under the existing policy settings, there will not be an adequate provision of medium density dwellings (small townhouses and villa units, whether attached or not) to meet the needs of the households anticipated to be seeking them. (page 173)

Current policy settings support the development of large side-by-side dual occupancy development across a large proportion of the municipality but does not support the development of more than two dwellings (units or townhouses) on a lot on the vast majority of sites. (page 177)

The research for the housing strategy indicated that policy should allow for more units and small townhouses to be constructed to meet the community’s needs for diverse housing and at a range of prices.(p.180)

COMMENT

Council’s planning scheme has always allowed more than two dwellings per lot in the NRZ zones – provided that site was greater than ‘conventionally sized lots’ and larger than its immediate neighbours. Wynne’s introduction of Amendment VC110 in 2017 simply reinforced this by removing the 2 dwellings per lot condition from all NRZ zoned sites in the state. Yes, it is true, that most NRZ developments are for side by side townhouses – but not exclusively. We have had apartment blocks built in NRZ in the past. This is continuing today and there is no guarantee that these will be cheaper or even smaller. Here is a list of some of the sites which have had more than 2 dwellings granted a permit. All are in the NRZ zone.

239 Kooyong road, Elsternwick – 3 double storeys (1013 square metres)

35 Brett Street, Murrumbeena – 3 double storeys (667 square metres)

19 Fosbery Avenue, Caulfield North – double storey building with 3 dwellings (897 square metres)

39 Amelia Street, McKinnon – 3 double storeys (699 square metres)

24 royal avenue, glen huntly – 3 double storeys (761 square metres)

456 Glen Eira road, Caulfield – 5 double storeys (1055 square metres)

5 Porter Road, Carnegie – 4 double storeys (permit issued by consent) – (880 square metres)

45 North Avenue, Bentleigh – 3 double storeys (556 square metres)

613 Warrigal Road, Bentleigh East – 3 double storeys (766 square metres)

7-9 St James Avenue BENTLEIGH – 7 double storeys (1876 square metres)

46 Orrong Road ELSTERNWICK – 4 dwellings (697 square metres)

50 railway Crescent, Bentleigh – 4 double storeys (313 square metres)

1 Riddell Parade ELSTERNWICK – 3 double storeys (

2 Shanahan Crescent, McKinnon – 3 double storeys  (791 square metres)

743-745 South Road Bentleigh East – 7 double storeys (1400 square metres)

11 Nina Court BENTLEIGH EAST – 4 double storeys (735 square metres)

304-306 Koornang Road CARNEGIE – 6 attached dwellings (742 square metres)

15 Leamington Crescent CAULFIELD EAST – 3 double storeys (846 square metres)

17 Leila Road ORMOND – 3 double storeys – (968 square metres)

16 McKittrick Road BENTLEIGH – 3 double storeys (700 square metres)

Council even acknowledges that they have absolutely no ability to determine what is built where. So how does all the above hype about ‘smaller townhouses’ hold up to reality? If a developer wants to, he can build whatever style of housing he/she wants. We quote from council agendas where this is clearly stated:

DELWP has advised that the residential zones cannot dictate what type / form of housing is acceptable in each location. A clear message from the State Government in releasing Planning Practice Note 90 and 91,is that Council’s housing strategy cannot be based on preferred building typologies (agenda 4th February 2020, page 234)

Councils cannot prescribe preferred housing typologies. All residential zones allow for any type of housing typology. Built form requirements within the zone schedules (e.g.: heights and setbacks), may result in some forms of housing typology being more likely in particular zones, however ALL residential zones are deemed to allow for any form of housing, including detached dwellings, medium density dwellings, townhouses and apartments. (agenda 4th February, 2020 – page 397)

DELWP has advised that some of the content in the existing Minimal Change Area Policy cannot be translated into the new scheme. This includes the policies for one or two dwellings only, and identifying preferred housing typologies of single dwellings or multi dwellings under specified circumstances. Both these policies do not align with State housing policy and will not be permitted in the new scheme. (agenda 19th December, 2019 (page 92)

More telling of course, is if council really wants ‘smaller townhouses’, then how does rezoning streets to 4 storeys achieve this? No developer is going to build 4 storey townhouses! What will happen is 4 storey apartment blocks of basically one and two bedroom developments – akin to what has happened in all RGZ zones thus far.

COUNCIL’S CONTRADICTIONS

Council recently provided input on the State Government’s Land Framework Plans. Their submission included the following comments:

Direction 5 – Prioritise housing growth in areas with access to jobs, services and good public transport

This Direction refers to opportunities for new medium and higher density housing to be considered within an 800 metre walkable catchment of activity centres. This is not supported. Many of Glen Eira activity centres are linear and relate better to a 400 metre walkable distance at the most. A radial measurement is not appropriate and opportunities for new housing should be considered at the local level, through structure plans, where the community is involved. (Agenda: 3rd November, 2021 – Page 551)

The draft Housing Strategy has clearly forgotten this position in that plenty of streets are set to be rezoned or have the requirements reduced and are certainly 800 metres or more from the commercial areas of the activity centre. Some streets are not even in cooee of an activity centre!

Finally, what would seem to undermine completely everything that council has put into its Housing Strategy is the following sentence taken from the Capacity Analysis itself –

The GRZ zones have relatively high average development densities, as most developments in this zone are three storey apartment building rather than townhouse or villa developments. (Capacity Analysis – Attachment 4 – page 48 – agenda 22/2/2022)

So, on the one hand we are being told that we have enough high density development and require smaller townhouses of ‘medium density’. Council’s ‘solution’ is to rezone hundreds upon hundreds of streets to three storey where all we are likely is more of what we allegedly could do without!

This isn’t a housing strategy. It is a disaster that totally ignores residential amenity, environmental impacts, and overall density. Enough is enough. Make your voices heard, loudly and clearly!

If you happen to live in any of the sites highlighted in the light blue, then beware! Council has earmarked these sites as Substantial Change Area 1. This means:

  • You will go from a 2 storey mandatory height to 3 storeys
  • The mandatory garden requirement ranging from 25% to 35% of land size will be removed
  • Rear setbacks will in all likelihood also be removed.
  • Retention of trees will only be ‘encouraged’ where ‘practical’

As for the commercial sites themselves, these will also be changed to greater heights if the following, taken from the Housing Capacity Analysis (page 52) is any guide –

Bentleigh is thus in the firing line for major changes that in our view will do nothing except impact incredibly on residential amenity, on the environment, and on issues such as parking and traffic. We repeat ourselves, but given that we have capacity for 50,000 dwellings and only require 13,000 until 2036, it is simply unconscionable for this council to even contemplate further ruin of our suburbs.

Readers may also remember that over the past few years council conceded that the Residential Zones introduced in 2013 were inadequate on several levels – ie heritage properties were included in the Residential Growth Zone (4 storeys) and many streets had multiple zonings which simply didn’t make sense. Well, given the above mooted zonings, it doesn’t appear as if council has learnt from its past mistakes. Take Whitmuir Street for example. Only half of this street is to be rezoned. Why? Especially when this proposed rezoning includes about 24 houses on both sides of the street and all are either single or double storey. There are 2 blocks of flats (one of 9 apartments and two storey) and another contains villa units. The street itself is narrow making it impossible to pass if there are parked cars.

We have visited this street and taken the photographs at the end of this post. Many are beautiful Californian bungalows that if anything, should be under a heritage overlay, and not offered as fodder to developers. Even more disheartening is that we have not been provided with any valid justification as to why streets like Whitmuir are on the chopping block. Remember Bent Street that is now a canyon of apartment blocks? The same could happen to Whitmuir!

We urge all residents, and especially those who reside in these targeted sites, to write to councillors with their views as well as commenting on the so-called ‘consultation’ from the Have Your Say website. Things will only change with massive community opposition. Make your voices heard!

Here is what most of Whitmuir Street looks like!

It is becoming clearer and clearer that council’s interpretation of ‘consultation’ is to provide as little succinct information as possible and to create survey questions that lead nowhere. Instead we are given spin, and more spin, that undoubtedly cost quite a bit to produce.

In this post we will focus on the supposed ‘consultation’ for the Caulfield Station Structure Plan. Unless residents are prepared to undertake at least an few hours of solid reading, they would have absolutely no idea that the recommendations include:

  1. Discretionary heights everywhere ranging up to 25 storeys and most will be 12 storeys
  2. The anticipated number of final dwellings will be in the order of 3,600 to 4,400.
  3. There is the acknowledgement that the overwhelming majority of these apartments will contain one and two bedrooms only.
  4. Heritage along Derby Road will have a discretionary height limit of 8 storeys.

What we do have is an 11 page ‘summary brochure’ that reveals practically nothing of the above. We maintain that this document is nothing more than an exercise in camouflage and public relations. It is a wonderful example of how not to consult with your community – that is, if you really want them to be informed and to provide considered and valuable feedback.

Let’s take the example of Derby Road, which is covered by a heritage overlay as depicted below.

The ‘summary brochure’ describes the plans for this sector as: Character and Scale: Higher built form demonstrating design excellence and reflecting the Precinct’s role as a gateway to the Centre but also respecting the heritage character of Derby Road. Of course, no mention here of the anticipated height limit!

Even worse, is the following image meant to depict what Derby Road will look like –

We ask:

Is it sheer coincidence that no 8 storey building is visible. There is the intimation of greater height but this is conveniently hidden behind a tree!!! This isn’t a depiction of what will occur – it is an attempt to hide all unpleasant truths as much as possible and hence delude the unsuspecting respondent(s) to the survey!

The actual survey questions themselves fair little better – especially when the majority of responses available are ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘neither agree or disagree’, ‘disagree’ and ‘strongly disagree’. This might be okay, if the actual questions were open ended, informative, and valid. They are not. For the Derby Road question we get this blurb:

The draft Caulfield Structure Plan suggests the Derby Road precinct has potential to be a lifestyle destination, with a revitalised street, increased outdoor dining opportunities and improved public transport stops. This would be supported by some taller built form that would be designed to respect the valued heritage streetscape.

The question following this bit of public relations propaganda reads: To what extent do you agree with this measure to revitalise this part of the structure plan area while respecting the heritage streetscape? The answers should be as listed above – ie ‘strongly agree’, etc.

The remaining questions are of the same ilk – vague, non-defined, and straight out of some political spin department! Nothing is broken down to be able to validate the various aspects of the proposals. People may be in favour of outdoor dining, but opposed to an 8 storey height limit. How are any answers to this question then interpreted and do they actually reveal anything about resident views – and that’s assuming that respondents have read the voluminous documentation PRIOR to answering the survey.

What this and the Housing Strategy ‘consultation’ foists on residents is anything but genuine consultation. Once again we see a process that leads nowhere, except to the already predetermined outcomes.

PS: We forgot to mention this sublime irony or perhaps even contradiction. Much of the rationale behind council’s Housing Strategy is that there is a requirement for more medium density especially in the form of smaller townhouses. Yet, they seem quite prepared to accept over 4000 single and two bedroom apartments in this precinct. Out of the 1100+ apartments already built, or nearing completion, for Precincts 1 and 2 of Caulfield Village, there are only 30+ 3 bedroom apartments. So, how can you argue for more medium density townhouses on the one hand and allow potentially the largest development in the municipality to consist of everything we’ve been told does not constitute ‘medium density’ and therefore does not meet the requisite needs of our growing population?

When vitally important decisions are being made, we believe it is incumbent on councillors to proffer statements that are accurate. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but espousing unfounded views and presenting them as ‘facts’ is unacceptable. Even if ignorance is partly to blame for such announcements, it does not absolve councillors from their duty of proper oversight.  Their role is to analyse, question, and provide a rationale that will stand up to full scrutiny. This has not been done – especially at the last council meeting.

Two important items were presented at the last council meeting – the draft Housing Strategy and the Caulfield Station Structure Plan. Both items have the potential to dramatically change residential amenity and the environment in Glen Eira and thus affect every resident.

In regard to the Caulfield Structure Plan the draft proposes one height of 25 storeys, and for the MRC freehold land 12 storeys. All heights are discretionary rather than mandatory which of course means that they could ultimately be higher! No urban design evidence, nor overshadowing impacts were provided for this item. Even in the heritage precinct of Derby Road, the proposal is for a discretionary 8 storey limit. This of course begs the question as to why other heritage commercial zones in Bentleigh, Elsternwick and Carnegie were allocated a mandatory four storey height limit. Are we to assume that some areas are more ‘heritage worthy’ than others?

We take particular issue with some of the comments made by Athanasopolous and Zyngier as outlined below:

ATHANASOPOLOUS:  on the issue of heights in commercial areas this councillor argued that Glen Eira has little chance of achieving mandatory controls in commercially zoned land and certainly not in areas zoned Activity Centre Zone. Conclusion? – that discretionary heights are better than nothing – thus absolving council for even trying! He went on to challenge anyone to come up with ‘evidence’ that this was not the case when he stated that people: Can’t come up with where mandatory controls have been given for 12 storeys in an activity centre structure plan. People can’t even provide that evidence.

ZYNGIER: basically reiterated this line of argument and said that council has no control over commercial zones.

Both statements are factually incorrect! Other councils have been successful in acquiring mandatory height limits for their commercial strips and are nowhere near 25 storeys as proposed in this draft structure plan. Whilst it is true that ultimately the Minister must sign off on such amendments, the primary question should be: WHY HAVE THESE OTHER COUNCILS BEEN SUCCESSFUL? Clearly councils do have ‘control’ over what they propose and what they pursue or are willing to accept. In Glen Eira, we start from the proposition that worse could be imposed so let’s go for 25 storeys as a starter!

We have taken the time and trouble to go through gazetted amendments from other councils which have all had mandatory height controls enacted in their precincts. All of these are well within the 10 year limit that Athanasopolous asked for. They even include some Activity Centre Zones, where none of the heights come close to what Glen Eira is asking for.

Please consider the following table carefully and then reflect on Glen Eira’s approach and the validity of what some councillors espouse.

As we stated in our previous post, the lack of detailed analyses by those councillors who endorsed the housing strategy is simply mind boggling. Not one of them mentioned or analysed any of the following:

  • Land capacity out to 2036 estimates that the municipality has scope (available land) for  50,000 net new dwellings. Housing projections state that all we need are approximately 13,000.
  • They simply accepted the assumption that more dwellings means greater affordability.
  • Removing the mandatory garden requirement will be ‘compensated’ by the landscape requirements – which of course aren’t specified in any document. All that we have is waffle and generalisations.
  • How increasing site coverage in the NRZ will ‘fit in’ with the climate emergency, urban forest strategy, etc.

By way of contrast, the best summation on the evening came from Esakoff. We have uploaded her statements and urge all residents to listen and consider what this means.

To further illustrate what is in store, here is part of the Housing Framework Plan. We’ve chosen the GRZ areas in East Bentleigh. All the streets presented in the darker orange now find themselves in the Substantial Change Area 2. This means: no mandatory garden requirement; tree canopy retention only where ‘practical’; reduction of rear setbacks and potentially lessening of onsite parking requirements. In other words, cramming more and more into these sites.

Finally, Athanasopolous cited the changes as only impacting a ‘small’ amount of properties. A public question asked on Tuesday night provided the answers as to the number of sites that will be affected by these proposals. In the GRZ Substantial Change Area 1 the answer provided was 7,624! The sites impacted in NRZ were said to be 3,075. That’s a grand total of 10,699 that will be severely impacted by the proposed changes. Glen Eira currently has 65,000 residential properties, but far less sites – since many are multi-storey containing many apartments. This is also true for the current dwelling proportion in GRZ but at a lower scale than the commercial areas. Even accepting this, we still estimate that roughly 15 to 20% of Glen Eira residents will face potential developments without the necessary strategic justification. Furthermore, if we assume that only 10% of these 10,000+ sites will increase their net dwellings by one (ie from 2 dwellings to 3 dwellings) that equates to another net 1000 plus dwellings. This is of course a very conservative estimate since the prognostications for ‘take up’ far exceed 10% and the likelihood of only a one net dwelling increase is again highly conservative. These proposed changes alone could deliver thousands upon thousands of net new dwellings with absolutely no guarantee that they will be cheaper, will assist in increasing our tree canopy, or assist in fighting climate change.

These figures also need to be seen in the context of what else is planned for Glen Eira. We should add in another 3000 at least for East Village, another 4000 under the Caulfield Station structure plan as stated in the Charter housing analysis. None of these account for what else might be in the pipeline throughout Glen Eira.

The pro-development agenda of these 5 councillors and this administration is continuing to destroy this municipality!

Our plaudits must go to Esakoff, Parasol, Cade and Szmood following last night’s council meeting. These are the four councillors who voted AGAINST the current draft Housing Strategy and highlighted the issues that were unacceptable with what was being proposed. Sadly, the pro-development lobby (aka, Athanasopolous, Magee, Zyngier, Pilling and Zhang) carried the vote 5 to 4.

It’s not simply that the latter voted in favour of putting the housing strategy out for consultation. It is that their arguments in favour of the draft were superficial, misleading, inaccurate, and deliberately avoided mention of the most contentious aspects of the draft. All of this leads us to question whether any of these 5 councillors actually bothered to read the relevant 589 pages. We doubt it!

Cr Zyngier didn’t even utter one single word about the CONTENT of the draft or its recommendations. His focus was improving ‘consultation’ recommendations. All terrific, but how about an analysis of what is being proposed and commenting on those things in order to provide residents with the rationale behind the vote? Magee of course used the old heart strings ploy of ‘where will my children live’ totally ignoring the fact that the consultants provided their estimates of an existing land capacity for 50,000 net new dwellings when our projected housing needs were 13,000 by 2036. Pilling and Zhang merely mumbled their way through the obvious – again without once mentioning the potential negatives.

Athanasopolous was the major culprit. Either he has never bothered to read the Glen Eira planning scheme in order to understand what is currently permitted in NRZ zones, or he follows the strategy of never let the truth interfere and derail the spin. We will provide an indepth commentary on his efforts in our next post. At best, they displayed sheer ignorance. At worst they were deliberate attempts at deception and camouflage.

In contrast, the opposing councillors highlighted the actual detail contained in the draft and the impacts these proposals would have on residents and their amenity in the years to come. They also questioned the underlying assumption and justification for the proposed rezonings and schedule changes  – ie build more and there would magically be housing affordability!

When something as important as this document is up for decision it is incumbent that all councillors consider the full implications. Residents need to hear the reasoning behind the votes. They need to be convinced that something which is going to affect their lives has been given due consideration and is not a vote that follows any state or federal political party agenda. Most importantly, they need to be convinced that councillors have actually read what has been put in front of them and questioned vigorously the data, the conclusions, and the assumptions. This we maintain was not done by the 5 councillors in question.

Watch this space for a detailed analyses of what happened last night.

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