GE Council Meeting(s)


It literally staggers belief how often public questions remain unanswered and unchallenged by our group of councillors. Last week’s council meeting was the perfect example of a council determined to deflect, dissemble, and refuse point blank to respond accurately and transparently to resident concerns. It remains one of the most shameful incidents of recent times.

There were quite a number of questions at this meeting. We will highlight only one of the responses  in this post – (they certainly do not merit being called  ‘answers’).

QUESTION: Can Council advise what is the number of additional dwellings that are possible under the current Planning Scheme and the total dwelling capacity of Glen Eira? 

RESPONSE: There is no prescribed limit to the number of dwellings that can be provided under the provisions of the Glen Eira Planning Scheme. The Victorian Planning System is performance based, which means that every application requires analysis of its context and the application of policies and established planning principles. The planning system is designed to enable development while protecting amenity. 

As such, the total dwelling capacity of the municipality is not fixed. 

Council however monitors the number of new dwellings that have been constructed against State Government housing targets identified in Victoria in Future. Council has previously informed you that Glen Eira is on track to meet the State Government housing targets. 

COMMENT: The question was very straight forward – ie asking for the number of ‘possible’ additional dwellings given the current Planning Scheme. The response was a deft deflection through the use of the word ‘prescribed’. Yes, nothing much is ‘prescribed’ in the Planning Scheme, and ‘yes’ it is “performance based’ where each application is evaluated individually. Having said all that, what council has refused to acknowledge is that every single version of its structure planning is based on a ‘capacity’ or ‘opportunity’ analysis of the municipality’s housing.

In 2017 we got 2 versions of such documents as the  Analysis of housing consumption and opportunities. On top of this we also have: Planning Strategy Impacts on Housing Opportunity. This latter document included the sentence: Council should seek to demonstrate adequate Housing Opportunity to ensure that expected housing targets will be met. Thus available land, population, and residents per dwellings are crunched to envisage some kind of ‘capacity’ under different zonings.

Even in the documentation accompanying  the draft C184 Amendment for Bentleigh & Carnegie we also have the 2020 version from SGS entitled: Addendum: Updated Housing Assessment for Bentleigh and Carnegie Activity Centres. In short, every application for interim heights and/or structure plans has included data on the potential number of additional dwellings that can be crammed into the municipality.

Here’s a breakdown of the published data:

In October 2017, we were told that housing ‘opportunity’ was – Using various methodologies outlined previously, this report has identified opportunities within the City of Glen Eira to provide a net gain of 25,970 dwellings. At 2011-2016 rates of development, this represents approximately 36 years of supply. This figure was repeated by the authors in the December 2017 version.

What needs to be remembered is that this data was the ‘backbone’ for the introduction of the interim height amendments C147 and C148 that had discretionary 6 and 7 storeys for Carnegie and 4 mandatory and 5 discretionary for Bentleigh. With Amendment C157 (August 2018) this suddenly became 12 storeys mandatory for Carnegie. And now through proposed Amendment C184, these mandatory heights are to become discretionary, plus the removal of the mandatory garden requirement for properties proposed to be zoned GRZ5. NRZ2 will revert to pre 2004 site coverage of 60%.

What’s important is that the so called experts were telling us that with the first versions of structure planning we would achieve the potential of 25,970 net new dwellings – nearly 8000 more than required by Victoria in Future 2019. Hence, why is council prepared to accept even more and more rezoning and greater heights that destroy our neighbourhoods?

And why can’t council quote these very figures in response to a public question? Is it because they do not want residents to suddenly put one and one together and start questioning the very basis of all planning in Glen Eira? If in 2017 we had capacity for over 25000 net new dwellings, then surely we don’t need structure plans that allow developers to reach for the sky? Or is this simply another example of council’s pro-development agenda?

The refusal to provide a straight forward response to a public question, when all the data has previously been published, is inexcusable.

Council’s penchant for secrecy and burying important news in its voluminous documentation continues with the release of the July 2020 financial report contained in the agenda for the upcoming Special council meeting (8th September).

We learn that $150,000 has been spent on the purchase of 66 and 66a Mackie Road, Bentleigh East. This is a 937 square metre property, that directly abuts Mackie Reserve. The property was sold on the 20th July 2020 for $1.605M. We can only assume the $150,000 is only the deposit and that settlement had not as yet occurred to warrant entry in the July financial report.

Why is there no open and transparent statement from council as to this purchase? Why is something as important as open space buried deep with two throwaway lines in a financial report that we doubt many people would bother ploughing through? Why the secrecy once the purchase has been made?

There are many queries regarding this purchase:

  • Does this constitute a wise decision given its 500 metre proximity to Bailey Reserve and the fact that at the back of this property sits Mackie Reserve? The following map illustrates other open space areas within walking distance.

  • Is it ‘beneficial’ to simply increase the size of existing open space when countless other areas are severely open space deficient – ie major activity centres?
  • Why was this land purchased when the Open space Refresh only graded its ‘importance’ as ‘medium’. And why was the land bought prior to the recommendations of the OSS, that a master plan be created for this reserve? As far as we know, no ‘consultation’ on Mackie Reserve has been done. Here are the ‘recommendations’ of the Open Space Refresh –

The following image from Google Earth shows why we have major concerns about this purchase and whether it is really ‘value for money’. Nothing however can excuse this council’s refusal to be open and transparent with its ratepayers.

 

This is a very, very brief report on last night’s council meeting. It represents in our view one of the most shameful performances in living memory. Inconsistencies in argument abounded, as did the continuation of council policy in NEVER, but NEVER answering residents’ questions that are deemed ‘embarrassing’ to council. And God forbid that any councillor actually has the balls to criticise or even question such responses or the substandard officer reports that are continually tabled in chamber.

The true highlight is Athanasopolous’ comment that councillors should not appear to be in the ‘pockets of residents’. Esakoff and her cohort were guilty of this very thing – but only when it suited. On the one hand they supported the 9 storey development in Selwyn Street in the face of massive opposition, and then when it came to the Glen Huntly Structure Plan, the argument suddenly changed to we ‘have to listen to our residents’.

Each and every one of these councillors has failed the community time and time again. It is definitely time for change.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council will consider an application for a 9 storey building opposite the Woolworths application for a 14 and 10 storey apartment/supermarket complex. The VCAT decision on the latter is imminent.

In regards to the current application the officer recommended a permit. Please note the following:

  • The application includes provision for a maximum of 600 people attending the building at the same time. Hours will be up to 10pm on most days
  • The parking shortfall is 231 and this is considered ‘acceptable’ given the availability of public transport. There will be NO ONSITE PARKING available.
  • The height of the proposed building is equivalent to what the Woolworth’s proposal is
  • Overshadowing and overlooking is ‘acceptable’ according to the report because this is an ‘activity centre’ and hence can’t have the same safeguards

The one sentence in this entire unbelievable report which is completely insulting and dismissive to residents and objectors reads:  Each of these matters (ie objections) have been considered in this report and there are no outstanding objector concerns to consider.

Our take on this report is that resident objections have NOT BEEN considered in any meaningful way. The entire report is designed to justify the unjustifiable. We do not deny the importance of a Jewish cultural precinct, nor the fact that both state and federal governments have provided millions to ensure this happens. What we do object to strongly is the failure to assess this application on pure planning matters and current council policies.

For starters the actual permit conditions concentrate almost exclusively on what most residents would regard as ‘minor’ compared to size, bulk, and traffic management issues. We get pages and pages about preserving the Kuldig stained glass windows and the bass relief. Pages and pages about ‘updated’ traffic and acoustic reports – but only after development has already been done! Of course there is the usual Construction Management conditions but hardly a word about setbacks, heights, etc. All of the latter remain ‘acceptable’ in this report.

Much is made of the current interim structure plan and the Design and Development Overlay No.10. Yet in this report basic features are easily pushed aside. For example: on street wall height the DDO requires 13 metres and upper level setbacks of 5 metres. The application is for A four storey, 17.39m high street wall is proposed along the Selwyn Street frontage. In determining that this is okay, we get this gem:

Whilst this is higher than that envisaged by the DDO, it is consistent with the recently approved street wall height of the Holocaust Centre immediately to the north at number 13-15 Selwyn Street. 

In the first place council granted the 13-15 Selwyn Street permit in June 2018. Amendment C157 was gazetted in 16th August 2018. That is two months after council granted the permit. Hence there was no DDO at the time of this decision. Also worthy of noting is that council’s structure plan had already been accepted with a three storey street wall height in February of 2018. Council’s incompetence at that time in ignoring its own structure plan and Quality Design Guidelines therefore paves the way for this application to get the nod and the pathetic argument is that because one building has a four storey street front it is okay for the entire street to look like this – ie. the podium is acceptable and will provide a consistent street wall character. 

We next come to the issue of overall height and again the variance with the current DDO –

The roof height complies with the DDO, whilst the architectural feature that serves to screen and integrate the plant equipment extends more than 4m above that the preferred height. It is important to recognise that the architectural feature is curved, so its encroachment is softened. It is considered that the curved design of this feature is an important design element as it not only serves to screen the plant equipment, but also adds visual interest and a more sculpture look to the tower 

Does this mean that anything that is of ‘visual interest’ or ‘curved’ can attain any height the developer wants – in spite of what planning law states?

One of the most questionable ‘conditions’ comes with the issue of overlooking. Instead of requiring the developer to alter his plans, council comes up with the following ‘solution’ –

To limit overlooking impacts from these areas, expanded metal mesh cladding is proposed to cover the entire windows of these areas. The cladding will only be 23 per cent visually permeable. This affords a higher degree of protection than if the Clause 55 overlooking standard was applied. 

So we get to the ludicrous situation that where ‘convenient’ for the developer, Clause 55 does come into play and is ‘improved’ upon – even though it carried no real weight given the proposed height.

The best part is the finding that a car parking waiver of 231 spots is just fine! Why? –

The proposal generates a requirement for 231 car parking spaces and 17 bicycle parking spaces based on the Scheme requirements. No car parking is provided as this is not achievable on this land due to both the shape and size of the lot, however 40 bicycle parking spaces are provided.  

And

It is recognized that there are no options for providing any on-site parking and this must be balanced with the broader benefit of the building. 

Really? So local residents are nothing more than ‘collateral damage’????!!!!!!! And since when are there ‘no options’. There are no ‘options’ only when it doesn’t suit council and the developer and the objective is to have a 9 storey building! 

Apart from this nonsense we also have to take the word of transport assessments that state:

Car parking surveys of the area demonstrate that throughout the day there are at least 100 spaces available with typical occupancy rates of approximately 20% at the busiest times which increases to approximately 50% outside of peak times. 

Even if this were true, it does not include the resultant traffic and parking issues created by the Woolworths development and the potential supermarket traffic and that of 173 apartments in the complex. More importantly, since this application wants attendances until 10pm at night then the argument about other developments wanting ‘long term car parking’ spots goes out the window. How many visitors attending a function until 10pm that starts at say 7pm will want to travel home by public transport – especially the elderly?

Basic questions have simply not been addressed or brushed under the carpet. The so called developer’s answer to traffic and parking includes a majority of ‘promote’ options with no empirical evidence provided that these have a chance in hell to be successful.

All in all, this is a deplorable officer’s report and should be condemned for what it really is – an excuse to give the developer everything he wants. This council is simply going from bad to worse in order to facilitate its pro development agenda!

The following video comes from the August 5th Kingston Council Meeting. We suggest that this video be mandatory viewing for all residents and especially our Glen Eira councillors. Why? Because it reveals in full glorious technicolour a group of councillors who are prepared to support their community and not shake their heads and say it is the government’s fault.

The video features the debate on a vital planning document – Kingston’s Housing Strategy and how they want their city zoned. Time and again we hear the majority of councillors stating clearly that they have to listen to their community; that they want the time lines extended past the election period, and that they want 78% of their municipality zoned as neighbourhood residential (2 storeys).

You can view the entire council meeting VIA THIS LINK: http://stream.kingston.vic.gov.au/archive/video20-0805.php

In case residents do not have the time, here are some quotes from what each councillor did state:

WEST: ‘no one who is currently in a 2 storey area would find themselves pushed into a 3 storey area’…..99.6% (of submissions) opposed the council strategy….if we want to preserve the neighbourhood character of those areas (ie 2 storeys and gardens)….

GLEDHILL: I have had problems for some time where we are going with this…..this comes down to what do the people that I represent , what do they want…..overwhelmingly they have told me …that there are aspects of this plan that they do not want…..

HUA: No three storeys in our suburban streets…..

STAIKOS: We are saying tonight that Kingston council is going to put forward a plan that is in line with community expectations…..

BROWNLEES: community expectations and the view of the department…..I know we would always like to agree with what residents want….we have virtually ignored what experts have said…..we will get advice back that it’s unreasonable, unworkable, unpractical…..

OXLEY: we all know this may be a bit of a gamble and we may not get approval from the department, but we’ve got to try…..we’ve got to listen to our residents….

WEST: this is clearly what our people want…..we have the opportunity to put out something wonderful, something that our community actually wants….what we have seen tonight is people power at its best in action….and that the government will respect us with speaking in this strong voice.

VOTE: 8 IN FAVOUR; ONE AGAINST AND ONE ABSTAINED

Contrast this with what Glen Eira residents repeatedly hear – “it is the government’s fault’.

Amendment C184 is an abomination because:

  • It totally ignores community views
  • It provides no justification for the changes
  • Council is already exceeding its projected housing needs
  • And something as important as this should not be rammed through by this council

Until our 9 councillors understand that their job is to represent the community first and foremost, then Glen Eira will continue to have poor governance, poor accountability, and lousy planning decisions.

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.

 

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!

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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

With each step in this process it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Virginia Estate project is Council’s gift to the developers with very little consideration to local residents and the wider community.

Admittedly the Panel report largely supports everything that the developers wanted. This however does not obviate councillors’ responsibility to their constituents in fighting tooth and nail for a far more equitable outcome. The officer’s recommendations fail to do so and we certainly have little confidence that these 9 councillors will have the gumption to oppose the final recommendations!

Here’s a brief summary of council’s proposed concessions:

  • Prior to the Planning Panel councillors voted to insist on mandatory height provisions for all areas. This has now become ‘discretionary’. Thus 8 storeys could quite conceivably become 10 or even higher for the majority of the site.
  • Council also decided prior to the Planning Panel that 3000 dwellings be seen as a ‘hard cap’ (ie mandatory). This has now been changed to a ‘soft cap’ meaning that there is the real possibility that by project’s end we could have over 4000+ dwellings. A replica of what has happened with Caulfield Village where that incorporated plan states a figure of 1100-1200 dwellings. By the time this is completed, the total number will exceed 2200. Literally double the amount agreed upon.
  • Council also wanted mandatory overshadowing protection for all the site’s proposed parks including Virginia and Marlborough Parks. This has now become nothing more than a ‘guideline’ for the latter two. Given that there has also been an increase from 3 to 4 storeys abutting one of these parks, then the probability of greater overshadowing increases.
  • Council has also agreed to the narrowing of the originally decided upon road widths within the project site. Since flooding is a major issue and the width of the roadways were originally supposed to be necessary to cater for the overflow and drainage capacity, this could end up being a disastrous decision. With narrower roads we also have to ponder whether this means more land for the owners to develop?
  • Another major concession agreed to by council is the removal of several traffic infrastructure items that were initially deemed essential by both the VPA, and council. The developers are surely laughing all the way to the bank given that their contribution has now become $48+ million instead of the original sum of $64+ million. On top of this windfall we must not forget to include the State Government’s purchase of 1.2 hectares of land for the new McKinnon High campus. No detail has been provided by the government as to how much this purchase cost. We can only guess that it would certainly be well over $4m – and that is a conservative figure no doubt.
  • Adding insult to injury is the fact that the calculations provided still state that the site is 24+ hectares in size. Why isn’t the 1.2 hectare site removed from this calculation? Especially since the traffic estimates DO NOT INCLUDE the traffic generated by the school in any of its final numbers.
  • When one looks at the open space calculations we find that only 8.33% is considered as ‘open space’ and that includes a calculation based on 24+ hectares. Only when the neat sleight of hand is applied to calculate percentages according to Net Developable Area,(instead of total site area) do we come anywhere near a 10% return.
  • Council also is in agreement with the loss of parking for residents along East Boundary Road to accommodate the installation of traffic lights not where originally deemed necessary.

There are a myriad of questions that residents should be asking of their councillors, namely:

  • Why can Hobson’s Bay have 3000 dwellings on a site that is 67 hectares and Glen Eira thought that 3000 dwellings on a site of 24 hectares should also accommodate this same number?
  • Why can Hobson’s Bay have a density quotient for each hectare and this isn’t even considered by our council?
  • Why should nearly 3 potential hectares of this site (ie along North Road) only be charged the minimal 5.7% open space levy?

As stated previously, we do not expect that our  very compliant councillors will reject the officer’s recommendations. We will undoubtedly get more scape goating about government, about population growth, about ‘consensus’, whilst the missing ingredient in all of this discussion will be the tremendous impact on East Bentleigh residents and the municipality as a whole.

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.

Next Page »