GE Service Performance


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.

Council has finally released its draft Housing Strategy. The proposals will impact hundreds upon hundreds (if not thousands) of residents – without the necessary justification or evidence. Why do we think so?

  1. The various documents state over and over again that Glen Eira has the land CAPACITY to meet our projected housing needs of roughly 13,000 net new dwellings by 2036. If this is the case, then why do we need to rezone and facilitate more and more development?
  2. Much of the data provided is highly tenuous and conflicts with both Victoria in Future prognostications, as well as the Bureau of Statistics data.
  3. The assumption that building more and more will reduce prices is a fallacy and there is plenty of published evidence that would refute, or at least challenge this claim.
  4. Council has an Urban Forest Strategy, a declining tree canopy,  and a Climate Emergency policy, yet paradoxically is prepared to reduce setbacks, remove mandatory garden and parking requirements, and tellingly, instead of attempting to reduce the height island effect, council is prepared to reduce permeability so that more dwellings can occupy certain sites.
  5. Our conclusion is that this Housing Strategy is Amendment C184 in disguise – except that it will now extend to all of the municipality instead of only Bentleigh and Carnegie.

The important detail is presented below.

What the above implies about the potential zoning and schedule changes are:

  • Currently land zoned NRZ has a 50% site coverage, a 25% permeability requirement and a 4 metre rear setback. The above screen dump makes it clear that the new NRZ zone will in all probability become 60% site coverage, 20% permeability, and a removal of the 4 metre setback entirely.
  • The current GRZ zoning allows an 11 metre height maximum plus various setbacks for the upper second and third level of the buildings. There is also a mandatory garden requirement of 25% to 35% depending on the size of the property. Again, council is proposing to remove this so once again we can have more development on the site. Rear setbacks are also likely to go.

Council has provided the following map that is now the Framework Plan. Surely far more detail could have been provided such as clear differentiation of colours rather than what is shown as gradations of pink. Why not clear blues, greens, yellows that stand out? Or would this reveal too much to residents?

From this map it would appear that all Neighbourhood Centres zoned GRZ will have the mandatory garden requirement removed. Please consider the above map carefully and try to decipher whether you will be impacted by these changes.

There is much, much, more that could be said about this and council’s overall approach to consultation.  4 weeks is not enough to plough through 589 pages on the housing strategy itself. Consultation requires more than a ‘survey’ that in the past has not asked the right questions. Nor is it appropriate that council publishes a 1000 page agenda several days before vital decisions are to be made. How many more times will it be necessary to remind this council that the ombudsman recommended at least 5 working days for the publication of agendas?

We urge all residents to contact their councillors and to lobby hard for the rejection of this Housing Strategy!

CLICK TO ENLARGE

PS – AND ON GLEN HUNTLY

Trees, and their protection, have become the focus for many in the community.  It is also just on a year since council reports started recommending the inclusion of trees into their Significant Tree Register. Progress however is glacial – as has been noted several times already by residents and some councillors themselves.

The following dates and numbers have all been taken directly from council agendas/minutes and reveal that the grand total of 68 trees have been added to the register. Of these 68 only 13 are on private land. That makes it a percentage of 19.11%.

At this rate it will take at least another 2 years before the register approaches 200 trees.

TREE REGISTER DATA

16th March 2021 – 7 trees (2 private land)

19th May 2021 – 5 trees (4 private land)

29th June, 2021 – 9 trees (2 private land)

10TH August 2021 – 18 trees (3 private land)

23rd September 2021 – 7 trees (0 private land)

12th October 2021 – 4 trees (2 private land)

3rd November 2021 – 5 trees (2 private land)

23rd November 2021 – 5 trees (0 private land)

14th December 2021 ( 8 trees – 0 private land)

Given council’s acknowledgement that our tree canopy is in free fall, and that the major culprit in this decline rests with private development that removes every single blade of grass, much less any trees, then surely council must reassess its priorities.

Here are a few of our suggestions that would help in getting more private trees onto the register:

  • Lists of nominated trees on private land be assessed before trees on council land – ie this category be given priority number 1
  • The employment of an additional arborist to assist in evaluation
  • Tree register details to be prominently displayed on council’s home page and repeated requests for nominations on a regular basis in Glen Eira News
  • All nominations to receive prompt responses, not as currently the case, up to 12 months later
  • Objections to nominations to be made public and displayed on website so that residents know what is happening throughout the municipality
  • The guidelines for reviewing of objections be updated so that all such objections are decided at a full council meeting and not as the ‘rules’ currently stand, by officers alone. This would be in line with countless other councils’ processes.
  • A six monthly report to council on: number of trees added to the register; number of objections; number of objections upheld and a map showing where new trees have been added.
  • Most important of course, is an amendment to the various schedules for the residential zones. If council is serious about climate change, our urban forest strategy, and the protection of trees, then the schedules have to reflect this. Particular attention has to be paid to: permeability requirements, landscaping, site coverage, underground car parking, etc. Unless this happens, and happens quickly, the same level of destruction will be maintained.

At last night’s council meeting, it was revealed that over 600 trees will be removed by LXRA in order to complete the Glen Huntly station development.

With their typical lack of sufficient detail, the LXRA webpages only provide very scant detail. Please see this link: https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/media/publications/glen-huntly-factsheet-vegetation-removal

The promise to plant 2 trees for every one removed would mean that at least 1200 new trees are planted. We won’t hold our breath, and we also have to wonder whether a 3 foot sapling can in any way be equated with what is about to be destroyed. The onus is thus on council and residents to ensure that as many trees as possible are saved.

‘Planning mess’: Outcry over Caulfield Racecourse redevelopment

By Cara Waters and Damien Ractliffe

February 1, 2022 — 12.01pm

The destruction of 100-year-old trees for the redevelopment of Caulfield Racecourse caused community outcry, but local authorities are unclear who bears ultimate responsibility.

Demolition work at Caulfield began on January 10 after a Christmas Eve amendment by Planning Minister Richard Wynne overruled heritage and council controls on the $570 million development of the racetrack and surrounding area.

One of the 42 trees destroyed was an Aleppo pine grown from the seed of Gallipoli’s Lone Pine. The works also involved the demolition of a toilet block and asphalt removal.

Heritage trees were cut down with chainsaws, prompting the interim protection order.

Work stopped this week after Heritage Victoria made an interim protection order on January 27 that means it must sign off on any work in the next four months.

Minister Wynne’s amendment to the planning scheme was requested by the Melbourne Racing Club. A spokesman said the club had done “everything by the book”, and had consulted on its plans with club members, the broader racing industry and the local council.

“We will also continue to do the right thing and work with Heritage Victoria on how we can proceed where appropriate,” the spokesman said.

The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust said it was aware of the planned demolition work but did not realise it would start without any chance for public consultation.

Andrew Paxton, general manager of the Trust, said it was unusual that Minister Wynne approved a planning amendment scheme, which did not require public exhibition, on Christmas Eve.

 “The community of Glen Eira have an expectation of consultation and being engaged,” Mr Paxton said.

The local council said it was “blindsided” by the minister’s actions and the destruction of the trees. The Glen Eira council said it was yet to receive a response from Mr Wynne, confirming it was the Glen Eira Historical Society which applied for, and secured, the interim protection order after some trees had already been cut down.

The local council said it was unaware of the demolition work until it occurred, noting it lodged a request with the government on August 18 last year, seeking Mr Wynne authorise a heritage amendment to protect the racecourse.

“We’re a small little volunteer-run organisation, so not geared up to dealing with an entity like the Melbourne Racing Club,” volunteer Anne Kilpatrick said. “What we’ve come around to realising is that somebody needs to step up for this. In this instance, we thought well, no one else is, we will do that.”

Glen Eira Mayor Jim McGee said the council was “blindsided” by the demolition work. They’ve given the Melbourne Racing Club the go-ahead to do whatever they like, and unfortunately, they’ve started by destroying what I believe to be heritage buildings, destroying heritage trees and just going hell for leather,” he said. “It’s just another example of the Melbourne Racing Club, paying absolutely no attention to residents. They haven’t done it in 150 years, so I’m not surprised that they are not doing it today.”

In a letter to Mr Wynne, Cr McGee said the process for approving the redevelopment work on Christmas Eve appeared misleading and secretive.

“The community are rightly outraged about what’s happening at the racecourse,” he said.

Mr Wynne said the government had engaged extensively with the council, including as recently as last year, on its plans to redevelop the racecourse area into a “people friendly community recreation space”.

 “It beggars belief that the Glen Eira council is claiming to be surprised by the development occurring at Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – which the government has made significant investments in to unlock open space for the community,” he said.

However, many people, including MRC members, said they were surprised by the works.

“We have been racing at Caulfield for 150 years and most people would be very surprised that nothing at Caulfield has any sort of heritage protection,” MRC member Anthony Del Monaco said. “[The] question is why the club, the council or the government haven’t taken action earlier to get heritage protection for this much cherished state asset. and avoided the planning mess that has resulted.”

Member for Caulfield David Southwick MP said the community was consulted about the plans for the construction of buildings and new sports fields, but not about the demolition work or removal of heritage trees and buildings.

“They’ve gone so heavily in terms of consulting with the community about what could be in the middle of the racecourse, yet they’ve forgotten to actually look at protecting some of the heritage value around the actual precinct itself,” he said.

“There’s been no consultation with them, and the fact that the minister on the 24th – Christmas Eve – can effectively rubber stamp something and have these trees, including an Aleppo pine, destroyed I think is really upsetting.”

Mr Southwick said the way the redevelopment was handled had important implications for planning across the state.

“[If] you’ve got one minister, a planning minister, who can do whatever he likes in anyone’s backyard without any third-party appeal, then he’s a real concern for any Victorian right now,” he said.

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/planning-mess-outcry-over-caulfield-racecourse-redevelopment-20220131-p59si3.html

COMMENT:

The MRC in the above quote, admits to ‘consulting’ with members, race goers, and council. Significantly, the one important omission is the community/residents of Glen Eira.

Also surprising is Council’s claim to have requested interim heritage protection in August last year. There is no formal council resolution that we can find to this effect. Why wasn’t this brought before a full council meeting in order to (1) make this request public, and (2) to ensure full ratification by councillors?

Will council now make public all of its communication(s) with the Minister, the MRC, and with the department? Did Council employ its own heritage advisors or did they rely on the MRC appointed advisors? Were councillors fully aware of any of these meetings, communications?

There are a myriad of questions that need answering from all – including the Minister, the MRC, the Trustees and Council.

Council has published its submission to the inquiry on the current Planning & Environment Act, 1987 in today’s agenda. Whilst we agree with many of the comments, there are several major issues where council’s response is far from adequate or valid.

First, the ‘good points’.

  • Yes, there should be specific attention paid to the environment and sustainability
  • Yes, housing affordability is an issue, though most things are out of council’s control
  • Yes, heritage is important and there should be a fast tracking process for interim protections

Now for the ‘questionable’ responses!

SOCIAL/AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Here’s what council has to say in regard to providing social/affordable housing –

Council has a policy requiring a minimum of five percent affordable housing on rezoned sites. Ideally, this should be extended to higher density development proposals and adopted at a state level.

By way of comparison, readers should note what Yarra Council as one single example only, has done with its percentages on social/affordable housing. In its 2019 Housing Strategy, Yarra states:

Yarra has worked with a number of site owners to provide at least 10% affordable housing. At the former GTV9 site, Richmond, affordable housing will represent at least 10% of the total number of new apartment dwellings. At the former Gasworks site, Fitzroy North a range of dwelling types will cater for a variety of housing needs including the provision of up to 20% affordable housing. Council will continue to seek additional affordable housing for our very low, low and moderate income community. (page 18)

Why Glen Eira should be ‘satisfied’ with a meagre 5%, when other councils are seeking up to 20% is the central question here. When we are so ‘committed’ to the need for social housing, then why has council been willing to settle for 5% on such massive developments at Caulfield Village over 2000+ apartments, and soon East Village, with at least 3000 dwellings on the cards. Further, why limit the creation of social housing only to those areas that will be ‘rezoned’ – presumably sites listed as Comprehensive Development Zones, or Priority Development Zones, etc. There have been plenty of developments on straight forward MUZ, or C1Z sites, that are well over 100 apartments.

Maybe, the answer is very simple. Requiring too much from developers in terms of social/affordable housing, will simply be another impediment to development that council is not willing to put in place!

MANDATORY APARTMENT SIZES

A little background first. According to the 2016 census, Glen Eira has just under 9% of single bedroom dwellings and just under 30% of its dwellings that contain 2 bedrooms. That equates to well over a third of all our dwellings. Yet we have 50.1% of our population listed as families with children. This number is very likely to have increased by 2021 and is the cohort which according to common sense requires space. Further exacerbating the issue, is the lack of open space in the municipality.

Given these above stats, then the issue of space becomes vital – especially in this COVID world where more and more people are likely to remain working from home.

Over the years, there has been report after report (especially from the City of Melbourne, and The Age) revealing the dog boxes that have been going up. Many single bedroom apartments were under 20 square metres, and 2 bedroom apartments, less than 50 square metres.

So what is Glen Eira’s response to the question of whether there should be mandatory, minimum apartment sizes? Here’s what was stated:

Apartment sizes are already discretionary. This enables consideration to be given to the quality of the space in terms of flexible furniture layouts, circulation and good natural lighting. Smaller apartments are more affordable and policy and controls that aim to improve the quality of the space may be more useful than mandating a minimum size. Well designed smaller housing accommodates more people in well connected areas, close to shops and services, and offers an affordable housing option. The quality of the space is more important than mandating a minimum size. Mandating a minimum size may contribute to making affordable housing even more elusive than it already is.

We will leave it to readers to interpret the above and decide the real reasons for council’s opposition to mandatory sizes.

Submissions to the enquiry close this coming Monday. See: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc-lc/inquiries/article/4819

Source: https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/resource-library/planning-permit-activity-in-victoria/planning-permit-activity-quarterly-report#Reports-tabs2

If anyone had any doubts about the rate of development in Glen Eira, then the above graph should provide plenty of food for thought. This municipality is grouped together with Bayside, Boroondara and Stonnington in the State Government’s planning agenda. The figures clearly show that we are far outstripping even Stonnington which is really an ‘inner’ municipality rather than a ‘middle’ council such as Glen Eira.

The numbers in the graph represent approved subdivisions from January to December 2021 and hence are a far more reliable figure than simply building permits. Each subdivision means that a new ‘lot’ has been created – whether this be for single blocks being subdivided to accommodate 2 dwellings, or apartment blocks being subdivided for each new unit. Reliability is also greater than for the building permits, since the subdivision process in the vast majority of case comes after the planning permit has been granted, and after the building permit has also been granted. Subdivision is usually near the completion of the building – either to sell off the plan, or to sell upon the completion of construction.

The subdivision figures from 2016 onwards are also frightening in that Glen Eira has consistently recorded well over 1200 net new dwellings per year. Council’s annual report in fact recorded 6343 additional ‘rateable properties’ for these 5 years – an average of 1269 completed homes per annum.  So again, we have to question the strategic planning of this council when we have consistently exceeded the Victoria in Future ‘required’ net new dwellings of 900 per annum. But this seems to have fallen on deaf ears in this council with structure planning that continues to encourage and facilitate more and more development.

Even more concerning is that all of the above figures do NOT include what is to eventuate at East Village (at least another 3000 apartments) and at Caulfield Village (precinct 3) another 1000-1500 with a height of 22 storeys being mooted. We are also still awaiting the release of the Caulfield Station structure plan. We have no doubt that this will feature a total indifference to heritage and will provide the green light for heights approaching 15 to 20 storeys.

Thus council keeps forging ahead with amendment after amendment PRIOR to the completion of a housing strategy. The fundamental question remains ignored: do we need the heights proposed in these various structure plans when our projected housing needs will have been well and truly exceeded? How does this benefit the community? Or, does it only benefit developers?

With another year almost gone, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on what has happened throughout this period. What, if anything, has improved? What has gone backwards? What has remained static? Have the new councillors performed well? Have the old councillors ‘improved’?

There have been some positive steps, although we must admit they are tiny baby steps compared to what is required. We finally, after 18 years of talk, got a significant tree register. However, the roll out of this program is well and truly behind schedule and ultimately will take another few years to reach even the miniscule figure of 250 trees given the current rate. More disheartening is the fact that the tree register remains part of council’s Local Law, rather than being enshrined in the planning scheme itself. A recent VCAT hearing had the member make this comment which reveals how important it is that controls are included in our planning scheme. We quote:

The site contains five (5) trees that are proposed to be removed as part of the car park development. All are of exotic species and the planning scheme does not have any tree removal controls. Hence, their removal is acceptable.

(SOURCE: – https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT//2021/1549.html)

Whether or not one finds the conclusion valid, is a moot point. If council did have a planning scheme which sought protection of ALL trees meeting certain criteria, then perhaps such judgements would be far less frequent.

We have been told again and again that councillors are determined to address the municipality’s lack of public open space, sustainability, increase our canopy cover, and take real action on climate change. All well and good and to be applauded. However, when such aspirations are not backed up by sufficient funding, then we have to query whether anything will really improve over the next few years. The Open Space Strategy states that at least 150 hectares of additional open space is required to meet the community’s needs. The long term financial plan allocates roughly $7M per annum for each of the next four years. This is just enough to purchase roughly 1500 – 1800 square metres of property per annum. Even with the current proposal for an 8.3%  open space levy (when other councils are looking at 10%) this will still not be sufficient to come even close to the ‘required’ 150 hectares.

The above comments can also be applied to council’s action plan on increasing the canopy cover, and acting on reducing carbon emissions. Unless such policies are backed up by sufficient funding, then we can only anticipate a further loss of important canopy trees, and little improvement in climate management strategies. This of course goes to the heart of priority setting by this administration and its elected representatives. When council is committed to massive spending on infrastructure projects such as the Carnegie Pool, to the tune of now $52M (up from the budget forecast of $51M), and when no business case has been made public, we have to doubt the efficacy of such decisions – especially when countless comments from residents wanted the ambience and the foot print of the current pool retained. Very few desired another (mini) GESAC. 

Planning in Glen Eira remains as it has for decades – pro development, and lacking in enforceable strategies and policies. It is quite unbelievable that after the mandated Planning Scheme Review of 2016 we still do not have:

  • Permanent structure plans for Bentleigh, Elsternwick, and Carnegie
  • After being promised structure plans for our neighbourhood centres, we only have ‘guidelines’ (ie Built Form Frameworks) for three neighbourhood centres which are not as yet even in the planning scheme. No indication has been given as to what to expect for the remaining centres.
  • No developer contributions on parking as promised in 2016
  • No Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) policy
  • No review of the residential zones and their respective schedules since 2013
  • And the most damning fact – no housing strategy since 2002 and council steam rolling ahead with amendment after amendment all PRIOR to the completion of an essential housing strategy.

Politics has continued to play an important role in many councillors’ decision making as evidenced by the car park issue and the acceptance (or not) of the $18M funding from the Federal Government. Politics is also evident in the alacrity with which some Labor aligned councillors so heartily support draft structure plans and applications that include heights so out of keeping with resident wishes.

Council signed an ‘agreement’ with several other councils this year to demand greater community and council input into the State Government’s planning agenda. Thus far, we have heard nothing back.  Have discussions been ongoing between councils and the department? If so, why not some updates?

We must also comment on the volume of useless community consultations. We maintain that they are indeed ‘useless’ when the questions on surveys are simply designed to elicit certain responses, and when councillors and the community consultation committee has no input into the final product. Residents are often faced with planning jargon that most will not be familiar with, or with hundreds upon hundreds of pages to plough through in order to come up with some decent submissions. The absence of Discussion Papers that are truly objective and informative is a major failing of this council. Surely a brief document that accurately summarises the issues would not go astray.

Several councillors have bemoaned the fact that the response rate on various issues is poor. Perhaps council needs to start asking why this might be the case. Is it simply because residents are apathetic? Or perhaps it might have more to do with the fact that so many people believe that their views will not be acted upon? Or maybe, the manner in which consultations are carried out, and the ‘useless’ questions are seen as a complete waste of time by residents?  Then again, people are simply tired no doubt, and flooding them with mock consultation after mock consultation is simply demoralising and counter productive. Perhaps more people would respond if more information was included that meant something. For example: pretty pictures of draft designs is not enough. Why not include some basics like -size, cost, footprint? Surely this would elicit some very relevant and greater feedback. The greatest fallacy however would be for this council to assume that because the response rates might not be up to par, that means that the majority of residents are in FAVOUR of the various projects. In our view, nothing could be further from the truth. Disquiet is growing and until this council addresses the fundamental issues of housing, open space, and sustainability, we will continue to head backwards. It is the role of councillors to ensure that this trend is reversed.

Our best wishes to all for a much healthier and far more fulfilling 2022.

« Previous PageNext Page »