GE Transport

Presented below is today’s council Media Release. Please note the following:

  • It’s all about money
  • Not a word about strategic planning and halting the overdevelopment in Glen Eira

Council has distinguished itself by failing to make any public comment on recent State Government changes to planning schemes and legislation. We can only suspect that any criticism of government will not be rewarded by millions as ‘pay off’. There have been innumerable instances where council should have stood up for its residents if ‘advocacy’ was genuine. What we had was absolute silence.

It’s also worth pondering whether these projects do in fact represent money well spent. We remind readers that the Bentleigh Library underwent a million dollar plus renovation in the past few years. Community views on the Carnegie market were never solicited appropriately and the comments that have been received remain highly dubious as to the potential ‘success’ of these grandiose plans.

More importantly however, please compare how other councils ‘advocate’ for their residents when they feel it is important to highlight state government actions that will have a negative impact on their municipalities. Here are two examples from the Mayor’s Blog from Boroondara. Again, no such public comment from Glen Eira and definitely not a word of criticism to be found. As we’ve stated: this isn’t ‘advocacy’ it is a sell out.

The reality of the Victorian Government’s Reformed Residential Zones

Boroondara Mayoral Blog

Thu 25 May 2017

Accommodating Melbourne’s unprecedented population growth is not an easy task. It requires all three levels of government to work together, respectfully.

Unfortunately, local councils and specifically the planning system are unjustly targeted to address a housing supply and affordability problem. The most recent example is through the Reformed Residential Zones.

When the Victorian Government announced the reforms, we sent a letter to inform you about the impact of the reforms to the zone that you live in and asked you to write to the Minister for Planning to express your concerns. Thank you to those who have taken the initiative. Your voice is important in this debate.

It is disappointing to learn that in responding to the community’s concerns, the Minister has attacked Council for representing the interests of our community, accusing us of making “petty political arguments” and calling us “mischievous” and “deliberately misleading”.

Let’s look at the facts.

In the Neighbourhood Residential Zones (NRZ), the limit of two dwellings to a lot has been removed. In the General Residential Zones (GRZ), irrespective of the established character of these areas, the new height limit is 11m with a
maximum of three storeys.* As we outlined in our letter to you, “… the removal of the dwelling density requirement will have a significant impact on potential development outcomes in the NRZ.

The fact that properties within the NRZ can now be developed for more than two dwellings means that the NRZ is going to experience more intensive in-fill development in areas that were previously identified for minimal change. Coupled with the increase in building height, multi-unit development and apartment style development proposals are likely to be the inevitable consequence of the reformed zone.”

Nothing in the above statement is incorrect. In his letter, the Minister doesn’t deny the above facts, but rather deflects from the reality created by the new zones. For the Minister to suggest that the changes to the zones won’t lead to more intensive in-fill development is simply untrue.

The new mandatory garden area requirement introduced by the Minister will have little positive impact on the design of development beyond what is already required under existing planning controls, and will not achieve the protection of neighbourhood character or amenity as stated by the Minister.

There was no opportunity for either Council or the community to comment on the new controls before they were introduced.

Council did provide a submission to the Minister’s Managing Residential Development Advisory Committee, which reported the outcome of the residential zones review to the Minister. However, the Minister’s reforms go much further than what
his own committee recommended.

We are deeply concerned for the future of our City. Victoria needs a responsible longterm strategy for the provision of housing to retain Melbourne’s mantle as one of the world’s most liveable cities, not short-term planning reform that will line the pockets of developers and inextricably change the character of our suburbs forever.

We will not stop voicing our concerns about the reforms. We urge you to do the same. You can write to the Minister for Planning by emailing Richard Wynne.

*This change doesn’t currently apply to our current GRZ1, GRZ2 and GRZ3 areas. However, these zones will inevitably lose their existing stricter height requirements after three years.

Cr Phillip Healey


Victorian Government weakens protection of Boroondara’s neighbourhood character

Boroondara Mayoral Blog

Tue 28 March 2017

The Minister for Planning’s decision to reform residential zones is unravelling the protection of Boroondara’s neighbourhood character.

About 80 percent of our residential area is classified as Neighbourhood Residential Zone where the maximum number of dwellings on a lot is two and the maximum building height limit is 8 metres.

Yesterday, the Minister removed the limit of two dwellings to a lot and increased the mandatory building height limit to 9 metres. The changes were made without consultation with local residents, communities and Council.

The Minister argued that the reformed residential zones “will be fair and provide certainty for all of our suburbs”, “provide for new housing opportunities” and “get the balance right”. We strongly disagree with his argument.

There is no transparency, accountability and justification to the proposed changes. The extensive process of planning work required to introduce the current residential zones by Boroondara and other municipalities has effectively been thrown out at the stroke of a pen. It is heavy handed and unfair.

Council’s planning policies have created capacity for an additional 62,546 dwellings which is more than four times the Victorian Government’s own forecast dwelling need for the area by 2031. These policies have clearly been working as Boroondara has the second highest spend on building projects in Victoria.

What will be certain is that the reformed residential zones will result in more intensive in-fill development in areas that our community has told us they want to preserve. The changes will have long lasting negative impacts on our highly valued streetscapes.

The Minister hasn’t got the balance right. He has tipped the balance in favour of increased density that will only benefit developers and destroy both Boroondara’s and Melbourne’s liveability.

We are deeply disappointed by the Minister’s decision. We urge community members to write to the Minister for Planning ( to voice their concerns.

Cr Phillip Healey


PS: Here’s another post that could be compared to Amendment C157 and Wynne’s refusal to grant Elsternwick mandatory height limits. In contrast, our council meekly accepts the outcome it would seem. Since this mayoral post Boroondara has achieved mandatory 3 storey height limits for 15 of its neighbourhood centres.


Council has released a new set of documents that underpin the planning for the Elsternwick South ‘masterplan’. Accompanying these documents is the invitation to provide feedback via the Have Your Say web link.

All of this sounds marvelous! Except that we have to wonder whether:

  • This is the ‘best’ way to conduct ‘consultation’ and
  • What ‘value’ the Have Your Say survey really has

The Elsternwick South area is pivotal in that the current proposals, together with the overall Structure Plan for the northern areas will change the face of Elsternwick forever if implemented. The vast majority of residents have already made it clear that:

  • 12 storeys is unacceptable
  • Overshadowing is an issue
  • Traffic is an issue
  • Lack of open space is an issue

The newly published documents are supposed to address most of these concerns. But do they? And do the surveys come within cooeee of asking residents what they think about the proposals themselves? Or are they merely a set of feel good questions that everyone can agree with whilst parading as genuine ‘consultation’?

Here is what could and should have happened if council is genuine in wanting informed feedback from the community.

  • Given the significance of this area why has council not produced a simple, objective, ‘Discussion paper’ as the first step in the consultation process that outlines all the pros and cons of the various aspects and the recommendations? As it stands now, those residents interested in the issue will need to read, analyse and comment on well over 200 pages of new documentation. This is on top of what has already been published, making the grand total of recent documents dealing with this area to well over 486 pages. If we include the ‘past documents’, then we are approaching close to 1500 pages. How many residents will bother?
  • The Have Your Say and survey questions need to be directly addressing the efficacy of the proposals in these reports. They don’t! Instead we get the following which isn’t asking the vital question ‘Do you think these road closures will address the parking and traffic concerns? Please explain”.

  • The 4 proposals concerning road closures would now appear to be set in concrete  and residents are simply asked to ‘prioritise’ them. Yes, we do get the ‘other comments’ section but unless residents bother to read through the documentation carefully, and analyse what is proposed, then we suspect that most comments will be easily ignored. No choices are provided to residents regarding rat running in neighbouring streets. Nor is there any question relating to residents’ views on parking, safety, etc. In short, the focus is entirely on St James Parade.

  • The first part of the survey is basically nothing more than motherhood statements. Of course no one in their right mind would be in favour of creating rat runs, or endangering safety, or be indifferent to congestion, etc. Again these have to be ‘ranked’. Why? Surely it can be assumed that the entire list of ‘problems’ is something that needs fixing. The question is again, do the reports and recommendations actually ‘fix’ any of them? Does the ranking then mean that the end result of the strategic planning will only seek to address the top 5 priorities and ignore the rest? Or will we get the argument that a ‘balance’ has to be achieved and we can’t do everything? More importantly, how many of these ‘problems’ are remedied via the report recommendations? Couldn’t council have produced some neat little table that displayed such information in a clear and accessible manner?
  • The other survey option is titled ‘tell us your ideas for resolving these issues’. Please note that again there is no connection with the report recommendations. Simply pie in the sky questions that could apply to anywhere and not specifically the sites under investigation.

It is surely time that council got its act together and produced some consultation techniques that were genuine, meaningful, and truly intended to seek the best results. Time and again we have had councilors apologizing to the gallery for their poor consultation methods but nothing has been done to remedy the situation. We continue to get sham consultations, (or no consultation as with aged care) and processes that are simply there to endorse what has already been decided.

We have not commented on the documents themselves at this stage. All we will say at this stage is the irony that council’s consultants chose to use as part of their standard for traffic generation the Woolworth’s traffic assessment that accompanied the latter’s application! Then to top it all off, there is a further reduction in the standard because council aims for a 60% reduction in car use! Thus we get this gem:

Therefore, if this reduction rate is applied to the peak hour generation rate of 0.4 trips per dwelling, a generation rate of approximately 0.19 trips per dwelling could be adopted for the apartments within the proposed Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area South development. 

What this means of course is that every apartment will only produce 0.19 trips per peak hour instead of the 0.4 trips that date back to 2002 guidelines. Unbelievable hocus pocus!

Residents’ antennas should also be raised at the potential ramifications of this sentence:

……given the 60% public transport target, it could be realistically be proposed that 25% of apartments in the renewal area would have no parking spaces.

So with 1500 dwellings proposed (and no justification for this number) are residents to assume that developers will be given the gift of nearly 400 apartments with no parking spots?

We urge all readers to carefully consider these documents and to make your views on the consultation process itself known to this council.  It’s well and truly time that residents stopped accepting a process that is anything but adequate and appropriate.

Tonight’s speakers on the Selwyn Street/Gordon Street closures had one thing in common. Each and every speaker was strongly opposed to council’s plans. What came through clearly was:

  • Council’s failure to consult with the major stakeholders, including some of the Jewish organizations.
  • No real consideration for businesses in the area and the imperative to provide loading zones
  • How the neighbouring streets would cope with increased traffic
  • How a reduction in parking spots will only exacerbate the already limited parking
  • The failure to provide decent traffic analysis of wider area prior to deciding on the current design

Questions remain as to what will now happen. For example: councilors can accept the current plan, reject it, or will we find that some modifications are made and this will be decided on at the April 30th Council meeting? If changes are made and a decision is also expected at the end of April, then does this mean that the community will not have the opportunity to comment on the changes?

This issue is another example of not only poor consultation, but poor planning. When will this council learn that they cannot produce half baked plans devoid of all essential data to justify their plans and expect residents to swallow this hook line and sinker. How much has this fiasco cost thus far? How much have the hired guns cost? Has any officer actually set foot in the area or has this design been done via a desktop analysis? And why can’t these councilors put a stop to this nonsense right now and order officers back to the drawing board and insist that proper consultation begin immediately with all those impacted?

We urge all readers to listen to what was said. It is illuminating and a harsh indictment of a council that has no idea of how to inform, consult, and listen to its residents.

Another Special Council Meeting is set down for this coming Thursday (6.30pm) in order to hear submissions on the proposed partial closures of Selwyn Street and the one way redirection of traffic in Gordon Street.

What we have here is another appalling example of council’s failure to adhere to its own resolutions, its abject failure to advance ideas based on comprehensive analysis of the wider area, and to provide the community with consultation information that is consistent, accurate and timely.

We acknowledge that these latest plans (an earlier version was first published) are probably an attempt to put a spanner in the works of the proposed Woolworths development. However this does not excuse a council that is reactive rather than proactive. We repeat some of our previous comments:

  • Why was Elsternwick left out of the interim amendments for Bentleigh & Carnegie in 2017 when it is also a MAJOR activity centre?
  • The ABC Woolworths site was purchased in March 2017 for $45m. Council knew what was about to happen! You don’t spend that amount of money and only go for a supermarket!
  • The idea for a Jewish Cultural Centre has long been on the cards. Being granted at least $1m by government mandates some decisive action! The problem with the ‘action’ is that it is ill conceived, poorly researched, and as always, bereft of empirical justification.
  • Where is corporate memory in all of this? One submission from the Holocaust Centre complains bitterly that council’s plans fly in the face of the permit conditions granted to the Centre less than a year ago.
  • Why can council resolutions disappear into the ether and not be enacted? For example, the council resolution of 27th November made specific reference to the following: that Council receive a further report on the draft detailed design prior to community consultation. This has not happened! Nor has the following been produced: a comprehensive traffic impact assessment and mitigation strategy based on the endorsed Precinct Plan. Most reasonable people would expect that a ‘comprehensive traffic impact assessment’ would include far more than Selwyn Street, Gordon St, and Glen Huntly Road. As many of the submissions point out, ramifications for St Georges, Glen Eira Roads, etc. are not even mentioned.

Of the submissions themselves, the overwhelming majority are opposed to the closures, especially in turning Gordon Street into one way. Even more telling is that many businesses oppose these designs and the Jewish organisations themselves aren’t happy.

What sway this opposition will have remains to be seen. Will councillors have the guts to order the planners and traffic management staff to go back to the drawing boards and start again? We doubt it! What is clear however is that council has a lot to learn in terms of its consultation practices, and the professionalism of its planning/traffic department.  It would appear that council first makes the decision then scrounges around for anything that would support the decision. The cost in terms of money, and community angst is never considered.

Residents slam ‘nonsensical’ bike route through their ‘hood

By Carolyn Webb

March 31, 2019 — 5.30pm

Caulfield North residents have slammed plans for a bicycle super-highway to go through their neighbourhood.

Some locals fear it will endanger pedestrians, remove parking and even affect property values.

They have formed the Save Inkerman group to oppose a three-kilometre leg of the proposed trail from Dandenong to Melbourne’s CBD, saying thousands of cyclists whizzing by each day could reduce access to their own driveways.

Glen Eira council has yet to settle on a design for its section of the trail.

But it has proposed a route heading north-west from Caulfield Station along Normanby Road, and then west along Inkerman Road and Inkerman Street to Hotham Street.

The council could not say whether parking spaces would be removed, but that is a key concern of the community group.

Lenny Gross said he would have to close his delicatessen, Lenny’s, on Inkerman Road, and his mental health wellness centre next door, if parking spaces in front of them were removed.

‘‘If they take those spots away from me, I don’t have a business,’’ he said. ‘‘The reason people come to me is because they can park out the front.’’

Robyn Taft, who lives in a street off Inkerman Road, said the plan was ‘‘about the council being seen to be green. I think they don’t really care about the residents’’. Ms Taft said any restriction on parking would make it ‘‘a lot harder for people to go about their daily lives’’, including elderly people walking to synagogues and shops. ‘‘We support safe bike paths. There is a bike path here [marked bike lanes along Inkerman Road], and perhaps more can be done to make it safer. ‘‘But for people trying to get in and out of their properties, it’s going to be very difficult, particularly if there’s going to be a potential several thousand bikes an hour at peak hour going up and down here.’’

Real estate agent Rochelle Butt, who owns two properties on Inkerman Road, including her home, said the new bicycle plan was ‘‘nonsensical’’. She said property values could be be affected if residents can’t park on the street and side streets would be overloaded with cars.

The council wanted everyone to ride bikes, but that wasn’t realistic. ‘‘My mother’s 82 and lives around the corner. She’s not going to visit me on a bike,’’ Ms Butt said.

The protesters want the bike path to instead go north-west up Normanby Road from Caulfield station, following the tram line along Dandenong Road, then on to St Kilda Road via Wellington Street.

But Bicycle Network senior policy adviser Garry Brennan said the Inkerman route was the most direct and cyclists could join it from Balaclava, Alma and Glen Eira roads.

Making the street greener could have flow-on benefits like increased real estate prices.

Keen local cyclist Herschel Landes favours the Inkerman Road route, saying bike current bike lanes are too narrow, increasing the risk of ‘‘dooring’’.

He said encouraging people to ride bikes would ease traffic congestion, be useful for small trips to shops and provide a quick route to Monash University Caulfield campus on Dandenong Road. Mr Landes, a prominent Richmond retailer who helped run the Melbourne-wide No Clearways campaign in 2008 to 2010, said Dandenong Road had too many trucks and cars to be an alternative. Using the tram reserve would mean removing foliage, while cyclists would encounter major road crossings.

Ron Torres, the City of Glen Eira’s director of planning and place, said the Inkerman Road corridor aimed ‘‘to take pressure off our roads by providing a safe and convenient opportunity for more people to commute to work by bike’’.

Residents have until Monday to submit an online feedback form about the plan to Glen Eira council.



Here is another example of council’s incompetence in conducting what it euphemistically calls ‘community consultation’. First off you publish a document telling residents that their parking will disappear. Next you get officers to door knock people and tell them the same. Not at any stage do you provide any  specific details such as: proposed design, how many car parks will disappear, cost, stats on numbers of bike users, numbers of cars, etc. Then you scramble to undo the damage you have created via the Silver request for a report.

As we’ve said above. Genuine consultation can only begin when residents are privy to valid information. Otherwise it is all a sham and an ungodly waste of ratepayers’ money. The result is a divided community and plenty of ill feeling. Congratulations councillors on achieving another black mark.

Finally we should point out that no other Integrated Transport Policy that we have read has the temerity to say that they are aiming for a 50:50 reduction in car use. These other councils would apparently work on the basis of reality and not spin or pipe dreams!

Caulfield Electorate Planning

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (09:51): This morning I tabled a petition with over 1700 signatures of support calling on the Andrews government to immediately review and reduce interim height limits for the Caulfield electorate, and I note the Minister for Planning is at the table today. Minister, the inconsistent and unfair height limits established by yourself as the Minister for Planning in amendment C157 to the Glen Eira planning scheme have encouraged a wave of inappropriate high-rise development proposals in Selwyn and Horne streets, Elsternwick, on what was the Daily Planet site and also the old ABC site. We are also seeing on South Road another development of up to 12 storeys with no height restrictions whatsoever.

These high-rise developments threaten to impinge upon the neighbourhood character, amenity and traffic flow, introducing overshadowing and privacy concerns for thousands of residents in my electorate. I have met with a number of residents, some of whom are in the gallery today, from Caulfield South and Elsternwick that are affected at these sites, where I have seen firsthand the effect of inappropriate overdevelopment in these areas on the community. I have written on behalf of residents to the mayor of Glen Eira City Council to seek assistance in reviewing and addressing the concerns of these residents. Minister, these residents would like to meet with you to talk about these issues and to see if we can get some consistency with the Oakleigh and Bentleigh electorates which have restricted height limits of six storeys while we have discretionary height limits of 12 storeys. If it is good enough for the goose, it is good enough for the gander. We should have consistency in our planning scheme.

Applause from gallery.

The SPEAKER: Order! Order in the gallery, please.


Caulfield Electorate

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (11:47): (385) My constituency question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, throughout the electorate of Caulfield we are seeing a number of overdevelopment proposals that are currently out of character with the local amenity and threaten residents’ way of life in the Caulfield community. In fact we tabled a petition today of that nature. Caulfield residents have seen these proposals from Horne Street, Elsternwick, the old ABC site, and of course now in Caulfield South. There is inconsistency when it comes to planning in the electorate of Caulfield. Of particular concern is the discrepancy in the interim height limits of Elsternwick, Bentleigh and Carnegie because of planning scheme amendment C157. Minister, we ask you why there is such an inconsistency in the planning scheme. In Glen Eira City Council on the Caulfield side there is a 12-storey discretion, and within Oakleigh and Bentleigh it is four to six storeys. Why is there that inconsistency, Minister?




Caulfield Electorate Planning

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly

We, the undersigned citizens of Victoria, call on the Legislative Assembly of Victoria to note:

The interim height limits established by the Minister for Planning, The Hon Richard Wynne MP in Amendment C157, are inconsistent, and unfairly impact Elsternwick and the broader Caulfield community.

The interim height limits have encouraged a wave of inappropriate high-rise development proposals in areas such as Selwyn and Horne Streets, Elsternwick and Hawthorn Road, South Caulfield, These proposed high-rise developments will impinge upon the surrounding neighbourhood character and traffic flow, introducing overshadowing and privacy concerns, without necessary community infrastructure upgrades.

The discrepancies between current interim height limits lack essential strategic justification, therefore the petitioners request that the Legislative Assembly of Victoria call on the State Government to immediately reduce the interim height limits for the Caulfield Electorate.

By Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (1747 signatures)


Tonight’s council meeting resembled a three ring circus and revealed once again to what extent decisions are made behind closed doors in Glen Eira. The ‘circus’ involved Item 9.1, on the 14 storey application for Horne Street, Elsternwick..

There was a significant pause before Delahunty put up her hand to move a motion for refusal of the application. This was seconded by Magee. What became obvious was:

  • The motion was entirely unexpected by all. Hence no grounds for refusal (as required) were as yet drafted.
  • Countless apologies to officers for this ‘surprise’ and not a word of criticism for their recommendation that went beyond the current Design & Development Overlay. Instead, we got comments as to how well they are interpreting the planning scheme.
  • Silver admitted his opposition to the application
  • Same old arguments from Hyams and Sztrajt such as ‘we could get worse outcome at VCAT’.
  • A 5 minute break in proceedings so councilors can again ‘decide’ what to do behind closed doors.
  • Magee’s ‘liking’ for 12 storeys, but only if it’s in the ‘right place’. That is along Nepean Highway.

On return, Delahunty’s motion was voted out. Only Delahunty and Magee voted in favour of refusal. All the rest voted against. Please note that Athanasopoulos and Esakoff were absent.

Davey had foreshadowed a new motion for a permit of 8 storeys. It was then decided that the issue would come back for decision once Torres had been given some time to draft the relevant motion and its conditions.

Silver moved motion for 8 storeys. Sztrajt seconded. Voted in 5 votes to 2. Interestingly, Davey who foreshadowed the 8 storey motion, voted against! Magee also voted against. Cade was silent throughout this item.

Please listen to what was said (below) and consider the following:

  • Baseless claims by Magee and others that the structure plans were in line with community sentiment. All community feedback was strongly against the 8 to 12 storey heights.
  • No justification has ever been provided for such heights
  • Traffic and overshadowing documents that were to be done over a year ago are still to make it into the public domain. Has council actually done this work?
  • Why does this council continually blame the State Government and yet not one single formal public statement has been made that challenges anything. When other councils such as Boroondara, Mornington Peninsula, Stonnington can voice their disapproval of government decisions, why is our council silent and compliant? This is not advocacy. It is complicity!

Please listen carefully to the incredible waffle that epitomises these councillors decision making!

Finally, we also point out that in response to the 4 or 5 public questions council did not provide a single answer.


SOUTHERN METROPOLITAN REGION Mr HAYES(Southern Metropolitan) (18:01):My constituency question is to the Minister for Planning. I refer the minister to the case of my constituent Graham Huntly, who is helping the government meet its renewable energy target by putting solar panels on his home at Ross Street, Elsternwick. If Woolworths succeeds in building 10 and 14-storey towers in Elsternwick, Mr Huntly’s sunlight will be blocked and his solar panel investment—to say nothing of his quality of life—will be devalued.

What rules does the government have in place to stop developments overshadowing solar panels, and will the minister support Glen Eira council’s eight-storey height controls—and make them mandatory—and reject 10 and 14-storey towers in Elsternwick?

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