Please read the following extracts from Item 9.9 of the current agenda (open space levies) very, very carefully. We believe that it shows in spades:

  • The total incompetence of this council, and
  • Why they simply cannot be trusted

Continuation of the policy of 25 June 2013 could potentially undermine Amendment C120 in so far as it directs the expenditure of all funds on the provision and capital works improvements to new open space rather than also improving existing open space which will be used by the future population. Councillors have received an independent briefing in relation to this advice.

And the ‘recommendation’ –

Abandons the policy introduced before the 2014 Open Space Strategy entitled ‘Use of Public Open Spaces Contributions Policy’ dated 25 June 2013.

In case people have forgotten what this council policy promised we reiterate -

Council will only spend Public Open Space contributions it receives after 1 July 2013 to acquire and improve land to serve as additional public open space.1 (including the former Glen Huntly Reservoir)

Council will not spend Public Open Space contributions it receives after 1 July 2013 to improve land which is already public open space. (25th June, 2013)

With much fanfare, beating of the chest, and promise after promise, March 18th 2014 saw the following resolution (and promise) repeated -

Crs Pilling/Lipshutz

That Council;

  1. Delete the last sentence in section 8.3B of the Strategy “Funds will also need to held for upgrades to existing open space”.
  2. Adopt the Glen Eira Open Space Strategy.
  3. Confirm the existing Policy adopted on 25 June 2013 that “Council will only spend Public Open Space contributions to acquire and improve land to serve as additional public open space”.

So what does all this mean?

  • You create a strategy, an amendment, and a policy and promise the earth only to discover innumerable errors later on! So instead of amending the strategy and policy, the solution is to renege on the promise made to residents!
  • That the old system will prevail and that instead of using the accumulated levies exclusviely for the ACQUISITION OF NEW OPEN SPACE, council will redirect this money into more concrete plinths, more pavilion redevelopments and given their past record, a minimum of new open space. Note that only 2 house blocks in Packer Park have been added to open space in the last 14 years – and that occurred because of the huge public outcry. Council’s first option was to sell the bowling green for residential development!
  • The total incompetence of those responsible for overseeing the open space strategy and the drafting of the amendment. How many more errors will be picked up after the fact before someone is held to account?
  • Council resolutions, policies, strategies are all totally meaningless. Promises are made and then broken willy nilly.
  • All credibility and faith in the competence of this council is shot to pieces.

The rush for ‘larger than conventional lots’ in quiet residential streets is gaining momentum. Readers should note the sales pitch that is now standard – ie. ideally ‘zoned’ for ‘density’. From this week’s offerings!jasper

And the accompanying blurb for this Jasper road ‘combo’ reads -

Exciting development opportunity in the Residential Growth Zone

2 adjacent dwellings offered together
Site area of 1,115m2 approx.
Great development opportunity (STCA)
Versatile opportunity for development: boutique apartment block, townhouses, childcare / early learning centre (STCA)
Build either a multi – storey, multi – dwelling development, in the newly zoned ‘Residential Growth Zone’ in the heart of the of McKinnon College Zone
The two adjoining properties are being sold together and provide 1,115m2 of land area (STCA)
Flexible settlement terms available
Surrounded by excellent retail and lifestyle amenities, including the cafe culture of McKinnon village, McKinnon station, schools & parklands
279 & 281 Jasper Road, McKinnon is for sale through an expressions of interest campaign closing Tuesday 21st October at 5pm



Blurb for this one -

bring your vision for prestige development (subject to Council Approval) and build wide to maximise streetfrontage, stand tall to capture views and add prestige to capitalise on an off-Centre, in-Zone address!

PS: We also remind readers that with the new zones that are so ‘developer friendly’, this Council refused to introduce a MINIMUM size for lot subdivision as most other councils have done. What this means is that properties can be subdivided and then subdivided again.  A 650sqm block of land can feasibly result in 3 or 4 properties going up and that includes the supposedly ‘protected’ Neighbourhood Residential Zones!!!!!!!!!

We are becoming increasingly concerned over what, to all intents and purposes, appears to be the social divide that is occurring within the municipality. Whilst Bentleigh, Carnegie, and other areas are allowed to go to the dogs, certain areas appear to have the ‘protected species’ assigned to them – many being in Camden Ward!

The latest agenda features 2 applications that would seem to endorse this view. One is for a 5 storey building of 3 shops and 57 dwelllings in Neerim Road, Carnegie. It is zoned Mixed Use (ie no height limits) and located in the Murrumbeena Neighbourhood Centre. Officers recommended a permit and the waiving of 4 visitor car parking spots.

The second application is Hawthorn Road, North Caulfield. It is zoned Commercial (again no height limits) and is seeking a permit for 6 storeys, shops and 40 dwellings. Both applications are surrounded by other Commercial zones and the General Residential Zone. Yet, officers decided to reject this second application outright and to pass the Neerim Road one.

It should also be borne in mind that council’s approach is often to chop off one floor and a handful of apartments and hence grant approval. This hasn’t been done for the Hawthorn Road application. So whilst the application seems to meet all the planning scheme requirements in terms of zoning, height, and even ‘mass’ it doesn’t get the nod. Instead we find some remarkable statements that are applied to one site, which didn’t enter council’s consciousness on applications in other areas. For example: council now appears worried about setting a precedent! They are also concerned about drainage, when countless applications are passed in Carnegie resulting in basement car park flooding – and this is when this report contains an engineering recommendation that the developer pay for extra drainage. No such additions have appeared in the countless officer reports for these other areas!

Thus we have to ask:

  • Are parts of Glen Eira being allowed to become part of the ‘great unwashed’?
  • Is Camden Ward being accorded ‘privileges’ that other areas aren’t? If so, why?

Finally, we’ve uploaded the two zoning maps for these applications and ask residents to ponder the ‘differences’ which results in one application being granted a permit and the other one a rejection by planners. We also wish to state that we are NOT endorsing either application. We make no comment on the quality of the proposed plans. We are simply concentrating on the officer comments and the resulting recommendations.




Caulfield Racecourse Reserve

Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield)—The matter I raise is for the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and the action I seek is that the minister adopt the recommendations outlined in the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office report entitled Management and Oversight of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The report outlines that the trust has not been an effective manager of the reserve and that insufficient attention has been paid to fulfilling the potential for community use of this reserve.

It is important to mention that Caulfield Racecourse is one of most prestigious racecourses in Australia. It brings significant revenue into the state through racing and events. It hosts significant racing events, including the Caulfield Cup and the Caulfield Guineas, and was a training home of the legendary Black Caviar. In addition to a racecourse, the 1949 Crown grant designated the land as being for two other purposes: for public recreation and as a park. It would be fair to say that, despite the efforts of many, the trust has failed to deliver on the recreation and open space benefits to our community, which the report highlights. Without elaborating on the failure by the Labor government to properly administer land swaps and to take up recommendations from previous reviews, we are now in a great position to finally implement a management plan by taking up these recommendation to the benefit of both racing and community use.

Members would have heard me advocate in this place for more community use of the 54 hectares of land. We have seen racecourses, such as Happy Valley Racecourse, also having strong sporting facilities and golf courses in the middle of their reserves. We are perfectly placed to do a similar thing at Caulfield. I place on the record acknowledgement of the efforts of the current Melbourne Racing Club administration, which has demonstrated a willingness to adopt a plan that incorporates better public use of the facility. In 2012 I worked with the club and the City of Glen Eira to deliver a $1.8 million upgrade of the centre, including barbecue and jogging facilities. That project was funded by the racing club to encourage community use of the reserve.

Despite having done all of that, as we have known and as this report highlights, the community does not fully utilise this space because it is hard to get to. Caulfield Racecourse Reserve is desperately calling out for an active space plan to bring people into the centre of the reserve. We could do this through proper community consultation, which this report also suggests. I thank the minister and the current Department of Environment and Primary Industries administration for their commitment to fixing the inherent problems in managing this reserve and the work they have done so far with the trust.

The recommendations of the report include more rigorous oversight of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve; adopting a governance framework consistent with contemporary standards, determining the trust’s responsibilities, powers and obligations; a community engagement strategy that can identify the needs and will ultimately result in a land management strategic plan that contains a clear and measurable outcome for use of Crown land consistent with the grant; and the exploration of alternative management arrangements for the reserve so it can be better placed to meet the needs of the racing and local community into the future.

Ultimately we are looking for the best outcome for all—the best outcome for residents and the community while keeping in mind that it is a racecourse.

I call on the minister to adopt all of these recommendations in this report. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get things right in this unique and valuable space known as the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve. I will give the community my undertaking to continue to fight for better community benefit in this great space.

The Auditor General has released his long awaited report on the governance of the Trustees and the oversight management of the Department of Primary Industry on the crown land that constitutes the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve. We congratulate the Auditor General’s office for the report and for affirming what can only be described as a combination of blatant incompetence and vested interests that have been allowed to reign for far too long and to the detriment of the local community. No public office escapes unscathed. We will comment in greater detail once we’ve had time to fully digest the report. We’ve uploaded the full report HERE.

Serious problems with management of Crown land at Caulfield Racecourse found by the Auditor-General

A scathing report reveals public parkland at the Caulfield Racecourse has not been managed well by the trustees.

PUBLIC parkland at the centre of the Caulfield Racecourse has been seriously mismanaged, a scathing Victorian Auditor-General report has found.

Auditor-General John Doyle’s scathing report, tabled in Parliament this morning, has found there was poor access to the public land, “significant’’ deficiencies in governance by the board of trustees, conflicts of interest among trustees that have not been managed well and more.

Mr Doyle said the 54-hectare site had been governed by 15 trustees whose decisions have “disproportionately favoured racing interests with insufficient attention paid to fulfilling the community-related purposes of the reserve’’.

The report says public space is not easily accessible, entry points and signage are inadequate, and although the reserve has recently been upgraded, it doesn’t address the community need for better recreational facilities within Glen Eira.

The report also calls for community consultation on what should be done with the reserve.

With a severe shortage of open space and sports grounds in Glen Eira, the council wants sports grounds developed on the reserve, which has a lake, grassed area, walking track and barbecue facilities.

“ … it is not clear that the needs of the community have been appropriately balanced against the needs of racing.’’ — Auditor-General John Doyle

The council has also argued the $80,000 annual rent the Trust charges the MRC is well under the independently valued rate of about $1 million.

Six trustees represent government, six represent the Melbourne Racing Club and three represent Glen Eira Council.

“There is no doubt that the reserve is a significant public asset and one of Australia’s premier racing tracks, hosting high-profile races such as the Caulfield Cup and bringing in significant revenue for the state. However, it is not clear that the needs of the community have been appropriately balanced against the needs of racing’’, Mr Doyle found.

Trust chairman Greg Sword welcomed the report, vowed to implement the recommendations, accepted criticism of conflict of interests historically and currently not managed well and said the Trust now had a blueprint for crucial improvements.“The VAGO points to significant conflict of interest and it is difficult,’’ he said.

“This provides the Trust, whether restructured or not, with a great blueprint for the way in which it should act in the future.’’

The DEPI has also accepted all recommendations relating to its role.

The news has drawn a quick response from Glen Eira councillor and former Trust chairman Jim Magee, who has for years lobbied for change to the way the reserve is managed.

“It’s absolutely scathing,’’ he said.

“It validates everything that we’ve said in the past. We now have to look to the Premier and the Opposition leader to implement all the recommendations.’’

Cr Jim Magee was the former Trust chairman.

It contains 15 recommendations to address those issues needing “immediate attention’’ and for the future management of the reserve.Five apply directly to the trustees of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve, six to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries which oversees the performance of Crown land managers and four require joint action by the trustees and the department.

The VAGO says unless the issues can be addressed, alternative management arrangements over the reserve should be considered.

Mr Doyle says the Trust should be given the chance to introduce contemporary governance standards but if it fails or trustees cannot agree then other arrangements, such as a committee of management or a new trust under its own legislation, must be considered.

The Premier’s office has been approached for comment.

The more we dissect Glen Eira Council’s new zoning, the more convinced we become of its total ineptitude. The latest atrocity is the manner in which the zones have been applied in relation to Heritage Overlays. The Planning Scheme contains the following statements in relation to Heritage – whether these overlays be in the equivalent of minimal change, or housing diversity. Here are some quotes -

The policy recognises that some locations in housing diversity areas may be constrained by their heritage significance or local flooding and that this could reduce their development potential.

Recognise that these areas may have a limited capacity for multi-unit development.

Ensure that residential development respects the scale, form and setbacks of buildings on properties affected by the Heritage Overlay and does not compromise heritage values.

Even the State Government’s Practice Note 78, makes it very clear what should be included in Neighbourhood Residential Zones as shown by the following –

Pages from Practice_Note_78-2

So what has our wonderful planning department done and which councillors have ticked off? Large areas that are included in Heritage Overlays have now been zoned as GRZ1 and even worse, RGZ– suitable for 3 & 4 storey developments respectively. The fate of these areas is now sealed. The pink lines in the maps below are the overlay borders for individual heritage overlays. Residents need to start asking how something like this has been allowed to occur?

heritage2 heritage

heritage2PS: The following appeared in today’s Moorabbin Leader.  Questions need to be answered on this latest use of GRZ3 – ie the Alma Club current zoning.

  • The advertisement states that this amendment has been ‘prepared’ by Council. If it is indeed a Glen Eira Council instigated amendment, (at the behest of the developer perhaps?) then why wasn’t a formal resolution passed which requested permission from the Minister to advertise?
  • If done under Section 20(4) then why hasn’t this proposed amendment been listed in any of the Quarterly Reports? Further, if it is a ‘fast track’ amendment, why does it even need to be done ‘secretly’ via this clause of the legislation? What’s the rush – or have plans for large residential developments already been discussed with officers?
  • If the amendment is the result of the developer going straight to the Minister and requesting the rezoning, then we expect that there should be some public item in the coming agenda. We expect the item to be as per normal – bereft of any real detail!
  • Has the Alma Club zoning (which council claims all ignorance of until it appeared) become the thin end of the wedge, where large land holdings (often stuck in the middle of minimal change) will now be rezoned to the GRZ3 ‘standards’ – as per the changes to the planning scheme? So much for a ‘neutral translation’ of the old minimal change/housing diversity to the new zones!