Tuesday night’s agenda is definitely geared towards a ‘feel good’ session. We have the Arts & Culture strategy, the Disability strategy and finally the report on River Red Gum maintenance in Glen Eira. Never mind of course that it doesn’t include all the trees that Sounness identified in his Request for a Report. Also, the promised and re-promised tabling of the draft Local Law for May, is still a no show. There are however a few items of interest.

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION COMMITTEE

No community reps were present. In fact, it looks like the 3 sitting reps may have been given the boot since the committee has decided to advertise via expressions of interest and to ‘inform’ current members. It will be fascinating to see if any of the current sitting members re-apply and whether they are given the nod. If not, then will they be given any plausible reason for their ‘departure’?

Delahunty has been ordained as Chairperson, but only after a split vote with Hyams. Here’s what we’re told – Director Community Services called for nominations. Cr Esakoff nominated Cr Hyams; Cr Lobo nominated Dr Delahunty. Following acceptance of nominations a vote was held and the voting was tied. After further discussion it was agreed Councillor Mary Delahunty be appointed as Committee Chairperson, and agreed in principle that the chair would rotate to Cr Hyams after a year

If this isn’t pre-empting a council decision on who will sit on which committees, then we don’t know what is!

Also noteworthy is the ‘review’ of the Engagement Strategy and the stated intent to investigate methodology and VLGA ‘principles’. We wait with bated breath!

PLANNING ZONE REFORMS

Whereas other councils (Whitehorse, Stonnington, Bayside) keep publishing updates on their progress with the Planning Zone Reforms and the likely impact on their municipalities, all residents in Glen Eira get to know is the occasional throw away line in the Records of Assembly. For example:

Cr Okotel – can the MAV assist Councils to understand the new planning zones

Cr – Okotel – new planning zones

Workshop – new planning zones

We remind readers that these new zones come into operation on July 1st 2013 and Councils have 1 year to ‘adapt’. Within this year other councils are completing or undertaking their Housing Strategy & Neighbourhood Reviews. Glen Eira, we fear, is quite willing to rely on its antiquated data and suspect policies. More importantly, why have residents not been provided with any information since the release of council’s response?

AMENDMENTS

We must take some credit for the following VCAT Watch item. It concerns a decision where council argued that its yet to be advertised Transition Zone Policy should be considered in the application. We took them to task for arguing for something that doesn’t exist as did the member in his decision. In Quarterly Reports we’ve been told that this amendment is ‘on hold’ until the zone reforms come in. Now we’re told – Councillors will recall that the Minister for Planning refused Council’s request for authorisation to place Amendment C90 on public exhibition.

Why we ask? Why wasn’t this information forthcoming at the time with reasons clearly explained? Why argue for this at VCAT when it is KNOWN that the amendment as it stands can’t get to first base? Why can’t residents be told the truth right from the start and, in fact, what is the truth?

PS: please also note that the tree labelled as River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis at Duncan McKinnon plus the very nice photograph (n0 6.) does not exist anymore! IT WAS CHOPPED DOWN EARLIER THIS YEAR. So much for the accuracy, comprehensiveness and full disclosure of this report!

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