MAGEE moved to accept motion and Lipshutz seconded.

MAGEE: began by saying that the Centenary park pavilion had been on the agenda for around 15 years. Council has now got all the ‘documentation’ necessary following the previous council resolution to go ahead with design for the park. Stated that the car park ‘and the pavilion are going together’ and it will now go out to tender. Plenty of people had asked him about upgrading of facilities in Tucker ward and there is now GESAC, Duncan McKinnon pavilion and Victory Park so that ‘a lot of things have been happening’ in the area. Wondered how they could have missed fixing up Centenary ‘for so long’ but there’s only so much money available. The resolution is to ‘call for tenders’ so they will then know how much it is going to cost. On the car park which will be ‘reconfigured’ ‘THERE IS NO LOSS IN OPEN SPACE’. What’s happening is that they are ‘taking away a disjointed car park at the moment’ and ‘putting it all into one piece’ and ‘adding all that green space’. Thought it would be a ‘huge win’ for the East Bentleigh community and it ‘will go down with me when I leave this council’ as a ‘great achievement’.

LIPSHUTZ: agreed with Magee that the pavilion had ‘for many years’ needed ‘redevelopment’. The government grant would ‘assist’ here. The car park is a ‘vexed issue’ because ‘some people’ don’t want this changed but the motion will allow for both things (car park and pavilion) to be done. Nobody wants a ‘half job’ done so better to do it all at once and together. Pavilion will be done like other pavilions and Glen Eira is fantastic at doing pavilions.

LOBO: agreed ‘on one thing only’ that the pavilion ‘needed a facelift’. Said that the decision was based on the govt grant and people ‘wanting it’. Said that the pavilion did ‘need attention although there were others in our plan’ based on the priority listing ‘but we jumped the queue’. Was happy for the pavilion to go ahead but ‘what I can’t swallow’ is the $600,000 to be spent on the car park and ‘adding extra car parking’.  What this means is that if you deduct the $500,000 from the government ‘we are left with $100,000’ and ‘we’re saying this is justified’. Didn’t think that ‘this is the way to juggle our list of priorities’. Went on to talk about Victory Park where ‘we added 2 toilets for the girls’ and ‘where undressing under the trees, that’s fine’. On the $600,000 ‘there was no public consultation’ and this is ‘big money’. Said that with this kind of money people could buy houses in various areas. For him it was important that ‘people were not consulted’ and that ‘again the process is wrong’ and that ‘it is important that we get things right’ and ‘ask the surrounding people’ what they want. ‘No one was consulted’ and he got letters from people opposing it and saying they wouldn’t vote for him and the mayor if this went ahead. Lobo then asked for time extension. MAGEE VOTED AGAINST TIME EXTENSION. Lobo responded with ‘Thank you Cr Magee. I expected that’. Said there was one resident who was passionate and objected. ‘we didn’t get back to them’. When the decision was made in April he was overseas and wouldn’t have voted for the motion ‘only because of the $600,000’ – ‘if $200,000 maybe’.

DELAHUNTY: agreed with some of what Lobo said but also thought this was a great initiative. Said that the ‘car park makes sense, makes financial sense’ for the pavilion and car park to be done simultaneously.  Was also sensible ‘in terms of safety to remove that scrub land’ and traffic management. However, she didn’t ‘enjoy the process of it’. Said they had ‘consulted user groups’  and that she’d like to see more ‘conversations’ with people. Since there’s a consultation committee then they might have to look ‘structurally’ at how council consults. Would support the motion but it leaves her ‘with a bad feeling that we haven’t really spoken in great depth’ with people. They’ve got ‘correspondence’ from people who aren’t happy so it’s important to ‘enter into a conversation and explain why’ council is taking the position it is.  Unless that’s done ‘it takes away the transparency of decision making’ if there aren’t these ‘conversations’.

SOUNNESS: when an application comes in for private land development then councillors ‘have a conversation’ and residents and developers get their say. Here’s public land and ‘there’s a bit of a different process’ . Said that he realises that council ‘should be trusted’ about doing ‘the right thing for the right reasons’ but there should also be a way that councillors and staff are ‘interrogated’ about the decisions they come to. Claimed that his problem with this plan was that he couldn’t see the ‘connection’ between the car park, trees, pavilion, playground. Supported redoing the pavilion, but didn’t know whether the vegetation ‘was significant’ . Councillors had received an arborist’s report which isn’t published which said that this is ‘basically a bunch of scrub’ and that the ‘trees are suffering’ and of ‘poor standard’. The report isn’t in ‘this document here’ and he would ‘have loved to see’ it included because that makes things much more ‘transparent’. Referred back to last council’s meeting about assembly meetings and how the code of conduct stipulated that correspondence should not be published outside of those meetings but this was a case where that arborist’s report was vital for the decision and for people to ‘understand why we are making this decision’. For him ‘the case to keep the vegetation is not strong’. Thought there is a case to be made about ‘process’ and ‘wished’ that consultation had been ‘a bit more clear’. So will support the proposal and wishes that it could have been a little more ‘transparent’.

PILLING: acknowledged that there were concerns about cost and process. Read out his original motion from April and that ‘the majority of councillors did vote to proceed’. Said this was a bit like GESAC where ‘car parks are tacked on’ to the end of projects and that ’causes quite a few problems’. Supported ‘in future having a better process’ and that he would be supporting the motion.

HYAMS: said that Centary park would have been ‘done straight after Duncan MckInnon’ ‘regardless’ of the state government grant because it was ‘next on the priority list’. Saw Lobo ‘shaking your head and I can assure you’. Lobo then attempted to say something and Hyams told him that ‘he had the floor’. Agreed that $600,000 was a lot of money and if it was just for a car park he wouldn’t want to spend that amount but this was about ‘increasing the green spaces’ and ‘safety’ for pedestrians and motorists. The latter often find that one car park is full so they have to go back onto the road and do ‘a u turn’ and go into the second car park. So he’s happy to spend the $600,000 and ‘get it all right all at once’. In regards to girls undressing under trees in Victory Park ‘I want to assure the gallery that this was not the case’. Said that they had change rooms but had to walk through ‘each others change rooms to get to the toilets’. Lobo disagreed and told Hyams that he ‘had to get the facts right’. Hyams then said that when ‘a councillor is speaking that councillor has the floor’ and that as a deputy mayor ‘you would understand that’. Lobo interjected again. Hyams raised his voice with ‘Cr Lobo!!!! I have the floor’. Lobo again tried to say something. Again Hyams ‘Cr Lobo!!!!!!!’ Lobo then told Hyams to ‘take it easy’ and that ‘when I banged the table’ he was told he was ‘unprofessional. Now what are you doing?’ Hyams then said he was trying to call Lobo ‘to order’.

MAGEE: wanted to ‘clarify’ the bit about ‘people getting changed under trees’ and that the Leader had run this story but it was due to a lot of ‘moisture’ in the pavilion but that it was ‘warmer’  under the trees than in the pavilion. Said he would argue with anyone as to whether that ‘open space is worth anything’ (ie the trees/vegetation). He’d never seen ‘anyone’ in there and is only about 500 sq metres and is worth probably about a million dollars. Claimed that all they were doing was ‘moving’ this open space next to a playground. It’s also ‘not useable’. When he’s gone there the ‘weeds were knee high’ and they could be sprayed and cut ‘but in a month’s time they were back’. Was grateful for the government grant because this was money that ratepayers now ‘don’t have to fork out’. Said it was a ‘needy, worthwhile project’ that had been waiting around for years. Said that his kids play sport there and that it’s a ‘privilege’ to live opposite a park but that shouldn’t mean that this automatically grants ‘ownership’ to these people of the park. ‘There is no downside. There is absolutely no downside’. If it costs $600,000 then ‘so be it’ because for $600,000 they’ll be getting a ‘piece of infrastructure that will probably last for 100 years’.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED. LOBO ASKED FOR A DIVISION. HE WAS THE ONLY COUNCILLOR TO VOTE AGAINST.

COMMENT

We wish to highlight several important points here:

  • The minutes of November 27th 2007 included the priority pavilion upgrade schedule. In part it read – It is recommended that a full review of the Priorities for Pavilion Upgrades be undertaken on a regular basis to ensure that changing circumstances are reflected. This review would include checking that the scores for individual pavilions are still correct. 6 years later NO REVIEW HAS BEEN MADE PUBLIC ALTHOUGH IT WAS CLAIMED THAT SOME FORM OF ‘REVIEW’ TOOK PLACE IN AUGUST 2011. Of course, this was done in secret and has not seen the public light of day! We even wonder if it ever took place or exists! Centenary Park in the 2007 version was NOT on the list to immediately follow Duncan McKinnon – Marlborough was listed as next in line.
  • Hyams’ claims here that girls changing under trees ‘was not the case’. We have referred to our own reports and for our entry of 22nd September 2011 we noted that Hyams made the following remarks – HYAMS: also ‘grateful’ to Miller for ‘first identifying this need prior to election’ (then securing funding and delivering the money)….’Cooper Pavilion not large enough to cater for all’ (the needs)…’children have to get changed outside so….defeats purpose of having a pavilion’…‘we have had other priorities which is the reason it hasn’t been done up to now’….(Caulfield Park Pavilion, Duncan mcKinnon Pavilion rated higher)…‘on the objective ranking table’ (priority list)…(now) ‘Centenary Park’s turn’. (September 22, 2011).
  • We also note that the budget for 2012/13 set aside $310 for ‘female change rooms’. The financial report for the month ending 31st October 2012 included the statement that the ‘female change rooms at Victory Park’ were $113 behind forecast. In other words, a year down the track these change rooms are still incomplete!
  • Rewriting history is endemic in Glen Eira Council. The facts appear to change according to whomever it will favour at any particular point in time.
  • Residents really need to start asking how come the ‘process’ is still so appalling bad after so many years of complaints about lack of consultation? What have these same councillors who complain about process actually done to improve the process?

 PS: We’ve been sent the following photographs of what 2 councillors describe as ‘scrub land’. Hardly it would seem when there are trees there of at least 40 feet height.

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