We’ve received an email from a resident which in our view epitomises everything that is wrong with the Glen Eira City Council administration and, in particular, its penchant for secrecy and putting every single obstacle it can in the way of residents.

Here’s what happened.

  • A resident went down to council offices and asked to see the Melbourne Transport Victoria submission on the Caulfield Village Development Plan.
  • An officer finally came down with the submission and told the resident that photographs or copies were verboten.
  • The resident, not to be put off, then started to transcribe the submission in full.
  • The officer remained watching the resident write for at least ten minutes and was clearly bored out of his brain and inwardly fuming. He then called in an underling to continue with the surveillance.

What is so outrageous about this behaviour is:

  • There is NOTHING, not a single word, in the Planning and Environment Act which precludes residents from taking a photo of a submission. The ‘embargo’ by council is simply another example of their determination to make things as difficult as they possibly can for residents. It is simply another ‘rule’ concocted by council to prevent widespread dissemination of a public document.
  • It also illustrates the common council practice of ‘if it’s not stated in the legislation’ then we can’t do it. Or the reverse is also true – if it’s not stated in the legislation, we can do it’. It all depends on the situation and the objective – for example: the Local Law and the Meeting Procedures and attempts to dissent from the chair!
  • Residents need to ask: how much did this officer surveillance cost ratepayers? How many dollars went down the drain when two employees stood around watching someone else write instead of getting on with the work they are paid (by us) to do?

Finally, here is the transcript as forwarded to us. All that has been left out are the reference numbers –

Received – 27th February 2014

 

Public Transport Victoria

Ref FQL

Rocky Camera

Coordinator Statutory Planning

Thank you for your letter dated 28/01/14 referring the Caulfield Village Development Plan to Public Transport Victoria. Please find Public Transport Victoria’s comments below.

While the accompanying Integrated Transport Plan (ITP) has made references to most items as outlined in Schedule 2 to the Property Development Zone PTV requires the following additional information to be able to conduct a proper assessment of the plan.

1/ Demonstrate how Station Street will accommodate the ‘Undivided Connector Road – B’ as detailed in the Public Transport Guidelines for Land Use and Development (i.e. a minimum 4.2 metres shared carriageway for both vehicles and bikes and a minimum 2.3 metres wide parking lane).

2/ Provide further information regarding the layout and location of the proposed bus stop at the intersection of Station Street and The Boulevard. Confirm that such bus stop would be funded by the development.

3/ Further detail on how existing tram services along Normanby Road and bus services along Station Street will be impacted by the proposed development (i.e. delays to journey time) including the intersection plans showing the proposed works, how they will accommodated within the road reserve and how they will operate.

4/ Further detail on the future planning for the Normanby Road / Smith Street tram stop (i.e. timing, planning location and design of a potential Superstop).

In addition, PTV does not support the introduction of a shared tram and traffic lane as suggested in Table 4.3 of the ITT on the Normanby Road/The Boulevard/Smith Street intersection. Introducing additional traffic to the existing tram right turn would cause travel time delays to the tram service. The intersection should be designed as not to detrimentally impact the current levels of tram operation.

The PTV would prefer that the Implementation Plan submitted with the Development Plan documents clearly sets out how each intersection across the development will be constructed and the timing for delivery detailed in an approved implementation plan.

Yours,

Richard McAliece

Manager

Land and Planning

24 / 2 / 2014

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