Council in its wisdom has decided to spend a small fortune on converting HALF a tiny street in Caulfield North into a ‘park’ that is a stone’s throw from Caulfield Park. They are also spending another small fortune in converting the concrete at the front of Carnegie Library into less concrete. Yet when opportunity after opportunity arises for some major acquisitions that could add to the deficit of open space in Glen Eira, there is no action whatsoever, no planning, and no overall public benefit. For starters, there was the Alma Club land; next there was 487 Neerim Road, and now there is 46 Regent Street, Elsternwick. All available for purchase, and in the case of the Alma club an absolute bargain at $3m compared to the $8m it was sold for and the development of 79 units in a neighbourhood residential zone. Now we’ve got Regent Street.

Readers with long memories should remember the outcry over the proposed school application for the site in 2011. With a packed gallery and much acrimony, the application was rejected unanimously by councillors and the threat of a VCAT appeal did not eventuate. See: https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/regent-st-protest/

The Regent Street site has been razed, moonscaped, and left vacant for years. A submission to the Open Space Strategy and a Change.org online petition pleaded with council to purchase this land in an area identified as lacking open space. Of course, nothing was done and the pleas fell on deaf ears. Now the property is up for sale. And it is not just any property – it is a massive 3,000 square metres! Big enough to provide a real park, in an area crying out for more open space.

Given the size of the area, we are in no doubt that residents can expect scores and scores of new apartments on the site – all exiting via the narrow confines of Regent Street itself. Another opportunity is thus about to be lost and council can continue to squander ratepayers’ hard earned cash on cosmetic changes to already existing open space instead of INCREASING open space that is worthy of that name! We assert that by the time the Open Space Strategy is reviewed in another 15 years the overall open space per individual in Glen Eira will be REDUCED as a result of population growth and more than 60% of the funds raised by the levy will have been squandered on more concrete, more pavilions, and more useless ‘parks’ such as the one in Eskdale/Fitzgibbon. That is open space planning in Glen Eira!

46 Regent Street Els  PRW 2015 07 03

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