Why is everything made so impossibly difficult to achieve in Glen Eira? Why is this administration so obstructionist and so determined to scuttle any councillor or resident suggestion? Why does no councillor take this administration to task and refuse to accept skewed, inaccurate and/or substandard officer reports?

The latest agenda is typical. In response to a Request for A Report on ‘Public parks & private memorials’ we have a total of two pages plus a draft ‘policy’. The wording of the Request for a Report as presented in this latest version is:

  1. That Council draft a policy to provide for individuals, corporations and unincorporated bodies to donate park furniture.
  2. The Policy must address and provide for the following:

2.1 That any park furniture be supplied by the Council;

2.2 Whether the Donor can nominate the park and where in the park the furniture is to be situated;

2.3 That notwithstanding 2.2 above, the Council be the final arbiter of where in the park the furniture is to be situate;

2.4 The size and type of plaque to be affixed to the donated park furniture;

2.5 Whether Council may re-site donated park furniture

2.6 What is to occur in relation to the plaque in the event that the donated park furniture is damaged, destroyed or permanently removed;

2.7 The period of time that the plaque shall remain;

2.8 The right of the Council to reject donations

2.9 Any Administration fee;

2.10 Any other matter Officers consider appropriate.

  1. The Policy must be presented by the last Council Meeting in June.

First off, it is now the end of August and not June! The ‘escape clause’ for not meeting the time line set by the resolution is this gem: A paper was considered at the Assembly of Councillors on 7 July 2015. We note that discussion on this issue was only recorded in that Records of Assembly meeting. Hence, not only was the resolution ignored, delayed, but it specifically noted the requirement for tabling at an open council meeting – not the behind the scenes secrecy of an assembly meeting! Further, in March 2015 another resolution had been passed asking that a policy be drawn up. Thus, an issue which is so minor has taken up countless hours of ‘discussion’, officer time, and verbal diarrhea in council meetings.

Readers should also note that ‘park furniture’ has now been reduced to simply ‘park benches’ and nothing else. Not what the councillors’ request for a report stated. ‘Park furniture’ is surely more than a mere ‘bench’.

The barely two page ANONYMOUS report is as always, short on facts and figures, short on substantiated argument, and big on scare mongering. There has not even been the attempt to cut and paste from the equally skewed report of March 2015. Here is an example: –

If the Draft is implemented, it is foreseeable that it may be the basis for disputation including over, cost, placement, wording etc. It may detract from the implementation of the Open Space Strategy.

How amazing that countless other councils throughout the state do not adhere to this fear. Some examples:

Port Phillip –

This Policy applies to structures, public open space, memorials, urban art, plaques, named civic buildings or rooms and other entities, where the naming is intended to commemorate a person, organisation or event.

http://www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/default/o29962.pdf

Moorabool

Memorial – Park furniture (i.e. park bench, seat or picnic setting), garden, art works, artefacts, tree, stone/rock or etched paving designed to preserve the memory of a person or group. This may also include memorials in the interior of buildings i.e. Halls. Memorials may also include donations to build facilities (i.e. clubrooms) as a memorial to a community member. (http://www.moorabool.vic.gov.au/CA257489001FD37D/Lookup/policies2015/$file/Memorials%20Policy%20jan15.pdf

Melbourne City council – https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/ParksandActivities/Parks/Documents/policies_plaques_memorials.pdf

Darebin – https://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/~/media/cityofdarebin/Files/YourCouncil/HowCouncilWorks/MeetingAgendasMinutes/CouncilMeetings/2011/18Apr/Item-86-Appendix-A–Civic-Recognition-Monuments-and-Memorials-Policy-March-2011.ashx?la=en

There are many more that we could have cited such as Bayside, Greater Dandenong and Hobson’s Bay. What is undeniable, is that the siege mentality of this administration means that any perceived threat to its unilateral control and power must be opposed – despite formal council resolutions. Note – that by demanding the drafting of a policy (not once, but twice), it is implicit, that Council should accept donations for ‘park furniture’ and ‘memorials’. The anonymous author’s recommendation to reject the policy as an option is thus entirely inappropriate.

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