PS: It hasn’t taken the developer long to resubmit another application for Claire St., McKinnon. It is still 3 storey, and instead of 36 dwellings, the application is now for 33 dwellings. Yes, the VCAT decision certainly stymied the development, didn’t it? So much for Magee’s  faith in council’s planning scheme and its non-existent neighbourhood character statements for housing diversity areas.

 

  1. We are promoting additional transport options including more and better train, tram and bus services; car sharing, cycling and walking

Oh yes, Glen Eira is definitely transport conscious! That’s why the funding for bicycle paths has been cut despite budget promises. That’s why car sharing was put off and councillors never even told that a proposal had been submitted to officers years ago. When a report finally made it to council the decision was (typically) to delay for another year. The next year a tiny number of spots was set up. And how much credence do we give to council’s ‘promotion’ and ‘advocacy’ power, when they can’t even get a bus to run past East Boundary Road? Then there’s the fabulous Road Safety Strategy which lapsed in 2008 and hasn’t been updated, or newly ratified.

  1. We fine builders if they breach safety requirements on building sites

We challenge any reader to find one single vcat decision where council has sought an order against any builder for ‘safety’ breaches. There aren’t any. As for fines – well we’ve featured countless photos of unsafe and illegal works (for pedestrians) alongside development sites. How many of these have been fined – despite the fact that the offences occur day after day!

  1. We are advocating for all development costs to be paid for by developments and not fall on existing ratepayers.

Really? So is this the reason that Esakoff moved a motion at the last MAV state conference that basically asked for ‘all development costs’ – BUT ONLY FROM COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS?!!!!!! Forget the fact that this was never endorsed by any formal vote much less discussed in council chamber with supporting reasoning. Commercial development almost pales into insignificance when compared to the developments occurring in GRZ and RGZ and now MUZ. Why these developments ARE NOT targeted is the $64 question?

The best of course is last –

  1. We are providing additional public open space and have imposed the highest Open Space Levy on multi-unit developments of any suburban council (estimated $5 million per annum)

Some very neat phrasing here which is technically not only untrue, but deliberately misleading. Glen Eira has NOT imposed the ‘highest’ levy on multi-unit developments. Plenty of other councils have much higher levies directed towards their activity centres, and suburbs where development is likely to occur at an intense rate. The perfect example of this is Stonnington which has the second lowest amount of public open space. In their proposed amendment they sought an 8% levy across the board in contrast to Glen Eira which has the least amount of public open space and only sought 5.7%. Admittedly Stonnington were not successful in getting their 8% for the entire municipality. However, they did achieve an 8% levy from developers in 4 suburbs, including Prahran and South Yarra. Achieving 8% from these 4 suburbs (given the size of these areas)plus the 5% from the rest of the municipality means that Stonnington is well ahead of anything that Glen Eira can achieve. Their Annual Report cites an INCREASE of $4.65 million in open space levies and this amount does not take into account the full year’s impact of the 8% in the four suburbs.

Nor is Stonnington alone. Moreland for example has had in place for years now the following levies for developments in their various suburbs –

Brunswick – 6.3%

Coburg – 6.8%

Faulkner – 5.7%

Glenroy – 6.5%

Then there’s Dandenong with 20% for this stated area – – Any residential or commercial subdivision in the area bounded by Springvale Road to the west, Cheltenham Road, Dingley Freeway Reservation, Dandenong Southern Bypass to the north, EastLink to the east and Hutton/Greens Roads to the south.

Further, whereas countless other councils included in their amendments the clause that for certain ‘significant’ sites , the levy payable be higher than the levy for other areas, Glen Eira council was quite prepared to accept the obscene figures of 4 and 5% for the 2000+ development of Caulfield Village. They were even prepared to accept the ‘normal’ rate for the Virginia Estate with its proposed 4,600+ dwellings of 5.7%.

Readers should also remember that at the 11th hour, council reneged on its two previous resolutions that all monies collected from open space levies would be used to PURCHASE ADDITIONAL OPEN SPACE. Instead, revenue is now basically ploughed into more of the same – mega palaces (ie pavilions) and car parks within parks that constitute ‘open space’. The only purchases of land in the past 12 years have been two properties in Packer Park and now one in Magnolia Road that could have been bought years ago for a much cheaper price given that there’s been the on-off-on farce with the public acquisition overlay. An appalling record for a council that has known for decades that open space is a priority for residents.

We estimate that with the population increase, open space in Glen Eira per resident will DECREASE if this current policy continues. This in fact has been admitted by the Open Space Strategy itself. So what is council doing about this? Bugger all in our view. Spending millions on ‘redevelopment’ is not the answer to the continued growing lack of public open space.

  1. While the boom is being driven across Melbourne by external factors, Council is acting to limit heights and contain development to strip shopping centres and public transport routes

More deceptive phrasing we suggest. Most people would interpret ‘strip shopping centres’ as meaning the actual ‘strip’ itself and not residential land that is some 800 metres from the street. The use of present tense is also a concern. If council is ‘acting to limit heights’ then apart from 2 amendments for MUZ there is no evidence to suggest that council is doing anything to change the zoning. Council ‘acted’ in 2013. They are now totally ‘inactive’ except to refuse application after application and blame VCAT for everything.

Finally, the fact that such a piece of shonky, deceptive and deliberately misleading (mis)information could have gone out to residents without councilors’ knowledge says much about governance in Glen Eira and the kind of leadership that has been at the helm for far too long.

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