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The lack of public open space in Glen Eira has been known for decades. It was acknowledged in 1987, again in the open space strategy of the nineties and once more in 2013. Residents were lead to believe in the 1996 strategy that 50% of revenue raised would be used to purchase NEW open space. In 2013/14 ratepayers were promised even more (via council resolutions) – ie that all monies raised from the levy would be put towards the purchase of NEW open space and not used for ‘development’ of existing open space. Thus twice residents have been dudded and promises literally thrown out the window.

Council’s record on dealing with this issue is appalling. Monies have been frittered away on lawyers, pavilion developments that come in double the original monetary proposals, always late, and inevitably turn parks into more concrete and parking at more expense. Even when council had the opportunity to purchase land they removed the public acquisition overlay on Magnolia Road Gardenvale only to re-impose it 8 years later and pay the then current market price! Their largesse to the MRC has thus far garnered a paltry $575,000 for 463 units on over a hectare of land which at today’s prices will not even buy half a suburban block!

The result? Instead of increasing public open space through proper planning and budgeting, residents are now bequeathed less public open space per individual given the population increase. To add insult to injury there is now the Request for a Report to consider whether council should be seeking a higher levy when objectors argued this point years ago. When other councils can exact levies of 8% and even more for some of their areas, this council has always been unwilling to impose anything that may be seen as an impediment to more and more development.  Present and future residents are ultimately paying the cost for such generosity.

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