Delahunty moved a motion for a Request for a Report on the Caulfield Village. Her request was that the report include ‘planning options’ available to council on the social housing issue for the Village. Taylor seconded.

DELAHUNTY: said that the VCAT decision on Precinct 2 was that council was ‘unsuccessful’ in the attempt to ‘require’ the developer to include social housing. Called this a ‘surprising judgement’ and wondered whether the member had ‘actually seen or heard of’ social housing. Said the judgement was ‘so far removed from the way social housing operates’. Claimed that for the member to state that the ‘requirement to provide social housing’ is ‘financially prohibitive is rather surprising’. Said that ‘of course’ there’s a financial ‘imposte’ but ‘that’s what it is’. Called it an ‘incredibly disappointing result’ and when you have such a massive development almost like a ‘new suburb’ that there should be ‘some proper social housing provider attached to it’. Acknowledged that the developer ‘came up with their own scheme’ but this ‘doesn’t meet anyone’s definition of social housing’ and this looks like a pay later ‘lending scheme’. ‘It was an attempt to circumvent this requirement’ and all it would do would be to ‘help people access deposits’ or ‘get their hands on the deposit faster’.  Claimed that this doesn’t ‘address disability at all’ but helps the developer ‘sell their properties faster’. Said she ‘doesn’t understand at all’ how the judgement ‘was made’ and ‘won’t let this rest’. The report is asking for help to ‘understand what levers, what tools’ can be used. Said ‘noise’ is ‘available, appealing to the hearts of the developer is available’ but there ‘must be some planning levers that we can still pull’. ‘It’s unconscionable to let this go’.

TAYLOR: thought about the cost and ‘access to public land’ and ‘it’s not all about take, take, take’. The developer ‘can’t have it all one way’. On accessing a ‘social housing organisation’, ‘how difficult is this?’ Said there are ‘at least 39 social housing providers’ and it’s a ‘matter of liaising with them’. It’s ‘not onerous’ and a few meetings or emails can set this up. This ‘didn’t sit well with me’ so she ‘highly commends this report’.

ATHANASOPOULOS: started by saying that ‘we live in a society that is very inclusive’. Said he had visited a family member in London who lived in a property bought from the government and it was ‘very nice’ in an allotment of ‘maybe another 30’ units in a village that ‘probably had another 100’ units. Said it was ‘great’ that this ’90 year old lady’ could walk everywhere and there was a ‘sense of community’. If it can happen in a ‘massive city like London’ then ‘why can’t we create’ something similar here? They need more ‘than vcat on our side’ but also ‘local members’ and ‘ministers’ in order to ‘get something better than this’ because ‘people deserve it’.

SILVER: asked that the motion also include ‘examples’ of social housing from other municipalities and their major developments. Went on to say that the judgement was from a ‘legal member’ and ‘whether something is regarded as reasonable is a matter of policy’ ‘rather than planning scheme’ so it’s not necessarily ‘fair to the tribunal to say’ that it’s a bad decision because they have to ‘implement the law’ even though council mightn’t like the decision.

Delahunty then asked Torres whether this amendment would ‘slow down our efforts’ on advocacy? Torres said ‘no’ in that there ‘are other examples in other councils’. Delahunty accepted the amendment.

HYAMS: said ‘there is also a matter of principle here’ because VCAT was supposed to ‘apply the objectives’ of the Incorporated Plan and the ‘objective is social housing’. ‘They are now saying they are not going to have social housing’ and he ‘can’t see’ how this is in keeping with the plan. Claimed that another objective was ‘that there be no loss of on street parking’ and the VCAT decision means that they are losing car spaces to the ‘net loss of 45’. These are mostly metered parking spots, so ‘it will be a cost to the community’. Hoped that they would ‘also be looking’ to see ‘how we can reverse that’.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

COMMENTS

 

The history of Caulfield Village is literally the history of utter failure by Council to do its job of land management competently, transparently, and for the benefit of residents. Over the years, every single aspect of this project has been mired in controversy, lies, and repeated cave-ins. The machinations go back right to the beginning with the establishment of a Special Committee to decide on the C60 and which consisted of Hyams, Lipshutz, Esakoff and Pilling. These 4, together with Newton and this administration did everything in their power to accede to every MRC demand.

Not surprising that the developer keeps winning when the Incorporated Plan is literally such a joke and should never have been accepted by the 4 councillors involved. The municipality is now paying the price for this collusion and incompetence.

Admittedly, Delahunty was not part of these earlier decisions and to her credit she, Magee and Lobo have been consistent on their demands for social housing. The same cannot be said for Hyams and Esakoff. Here is what the former said when the first amended Development Plan for Precinct 1 came in – ie more dwellings and reduction in 3 bedroom apartments leading to more single bedroom apartments.(taken from our post of May 3rd, 2015)

HYAMS: said there will be more apartments, thus more people, but the ‘building still stays’ within the parameters of the incorporated plan. Said that objectors raised the issue of ‘lack of diversity’ but ‘I don’t know that there needs to be that diversity in every site – there needs to be diversity across Glen Eira’. So even though there will be many one and two bedroom places there are ‘family sites around the area’ so that’s the diversity. As for social housing ‘that is a requirement’ for the end of the development but ‘I don’t think there was a requirement’ for social housing in ‘every single part’ of the development. Didn’t think that it was ‘appropriate’ for council to ‘move the goal posts’ now in regard to social housing. He was ‘sure this would be enforced in due course’.

As for the role of the administration and its planning department, the following quote from the Camera report on the first Development Plan should be enough to convince readers of either how incompetent they are, or how committed they are to basically duping residents.

This document gives certainty to the local community by precisely stipulating building envelopes; their heights, setbacks, and siting. It can be said that the Caulfield Village development is one of the most planned development sites in the municipality. The future development of this land has been “locked in” following a rigorous community consultation and amendment process, the community now has a high level of certainty in what to expect at Caulfield Village

Finally, a word of warning to residents on the Virginia Estate proposals. Their draft ‘management plan’ is basically a duplicate of the MRC plan for social housing. They have undoubtedly witnessed the successes of the MRC and are employing identical tactics. We can only hope that with this new council, they will have learnt the lessons of the past when it comes to deciding on the Virginia Estate development – which we believe will dwarf what is occurring in the Caulfield Village.

Readers might also like to revisit one of our earlier posts – https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/are-we-about-to-be-screwed-again/

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