At the last council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to endorse the Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy. The discussion on this item should be further cause for concern since:

  • The emphases is clearly on growth and more growth despite the Hyams’ effort to deny this
  • Bentleigh East residents should definitely be gearing themselves up for at least 6 storey developments and probably many more areas earmarked for GRZ and possibly RGZ
  • The lame excuse that up-to-date census figures are not included because council is waiting for vital employment data. Please note that this release will basically reveal figures of work by sex, age, and broad categories of employment – ie ‘professional’, etc. The only scrap of really important data would be how residents travel to work – ie walk, car, train, bus. There is literally no valid excuse why current figures have not been incorporated into these latest documents – except that they prove several things that council would like to ignore – ie less population than projected; increase in apartments standing empty; decline in residents over 75; well above state average for 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, etc. etc.

Readers should also question why the gallery is repeatedly subjected to waffle and more waffle instead of actually focusing on the documents themselves and DEBATING the issues and the recommendations.

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Athanasopolous moved motion to accept as printed. Taylor seconded.

ATHANASOPOLOUS:  said that everyone knew at end of last year that council was ’embarking’ on structure planning and this ‘document is one part of that body of work’. It was ‘a great piece of work’ and there will always be ‘some things that aren’t identified’. But ‘the community was consulted on this’. Thought that the ‘outcome, balances the community expectation’ and ‘what the state expects’. Congratulated council and officers and ‘the community for being a big participant’. Hoped that ‘we will continue to produce work like this’ to ‘shape the future’ of the city.

TAYLOR: said it was a ‘huge body of work’ with over 4000 responses to the consultation and she wanted to ‘keep this coming’ in the further consultation. There will be plenty of options that inform people so council ‘isn’t hiding’ this from people and they really want input. The ‘standouts’ were that people wanted a ‘diversity of housing’ that catered for different ‘age-groups’ and for ‘people of different ability’ and ‘different socio-economic backgrounds’ plus ‘families’. People wanted ‘density’ to focus ‘on the activity centres’ and ‘less on the smaller streets’. People also wanted to ‘maintain the heritage and character’ of places. Said that ‘we do have to wait for Census data’ since she’d seen something on social media that asked ‘why do you need to wait?’. Said that ‘we have to wait’ until October 2017 because ‘we will get more important data’ on employment, and people’s vocation, ‘work place address’, and how they get to work. ‘We can’t ignore this vital information’ and they want a complete report. Without it, the report ‘won’t be useful and it will have gaps’ and ‘won’t serve the community in the way it needs to do’. Stated that it’s ‘important to have a dynamic document that continues to respond’ to the community and ‘this important data’ that they currently don’t ‘have access to’. The 4 structure plans are really important in that council has a ‘clear roadmap’ of ‘where we’re going’.

HYAMS: thanked submitters. Said this isn’t the end of a stage because the document ‘will be changed’ because ‘of further census data’ and more feedback from ‘the other consultations’. Called the document a ‘set of’ ‘guidelines’ that is the ‘skeleton’. Said there ‘were some changes from the original’ and these were that ‘the word vibrant was taken out’ since ‘that word did seem to cause a fair bit of angst’ and that people wanted their centres to be ‘lively’ but also ‘safe’ and ‘sedate’. Student housing also went in as an additional category of housing. This was important because people were thinking we ‘are allowing student housing when we’re actually not’ in certain areas. Caulfield South and Bentleigh East were also changed and ‘redefined as larger neighbourhood centres’. This is ‘basically the same as a neighbourhood centre’ but ‘maybe a bit more development’. Worth noting that in terms of shop floor space that Bentleigh East is ‘larger’ than Glen Huntly but has got less public transport and that’s why ‘it’s not the same’ but ‘it is probably appropriate that it be differentiated’ given its commercial size. Thus the housing ‘might be more 4 to 5 storey shop-top’. ‘We shouldn’t be seeing this as an attempt to encourage growth’. ‘We don’t want growth but have to accept that growth is happening’. So they have to ‘channel it in the most efficient way’. The plan therefore ‘sets out where employment opportunities should focus’ and ‘where different types of housing’ should go. So ‘if you’re looking for an absolutely prescriptive plan for every house in Glen Eira’ this isn’t it but rather a ‘broad brush’ stroke.

SZTRAJT: Said that council can accept or reject development applications but ‘at the end of the day other bodies such as VCAT’ ‘make the decisions’. ‘If we don’t provide these types of guidelines’ then council is ‘opening ourselves up to unelected officials who don’t live in the area’ making decisions ‘about what’s appropriate’ for us. ‘This is a way’ for the community to ‘tell us not only where development should happen’ but ‘what it should look like’ and ‘how it should be integrated into public transport’.  Said that ‘this is the ideal’ that it’s a plan ‘where we (say) what we want for our community and as a community’. Said he is ‘proud’ of what has ‘gone into’ the document and it is a ‘very impressive process’ of consultation.

MAGEE: said this is ‘all about building a much stronger local community’. The document moves council forward but ‘it is not the end of the journey’. This has to work with Plan Melbourne as well as the community/council plan. ‘This is something that will continue to evolve’. Said he had talked with a resident who had moved into Carnegie and she was ‘absolutely amazed’ what a great ‘city’ Glen Eira was. She hadn’t thought she ‘could afford’ to live in Carnegie ‘next to a railway station’ and a ‘really vibrant place’ as she ‘called it’. Council didn’t ‘supply’ the building but council did make sure that the building ‘complied with out planning scheme’. Council has to look at ‘where people live and where people work’. Said ‘I would hate to see Glen Eira purely as a residential city’. It has to be a place where people can work and not have a ‘one hour commute’. Said it’s been ‘nice’ to hear positive comments coming from residents especially around the Bentleigh and East Bentleigh area on ‘what’s happening in the city’.  There are ‘several tiers’ to the structure planning and this is ‘one tier’. Looking forward to further feedback and currently it is ‘8 to 2’ on the feedback – 8 positive and 2 negative.

DELAHUNTY: said it was an ‘incredibly’ important and ‘detailed piece of work’ and that ‘I’ve learnt a lot’ like what to call ‘that bit around Caulfield Station’ since ‘we’re all calling it different names’ and ‘what goes in a framework and what stays out of a framework’. Strategic planning is ‘sometimes about patience and getting the levels right’. So this ‘sets up the framwork’ for the future in how the ‘city looks and reacts’. Wasn’t ‘sure that I completely agree with Cr Hyams’ in saying ‘we don’t want growth’. Want ‘growth that we will be able to manage it in a way’. ‘We don’t want necessarily to shut the gates’. Victoria is the ‘recipient of the great benefits that growth has given’ but a bit ‘overwhelmed’ in how to ‘manage that in people’s best interests’. ‘We can’t shut the gates in Glen Eira’ and the plan is how to ‘manage the look and feel’ of growth. Agreed with colleagues that the strategy has been commented upon and had changes as a result of consultation. Thanked residents and ‘officers for their work’.

ATHANASOPOLOUS: thanked councillors for explaining ‘what this strategy means for you and what you got out of the process’. Said that one of the ‘most glaring’ stats he’d seen was that 80% of residents worked outside the municipality. Thought that ‘number is quite high’. Said that ‘retail is fantastic’ in most places including neighbourhood centres. Other forms need to be ‘encouraged’ and that the city is ‘craving’ for this. ‘great work’ and thanked the community ‘for being involved’.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

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