GE Kindergartens/Childcare


Residents have their chance to address council on the budget this Tuesday night. 17 submissions have been sent in – a huge increase. The comments (highlights presented below) range from unacceptable charges and rate increases, poor policy documents, that are so out of date they belong in a museum, and lack of real consultation with residents.

Before presenting these ‘highlights’, we draw readers’ attention the most ridiculous set of tenders ever entertained by this council. When councils all over Victoria are being urged to tighten their belts and be accountable for the expenditure of ratepayers’ hard earned dollars, Glen Eira council is its wisdom is about to spend a million dollars on unnecessary ‘trifles’. It appears that for this council the major priority is to promote itself rather than address the needs of residents. Here are the details of the proposed tenders –

  • Mystery shopping program for GESAC – $40,000
  • Point of Sale system for Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre – $150,000
  • The supply of promotional items for sale/giveaway from Glen Eira City Council – $400,000
  • And $390,000 to plant a few trees and grass in the Carnegie forecourt! (mind you, no ADDITIONAL open space, just the usual expensive tinkering – which begs the question why the first design was ever countenanced).

This expenditure should be read in the light of resident comments below –

Deliberate, repeated deception and secrecy in governance and cover up continuing

I note that Glen Eira’s half-page Street Lighting policy dates from 2002 and as such is completely out of date. I suggest that this policy be comprehensively revised with the inclusion of the environmental and health impacts of light at night before such a program (ie LED) is contemplated.

…this year’s planned increase in rates of approximately 4.94 per cent, which is almost four times the current inflation rate, is completely unnecessary and unacceptable. (Please note: this resident has obviously been duped by the manner in which council has publicised its rate increase. The increase is 6.5% and NOT 4.94%!)…During March of this year, most of the kerbing, footpath and landscaping at this location, has been reworked at considerable expense to the Ratepayers of the City. In my opinion, the works appear to have only completed superficial changes, which I regard as unnecessary. Furthermore, it is unconscionable that the developer of this site is able to reap the profits, when the roadworks surrounding this property development have been required to be reworked as a direct cost to Glen Eira Ratepayers. ….it appears that the Council decision makers are intending to apply different principles because their accountability is obscure, and Ratepayers do not generally feel that the outcome of the objection process is likely to be worthy.

I consider the $450,000 allocated towards the construction of the Eskdale Road/Fitzgibbon Crescent Caulfield North new open space to be an unnecessary and terribly wasteful expense. The proposed new open space is small and is unwarranted as it is located within easy walking distance of Caulfield Park and therefore is unlikely to be used by many residents.

Supply of places (childcare) may exceed demand due to council charging too high fees for the service the centres provide. Whilst I am very conscious of the quality of care and the homely environment provided for children at the centre my child attends (which was a primary factor in choosing this centre), it is my understanding that other centres in Glen Eira provide nappies and even cooked meals. Parents have to provide these at the conoucil-run centre in Carnegie. Other centres also provide excursions…..It is actually my understanding that kinder places are funded by the State or Federal Government (which makes the cost significantly lower for parent who have the flexibility to put their child into a straight-up kinder program) and that the City of Glen Eira is not passing that funding on to parents through reduced fees for children in the Kinder-year.

Currently, there is no allocation in the budget to redress the steady erosion of resources and facilities for passive usage of Caulfield Park….Since the Conservatory has been removed, there is no shelter in the western end. This means that young and old have neighter shelter from the scorching heat of the summer sun, nor from biting winter wind and rain.

I appreciate that there are many opportunities for community input and consultation to Council deliberations generally, however feel that one area in which these opportunities are lacking, is in relation to the Children’s Centre. As far as I am aware, formal parent involvement in the governance of the centres is limited to an annual online survey, the results of which are not communicated. Input from the parents and the community has the potential to have direct impact on the bottom line, through suggestions that have cost savings, or revenue enhancement, implications.

As I can see the tennis courts are regulary used (ie at Carnegie pool) and appear to be in very good condition, why is $130,000 being spent to change them? Has there been any community consultation, and what is the reason for the change? (ie to convert to small sided soccer pitch)

The Draft Community Plan – Transport – page 28 proposes to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities but “only where balanced against maintaining traffic flows”. Is the council really wanting “more traffic faster” as the overriding objection of transport planning in Glen Eira? The priority for more faster traffic reads like a strategy from the 1960’s for freeways and not a way to create a livable local community with good sustainable transport choices. Instead the plan and councils transport planning programs and works should firstly prioritise pedestrians, then bikes, then public transport and lastly cars – as is current transport planning best practice…..The Walking Plan is mentioned in the transport section but is missing from the list of all strategies on page 42 – is that an oversight or a statement of priority?….The proposed investment of $150,000 would be insufficient to build more than 1 set of traffic lights on the Rosstown Rail Trail – let alone the many that are required. Does carrying over funds from last year also indicate poor action on implementation and a need to review how the plan is managed?

How can $50,000 be allocated to Thomas Street Reserve, McKinnon? Surely, four large old trees surrounded by bark and drought affected grass, on a double housing block, doesn’t constitute a ‘Reserve’….Only two seats are provided at bus stops between Thomas Stret and Wheatley Road North side and no seats on the South side. Elderly people sitting on fences and students sitting on the kerb, waiting for the bus, is demeaning.

For this post we feature two seemingly unrelated issues: quotes from the latest VCAT decisions which all overturned council refusals to grant permits and, an article from today’s Age, which addresses developers’ concerns about community voices at VCAT and Labor’s stated intention of ensuring that ‘community’ opposition to applications is enshrined in legislation and incorporated into VCAT’s decision making. What these two areas do have in common is that whilst community involvement is indeed welcomed with open arms, unless Councils’ planning schemes are amended and all the ‘loopholes’ closed off, then little will change in our view.

The following extracts taken directly from these latest VCAT hearings illustrate clearly why the Glen Eira Planning Scheme is currently failing its residents and is a boon to developers.

144-144A Hawthorn Road, North Caulfield – Zoned Commercial – The construction of a six-storey building (plus basement) accommodating two shops, 37 dwellings and associated car parking

There is nothing in the Planning Scheme to indicate that a uniform height is sought for buildings within this centre. Indeed, as noted during the course of the hearing, the land within the activity centre is not affected by any overlays that regulate built form outcomes, such as a Design and Development Overlay or Heritage Overlay. Activity centres are commonly characterised by a varied skyline or building profile. Heights vary, and it is not unusual to find that one building is taller than the others. It may well be that this building will be the tallest in the activity centre. If this were to eventuate, we do not consider it to be an unacceptable planning outcome as, ultimately, it is likely that the disparity in the height with other buildings would be confined to something in the order of two storeys. We consider this to represent an acceptable graduation in height within this context.

We acknowledge the Council’s concerns regarding the impacts associated with a series of incremental approvals that reduce parking requirements for new developments. We also recognise that this centre lacks an off-street public car park. Parking provision in the activity centre is a broader strategic planning issue that should be approached on a centre-wide basis. If warranted, such an exercise may lead to the introduction of a Parking Overlay, for example, that would assist the Council in achieving its objectives in respect of satisfying the car parking requirements of the centre over the longer term.

Source: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2015/204.html

252-254 Tucker Road, MCKINNON – Zoned Neighbourhood Residential – To construct a two storey building over a basement, to use the land for a child care centre and to erect a business identification sign. The child care centre would accommodate up to 132 children and 33 staff.

Mr O’Leary advised that Council would not prosecute ground 6 on the Refusal to Grant a Permit as the trees referred to in the grounds of refusal have been removed.

  • The responsible authority says the child care centre should be located within a housing diversity area because it is a large centre. The responsible authority says that non residential uses such a child care centre in minimal change areas should be smaller, less intensive activities than this proposal, and the larger facilities should locate in housing diversity areas. Council says that clauses 21.08 and 22.11 encourage non residential facilities such as medical clinics and child care centres to be small and operate from existing dwellings. This approach would enable dwellings to be retained (possibly for housing choice and neighbourhood character reasons) and to limit possible off site amenity impacts.
  • While I accept the policy encourages the use of existing dwellings, I am not persuaded clauses 21.08 or 22.11 explicitly distinguish between small and large facilities. Policy does not contain any indicators of intensity such as number of staff, children, floor area, car parking spaces or the like that could distinguish a large centre from a small centre.
  • Furthermore, I note that Council has had the opportunity to distinguish between larger and smaller centres. Amendment C123 proposes to amend clause 22.11 but it does not refer to larger or smaller centres. The amendment does not seek to include conditions in the table to the NRZ that could prohibit larger centres from the zone.

Source: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2015/201.html

10 Bolinda Street, Bentleigh East – Zoned Neighbourhood Residential – Construction of a two double storey dwellings above a basement level

The applicant pointed out that Council had incorrectly assessed the proposal against the Character Area 13 precinct and the review site is within Character Area 15 East Bentleigh, south of Centre Road.

Source: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2015/199.html

THE AGE ARTICLE

Don’t give Victoria residents a bigger say – developers

Date: March 12, 2015 – 12:15AM

Residents should not be given a bigger say at Victoria’s planning tribunal because it would not be “fair”, according to a developer lobby group.

In a letter to the Premier and ministers, the Property Council’s Victorian executive director Jennifer Cunich said they opposed  “the Government’s plans to add additional weight to community opinion in regard to VCAT decision-making”.

“Such a move goes against the very basis of a just and fair legal system. We would consider any attempt to make such changes a fundamental deterioration of Victoria’s legal apparatus,” it said.

Labor has pledged to amend the Planning and Environment Act “so that, where appropriate, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) must take into account the extent of community opposition to planning proposals”.

“The changes would see significant community opposition – such as that in response to Tecoma McDonald’s or Prahran’s Orrong Rd Towers – formally taken into account,” Labor said in its election commitments.

Labor said the changes were not about appeasing a noisy minority and instead would give locals a fair hearing and recognise a community standing together.

James Larmour-Reid, from the Planning Institute, urged caution in relation to the proposed reforms.

“Community engagement is central to our planning system, but we need to make sure  that VCAT decisions are based on planning principles and policies,” he said.

While it was completely reasonable for the planning tribunal to take into account community sentiment, “sentiment alone cannot be allowed to drive the outcome”.

Opposition planning spokesman David Davis said the government’s promised tribunal changes were “light on detail”.

“What does it really mean and how will this actually operate?” he said.

“If the plan is to make the capacity of people to object more accessible in a reasonable way, we’re in favour of that,” he said.

The Property Council’s priorities letter also called on the government to sell Victoria’s share of the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme, old school sites and disused rail land to help fund new infrastructure.

It also calls for a flexible urban boundary – “a firm urban growth boundary will unnecessarily restrict supply” and calls on the government to continue support for the Victorian Energy Efficient Target Scheme to reduce energy bills and emissions.

Some of the former Coalition government’s planning actions were criticised in the letter.

“The former government’s decision to undertake rezoning prior to the release of the masterplan or vision for the precinct (Fishermans Bend) has caused widespread confusion and uncertainty,” the Property Council said.

On new housing zones, Ms Cunich said: “As they currently stand, the zones have caused much community angst, and will adversely affect Melbourne’s housing supply and affordability”.

Municipal housing targets should be set based on up-to-date population and demographic modelling.

A spokeswoman for planning minister Dick Wynne said: “The Andrews Labor Governnment promised it would give communities a fair go at VCAT, and this is what we will do.”

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/dont-give-victoria-residents-a-bigger-say—developers-20150311-141cq3.html

Here we go again. Another ‘report’ into an issue that reared its ugly head years ago and is still to be resolved – the toy library.

Magee and Pilling moved on November 13th that a report be prepared:” “on the Carnegie Toy Library currently located within the Carnegie Pool facility. Concerns have regularly been raised with Councillors about the inadequateness of this arrangement. This report should detail all options for improving the present service including:

‐ expanding the present facility

‐ identifying alternative suitable sites to relocate the service

‐ any grants or funding opportunities available.

The MOTION was put and CARRIED unanimously.”

History tells us that two and a half years ago this problem was known. In fact the library raised their concerns about a Health and Safety issue in June 2010 and made a submission to the budget at that time. Since the spin is continually about how this council is so concerned about its health and safety record we are amazed that for nearly 3 years nothing has been done to eliminate all potential risks. Below we feature the reports from the time in chronological order.

Full toy story for Caulfield’s library of fun

7 Jul 10 @ 10:20am by Jenny Ling

Toy library president Kym Arthur, with Liam and Zoe, says the library is running out of space.

A CRAMMED collection of toys at a Carnegie toy library has become a safety hazard for parents, staff and children, a report has found.

With membership numbers nearly tripling in 10 years, the Caulfield Community Toy Library is appealing to Glen Eira Council for funding so it can expand.

Library president Kym Arthur said up to 300 Glen Eira families now used the borrowing facility, up from 100 families when it opened at the Carnegie Swim Centre in 2000.

The number of toys has increased to 2500 to match demand.

A report, by design consultant Space Matters, said the small area had created a “serious occupational health and safety risk” and was “impacting the functionality, quality and range of services, as well as the safety of members and visitors”.

“We have just run out of space,” Mrs Arthur said. “We’re literally packed to the rafters. It’s very dangerous.”

The report, submitted to the council, proposes $7500 funding for extra storage space or $180,000 to construct a demountable building on the site.

The construction of the $41 million Bentleigh East aquatic centre had also put pressure on the library because equipment was being stored at Carnegie during the work, she said.

Glen Eira Mayor Steven Tang said the council would “look at the future of the library as part of any decision about the future of the Carnegie site after GESAC is opened”.

“If they have identified an occupational health and safety issue they would need to resolve it,” Cr Tang said. “One way of doing that would be to reduce the amount of stock at that premises.”

Now, two and a half years later, the Leader has run this story –

Cramped Carnegie toy library needs space

7 Nov 12 @ 05:00am by Andrea Kellett

GLEN Eira families have new hope that a solution can be found to their toy library’s space problems.

Caulfield Community Toy Library members are delighted Glen Eira councillors have called for a report into expanding their “cramped” service.

Council officers have been asked to consider options including expanding the existing space at the Carnegie Swim Centre, or relocating it. Parents have for years begged the council to help them find more room. They have nowhere to hold meetings, nowhere for children to play, little room to move, no heating, no dedicated space for toy repairs and not enough display room.

President Jo Prendergast said meetings were held at a local pub and half of the children’s costumes could not be displayed. “There are so many good toys here and you can’t see them or get to them,” Ms Prendergast said.

She has grand visions for the toy library to become a “community space”. “This could be more than just a toy library.” But for now, she and vice-president Corinne Goudge are pleased the library’s needs are “on the council’s radar”.

Cr Neil Pilling asked for the report, saying volunteers were “drowning in toys”. Mayor Jamie Hyams said the problem had dragged on for years.

The Caulfield Community Toy Library is at the corner of Moira Ave and Lyons St, Carnegie.

COMMENTS:

  • GESAC has been operating for 6 months now, but clearly nothing has been done to solve the issue
  • Why has it taken nearly three years for any action to eventuate – especially if there is a health and safety risk?
  • 6 of the current 9 councillors were in office at the time this was first brought up. What have they done to resolve the issue in the meantime, especially after the toy library’s comprehensive budget submission of 2010 (uploaded here)
  • How long will it take for the officer’s report to appear? Will it actually provide funding, sensible recommendations, or will the status quo continue?

Hefty price rises hit family hard

  • by: Susie O’Brien
  • From: Herald Sun
  • December 02, 2011 12:00AMTudor
Tasman and Brigid Tudor with Jasper, 2, and Maddison, 10 months. Picture: Jason Sammon Source: Herald Sun

DAD Tasman Tudor is furious that Carnegie Childcare Centre is about to become one of the state’s most expensive.

Run by Glen Eira Council, it will charge parents of children under two $116 a day before government subsidies. Mr Tudor’s children Jasper, 2, and Maddison, 1, both attend the centre, which will have two price increases after changes to government regulations.

The daily fee increased in July from $85 to $91 and will go up again next month to $116 for babies and younger children.

“The council is clearly profiteering from this centre and covering costs at head office,” he said. But council director of community relations Paul Burke said it had put in a $100,000 subsidy to keep the centre operating. “The simple fact is that an increase in standards has led to an increase in costs,” he said.

Parents from the two Bayside Council-run centres due to close by the end of 2013 are also angry. “It’s very sad for parents and staff … there’s just shock and disbelief,” Hampton East mother of two Sheri Haby said.

rebecca.thistleton@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Parents fight for centre

PARENTS have accused local, state and federal governments of buck-passing ahead of the planned closure of Elsternwick Children’s Centre on Christmas Eve.

Eighteen months after the centre’s impending closure was announced, parents are angry that they have not been offered an alternative in Elsternwick.

The council-run centre was based in a building belonging to Alfred Health’s Caulfield Hospital, which called in the 20-year lease to redevelop the land. Nicole Owen, whose two-year-old son, Liam, attends the centre twice a week, is part of the Save Local Childcare Coalition, a group of parents that has lobbied all levels of government to keep the centre open. Ms Owen said each had handballed responsibility.

‘‘No one will tell us when the site will be developed and our biggest worry is that it will sit vacant for a year or more,’’ she said.

Parents had asked the state government whether the centre could continue operating until the site was redeveloped but had not received a response. Ms Owen said she had tried unsuccessfully to find a place for Liam in several alternative centres and had been offered a transfer to the council-run Caulfield centre.

Glen Eira councillor Neil Pilling said the council needed a long-term childcare strategy to show how future demand would be met. The state government left childcare in the hands of councils, but Glen Eira Council was depending on the private sector to plug holes in the childcare system, which was unrealistic given land prices in the area, he said.

“Developers would make much more money putting units on a block instead of a childcare centre,” he said. “There have been no new childcare centres built in Glen Eira since 1999.”

Health Minister David Davis said the land was needed for a new brain injury facility. He said Glen Eira Council should develop a plan for childcare services to cope with a growing population.

Caulfield MLA David Southwick said parents had been offered places at Caulfield Children’s Centre where all staff would be transferred. Mr Southwick said he approached the education department to find a new site.

9.4 CENTRE RD KINDERGARTEN

Two hands went up – Tang’s & Magee. Esakoff declared that Tang’s hand went up first.

TANG: Moved that council don’t sell the Centre Rd kindergarten and that council supports extension of kinda places as required by the universal access report. Also to ‘develop new consultation with the community’. Also asked for rreport on population projections ‘for next 10 years and broken down by suburbs’. Lipshutz seconded.

Stated that he moved the motion because he was ‘concerned’ that it was ‘contrary to the direction that council has taken’….(ie Packer Park, Nina Reserve where no council land was sold). ‘thought they were good decisions…(the expansion of car park at Bailey reserve was) ‘not as good a decision’…..(This suggests) ‘that council take a service that it already provides ….and put it onto public open space at Centenary Park…(.admitted that the open space wasn’t used well there & compared this to Packer Park and the need for) a’ 50 year vision’. (Council has made this mistake before and he doesn’t want to make it now). Doesn’t think ‘the report is strategic…….is basically ignoring the policy position that council has taken….(Early years plan considered population and kindas, plus childcare) ‘and adopted an action plan’ to 2013. (If council is now considering a new plan then that’s okay or to cater for highest need that’s also okay) ‘I don’t think this proposal does any of those…..this proposal looks at an area of open public space….let’s put money into it…The results of community consultation would be almost overwhelming in favour of a new kindergarten (but if you asked any area if they wanted a new kindergarten you’d also get such positive results) ….’but I don’t think that’s a good reason’ (to support this)….(Concern is) ‘lack of strategic support for the project’. Urged councillors to ‘consider this in the light of recently adopted and supported plans’…

LIPSHUTZ: Supported Tang and claimed that there is a need for plans ‘you don’t simply go out pick a site and plot something there….what you do is you have to have a plan and work out where the need lies…..(council has got a plan and this) ‘demonstrated very clearly that McKinnon….were the areas that needed kindergartens….(if you ask people about kindergartens anywhere they would always say yes they want it in their area)….’that’s not the reason why you do it….you do it because there’s a need for it….(question is planning for the future and maybe Centre rd won’t be appropriate) ‘but that’s in the future’….right now we do have a plan that says McKinnon Carnegie’ (is most important)…(Argument about open space not being used so much. the answer is to) ‘develop it so it can be used….you’re going to have a much smaller kindergarten and the need is not there…..we need money (in lots of areas)…you can’t simply come along and say dot dot dot and put kindergartens there….that’s not our responsibility….try to enhance what we have got….

MAGEE: ‘I believe (this is an) opportunity to listen to your community…we don’t as a council identify projects very well….we’ve got in our city 1501 kindergarten places….(and 12 vacancies)….1500 people moving into melbourne every week….we could very easily be in a position in 12 months with 30, 40,50, 60 kids not being (allocated a place)….East Bentleigh is probably your entry point (to getting into Glen Eira because of housing costs)…we have an enormous amount of growth (2 primary schools and one has now 600 kids  compared to 7 years ago when it had 400. Explained the history of the park and how it was originally part of Moorabbin and when the amalgamation came plans were shelved) ‘that land is still sitting vacant, that land is still sitting waiting’….’Centre Rd kindergarten is on a very busy road (with 6 car parking spots and to pikc up kids have to walk 300 metres. As councillors not just getting reports and ‘saying that’s our policy…(or saying) ‘at the moment the need is McKinnon. Of course the need is McKinnon…(but ten years ago it probably wasn’t)…’we need to have vision to look forward….we can’t just say at the moment there is 12 vacancies (and we’re doing well)…’we’re not doing well’….I would like to see 50 vacancies or a 100 vacancies…(not good enough for someone to stand up and say it’s not needed. 6 years ago it wasn’t needed but now it is)….‘we need to plan for childcare in the city of Glen eira…and we don’t have one (plan)…’we have no long term strategic plan’…..somone has to stand up and start saying (that)….(should be looking at) ‘where are we going to be in 5 years, where are we going to be in 10 years’….(to say it’s not needed, etc is just wrng) ‘and shows no forethought….we need to have visions…and we need to stand up and say so’.

PILLING: Supported Magee and stated that as councillors they needed to have ‘vision’ and support what the community needs.’there’s a growing need’, taken about 8 or 9 months to get to council….whole lot of resistance, I understand….’take a proactive role in representing our community….there are a lot of needs …

HYAMS: Closing centre rd and moving to Centenary Park, then council ‘would be getting a better site arguably….and $300,000 to $400,000…..could be 16 more places than we have now….Centre Rd (is registered for 25 kids, but can be developed since the playground area is large, so to move would be to) move it to an area that has fewer places….need to sell council property and take public open space….(Spoke about kinda in Brady Rd so this would be)’duplicating’ (services)….’put one where there isn’t one’…’will run out, run low on cash reserves…so another major capital works (would be put on hold)…Crs Magee and Pilling have disparaged process and I think (process is ‘quite important’…(mentioned the Auditor general’s report about capital works and how well Glen Eira rated….’there’s no point in planning ahead if we’re just gong to introduce these wildcat works…really what is the point of doing a strategic resource plan….the budget…if we decide we don’t need the supporting evidence at all…there are right ways of doing things and there are wrong ways of doing things…the right way of doing things is the way we have been doing it….doing it like this just sets a very dangerous precedent….where any councillor who decides they want any (thing will start pushing for it)…‘without any supporting evidence at all’….I would be amazed if anyone who knows anything about governments would suggest that this is the way to go about it’. MAGEE INTERJECTED HERE SAYING THAT ‘LIVING THERE FOR 25 YEARS IS ENOUGH…… Esakoff ‘Thank you Cr. Magee’.

PENHALLURIACK: Unfortunate ‘that we didn’t have the alternative motion to debate….you chose Cr. Tang. HYAMS INTERJECTED WITH A POINT OF ORDER – ‘Madam mayor I think that’s an imputation on yourself. I saw Cr Tang’s hand (go up first). ESAKOFF: ‘I agree and uphold that point of order’ Claimed that Tang’s hand went up first. Penhalluriack tried to say something, but was cut short with ‘I’m speaking’ by Esakoff. Stated that Magee’s hand went up after Tang’s.

PENHALLURIACK; ‘no negative imputation was implied.I wasn’t arguing about whose hand went up first…..(said that if the alternative motion was given to councillors first then) ‘the debate would have been about real things…we don’t have a copy of (Tang’s motion) for a start….We have been given $500,000 ….for Julie coooper Pavilion (land behind has been car park for 50 years) ‘It would be ideal on economy of scale to build …adjointing the pavilion…cahngin rooms rooms,toilets,….

ESAKOFF: Agreed with Tang – ‘it is contrary to recent decisions….not within our strategic planning….alienation of public open space….pavilion will be redevloped …because of its functionality, or lack of…when redeveloped it is going to have a much larger footprint….it is going to take in that wasted space….we are going to be losing that space as part of the new footprint…. MAGEE INTERJECTED WITH ‘YOU HAVEN’T BEEN THERE HAVE YOU?’ Esakoff – ‘Excuse me Cr!’ I have been there. My word I have been there. More than once!’ MAGEE continued and started to say that Esakoff was talking about something that she….(probably didn’t know anything about?) Esakoff then told Magee to ‘stop interrupting’. Esakoff contiued – ’12 vacancies…expand mcKinnon which would provide us with a further 50 places….Centre rd has room for expansion…to make this change now would actually be a loss of places….Brady Rd is running and there may be some opportunity to expand there too…(agree with Hyams about Attonrey Generall’s’….in any decision making we need a solid business plan….we do not have it (for this)…we have to have that solid business plan and backup for those decisions that we make…and this does not have it.’

TANG; ‘I was speaking to the report in the agenda….I don’t think anything I’ve said was off what’s in the public agenda…I don’t know what his concerns are…sale of Centre rd kindergarten is listed on page 15……

PENAHALLURIACK: point of order in that Tang’s motion ‘didn’t mention any of this’…Esakoff asked on what grounds the point of order?
PENHALLURIACK: Tried to complete what he was saying but Esakoff said that this wasn’t a ‘right of reply’ and that she needed ‘to know the grounds of point of order’…..’Sorry, I’m listening to Cr. Tang explain where his comments are coming from and that is on the agenda item. I dismiss that point of order’.

TANG; Stated that he didn’t really understand Penhalluriack’s point of order but he’d clarify. Explained that last week he told 4 councillors that he wanted to move a motion after all councillors had got the report. That he received at 3.39 today the ‘printed alternate recommendation that was suggesting that council consult on the concept drawings’…’Everything I spoke to was contained in the report all councillors received at the same time…so i resent that criticism…Cr Pilling held a forum on the issue (of kindergartens)….issues were raised (about need in all sorts of suburbs)…’that was the community identifying issues …not looking at statistics…but looking at the raw belief and emotion….and I support that and that came through very strongly….there are emotions involved there are real people involved….and I don’t think it’s been demonstrated that those real people want to spend a million dollars in expanding a kindergarten on the Centenary Park site…(over MckInnon kinda, bentleigh hodgson) and I see no reason why we shouldn’t support that over this one….we should look at all of the community…and not just this one project….(council could have included this in all its plans)….’it didn’t. If council want to change that, that’s fine….we review policies all the time….we should have a vision (but dealing with one kindergarten isn’t a vision)….I agree that councillors should take a proactive role…..let’s be proactive and create a ten year plan using the projections….

MOTION CARRIED: Against – Magee, Pilling, Penhalluriack, Forge. Lipshutz, Hyams, Esakoff, Tang and Lobo voted for.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Cr. Pilling requested an officer’s report on the enormous charge increases for 3 year old kindergartens. He stipulated that the report should also provide comparisons with prices at neighbouring councils. Pilling also expressed concern that the Glen Eira charges were at the ‘steep end’ of charges, especially in comparison to other councils. This request for a report was passed unanimously.

Pilling should be commended for his request and concern. However, we remind readers that we raised this matter as soon as the draft budget was published. We pointed out that by June 2012, parents of 3 year olds would be paying an extra $155 per week for their toddlers to attend a council run kindergarten. There was also a major story in the Leader which we featured. Alarm bells were thus ringing loud and clear months and months ago. So, why wasn’t this ‘concern’ expressed loudly and clearly at budget time – or even prior to then when plans were first being drawn up? Why is the request for a report put in months later, when the charges are already set in concrete? Perhaps Cr. Pilling did raise the matter in Assemblies. We don’t know. But the end result was that the budget was passed unanimously with a few minor adjustments (ie. 2 less sports grounds redone and  a rate drop to 6.5% instead of 6.95%).

So, we are now in the position of waiting for the Officer’s report – which could take months. And what will this actually achieve anyway? Will it bring charges down this year, next year? Will it actually make any difference to anyone? We can only conclude that if Cr. Pilling and others were so concerned about the exorbitant increase then they should have rejected the budget when they had the opportunity. To cry crocodile tears now is far too late.  And an Officer’s Report will fix nothing. It will be ‘noted’, and most probably go into the dustbin of history.

Next Page »