Monthly Archives: December 2011

Newsletters

Click on the links below to access GERA E-Newsletters

E-NEWS- 15th June, 2012

E-NEWS – 2nd April, 2012

E-NEWS – 26th February, 2012

E-NEWS 18th December, 2011

E-NEWS 1st December, 2011

On Street Parking

Glen Eira Council is responsible for managing parking within Glen Eira and states that Council  “attempts to ensure the equitable use of parking spaces, especially around shopping centres and major transport areas. Within these areas parking demand exceeds supply hence the need for parking restrictions to ensure a fair and equitable allocation system.”

A review of Glen Eira’s Residential Parking Permit Scheme includes the following:

  • No permits will be issued for the major streets of commercial areas within the municipality.  Where an applicant is the resident of a dwelling situated in a recognised commercial area and restrictions apply in that commercial area, any permits issued will be for the nearest adjacent street only.
  • Council reserves the right to exclude specific development from access to the scheme in particular locations.
  • Council reserves the right to vary the parking permit scheme entitlements between different locations.

Council approvals of high density developments,  with “a reduction of car parking requirements”  has increased dramatically in recent time.  Typically, onsite/off street carparking requirements are now:

  • one car space per one or two bedroom residences
  • two car spaces per three bedroom residence
  • one visitor car park per 5 residences (although developments with no visitor parking provisions are now appearing)

The arguments for allowing reduced car parking requirements are the excellent availability of interconnected modes of public transport and the need to encourage the use of sustainable transport options such as walking, cycling and public transport.

However, while the goal is admirable the reality is that the switch from private vehicle transport to sustainable transport options is transitioning and, for a host of reasons, will be transitioning for many, many years.    Most households (regardless of density) have two vehicles – so where will the second vehicle be parked?  Since most of these high density developments occur in areas designated as Activity Centres or  a “recognised commercial area” where restrictions apply, according to Council’s Resident Parking Scheme, the second car will be granted a resident permit for the nearest adjacent street.  Consider the impact on residential amenity in those “nearest adjacent streets” and flow on effects on other surrounding streets.

Within its Residential Parking Permit Scheme, Council has the right “to exclude specific development from access to the scheme in particular locations”.   To the best of our knowledge Council has only invoked this rule in one instance – the development of 221-229 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick, which comprises 10 storeys, 67 dwellings, 3 shops and 2 offices.  This development was approved at the May 17, 2011 Council Meeting and included in the Minutes is the statement that “Residents of the dwellings allowed under this permit will not be issued Residential Parking Permits (including visitor parking permits” (Page 539, Note D).   Yet, the onsite/off street parking ratios applicable to this development are as outlined above – so why was the rule applied to this development and not others?

Less than one month prior, Council approved the mammoth Caulfield Village Development (also known as C60) which has the same parking ratios as that for the 221-229 Glen Huntly Road development.   In the case of the C60 development, Council did not invoke the “will not be issued Residential Parking Permits” rule and instead opted to make the developer (the MRC) pay for the restricted parking signs.   How can this be justified?  The C60 did not have any councillor or CEO declaring a conflict of interest.  The Glen Huntly application did.

By not applying this rule to all developments (future and currently approved but yet to be built)

  • Residential amenity is being sacrificed, yet developers are gaining
  • Serious questioning should be asked of Councillors and the Administration re the rationale for their decisions on when to invoke the no permits to be issued decision.
  • Council is not optimizing its encouragement of use of sustainable transport options
  • Council actions are at odds with Council’s strategies on carbon emissions or traffic management or providing support for local traders/businesses.

Governance

Increasingly the community is expressing dissatisfaction with “governance” as practiced in Glen Eira.  It appears that there is a vast difference in Council’s views of governance (what it is and how well Council does it)  and the views of the community which council serves.   Unlike the other two tiers of government (Federal and State), Local Government does not have an opposition or objective media coverage to ensure that issues are publicised and alternate opinions are aired.   So we thought it appropriate to make some comments on this issue.

But first some definitions from the Municipal Association Victoria – “Good Governance Guide” and the  Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) paper titled “Local Government and Community Governance:  A Literature Review”

Governance – “is defined as the process of decision making, and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).  This gets to the heart of how local governments operate as decision making bodies and their relationship with the administration which advises Council and implements its decisions.  It also includes the way that local governments engage with their communities in this process.”

Good Governance – exists “when a government, governs for and on behalf of its community”.   Good Governance “is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law”.    Crucial to good governance is the requirement that “local governments establish what good governance means to them, and monitor and evaluate their success in a achieving it”

  • Participation is considered crucial. Participation needs to be informed (ie. appropriate documentation provided beforehand) and organized (so that participants feel part of the process)
  • Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations.   These rules and regulations ensure that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement, and that enough information is provided in an easily understandable form and media.
  • Effectiveness and efficiency means that processes produce results that meet the needs of the community while making the best, and most sustainable, use of resources.
  • Responsiveness means that local government and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Local  government  must be  accountable to the community and, within local government, the roles of  the elected representatives and the administration should be clearly defined.
  • Consensus oriented: Good governance requires mediation of the different interests in a community to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the whole community and how this can be achieved. It also requires a broad and long-term perspective.
  • Equity and inclusiveness:  Good governance depends on ensuring that all members of a community feel that they have a stake and do not feel excluded.
  • Rule of Law: Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that are enforced impartially.

Having outlined the above definitions and the inter related principles of good governance, it should be noted that  the role of local government is changing (due to state and federal legislation) and as a result the relationship of local government to it’s community is also changing.   The Glen Eira community is showing a growing interest in how the community is governed and a growing demand for greater participation in a wide range of issues.  Council on the other hand seems focussed on what it thinks residents want and this does not bode well for the concept of “working together”