Monthly Archives: February 2017

MORE HIGHRISE FOR CENTRE ROAD BENTLEIGH

A group of concerned residents (Centre Road Bentleigh Group) has been formed to oppose the seemingly constant highrise development that is occurring along Centre Road, Bentleigh. The latest planning permit application is for a 9 storey development at 277-9 Centre Road.  Details of the current and past planning permit applications are included in the below posting that has been prepared the CRBG.  GERA supports the group and encourages residents to do the same – the group may be contacted via email at centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com

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OPPOSE THE DESTRUCTION OF CENTRE ROAD BENTLEIGH

The residents of Bentleigh are extremely disappointed about the unplanned and inappropriate developments in Centre Road.  At this stage, two major developments have been approved: 8 storeys at 324 Centre Road and 7 storeys at 342 Centre Road with two other major developments going through the application process: 8 storeys at 348 Centre Road and 9 storeys at 277 Centre Road (refer map).  Of further concern is that limited communication of these significant developments to the broader community has occurred.

Given that no height limits exist for the commercial areas of Centre Road Bentleigh and there is no structure plan in place, Centre Road is highly exposed to total destruction with these developments being the start of an absolute disaster.  Years of planning neglect have resulted in a totally ad hoc approach to development and unless this is stopped the legacy for the community will be atrocious.  This unfortunately is the same situation for other commercial areas in the City of Glen Eira.

This situation is totally unacceptable and we seek your objection to the 277 Centre Road development, which is currently being advertised.  This will continue to send a clear message to Council that the residents of Glen Eira care and are passionate about the place in which we live. 

 To deliver the right long-term outcome, and consistent with surrounding municipalities, we are seeking the introduction of the right planning framework (including structure planning, height controls, traffic management, etc.) as a matter of the highest priority.  This will ensure that Bentleigh (and surrounds) are passed onto the next generation with respect and consideration.  We don’t need development we need a clear plan, this ad hoc approach to development must stop.

We ask that Councillors embrace this opportunity and work collaboratively with residents to achieve an outcome that respects the importance of developments in making places special for people and as an outcome contribute to building stronger communities.

 The map below shows the developments approved and development applications. centre-rd-devts

 What You Can Do

  • Lodge an objection to the proposed 9 storey development by the end of February. To assist with your objection, a Sample Objection  is provided.  Details of how to submit your objection are provided on the bottom of the Sample Objection.  However you choose to submit your objection please remember to include your Name, Contact Details (address and telephone no.), Signature and Date. 
  • Email centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com if you want further details

THIS DESTRUCTION MUST BE STOPPED

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Community Gardens in Glen Eira

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A perennial issue in Glen Eira is residents desire for community gardens (particularly in or near the Growth Zones) and Council’s reluctance to support community gardens.  

Sure, without some organizational structure and Council support they can be difficult to establish and maintain on a long term basis. However, as has been shown in other inner and middle ring metro Melbourne municipalities, enthusiastic volunteers, guidance from various associations and Council support have created some very successful and creative community gardens, that have had a significant community impact. Checkout – 5 of the best Community Gardens in Melbourne, Melbourne community garden and Maribyrnong City Council – Community Gardens

GERA supports establishing community gardens in Glen Eira and also Glen Eira’s growing number of  “grass roots” community garden advocates.

As per the below article (to appear in this weeks Leader), GERA proposes the inclusion of community gardens in our campaign for the “opening up” of the Racecourse Centre Parkland.  In our view it’s an ideal location – easily accessible from the high density development occurring in Glen Eira and Stonnington and smack dab in the middle of an area known for an abundance of cheap fertilizer, ie. horse manure.

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Come along tomorrow evening (15/02/2017) and check it out.   Details are in our previous posting

Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – Community Gathering 15/02/2017

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For those who don’t know in 1858 a Crown Grant established the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve with 3 separate yet equal purposes – racecourse, public recreation ground and public park (Caveat on Title).  Yet over the past 20  years lack of oversight and mismanagement (State Government and Board of Trustees) has allowed racing and racing’s commercial activities to dominate the reserve to the exclusion of the public park purposes.

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The scathing September, 2014 Auditor General Report into the management of the reserve graphically identified the current  imbalance in usage of the Reserves 54 ha (valued at $2bn), that has resulted from that lack of oversight and mismanagement, as being

  • 11 hectares (20%), is leased by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) for a flat rate of approx. $170,000 p.a.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used by MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement.  (GERA comment – to put this 37 hectares in perspective, it is roughly the equivalent to the combined size of Glen Eira’s two premier parks – Caulfield Park (24.9ha) and Princes Park (12.4ha.)
  • 6 hectares (11%) is open space for potential use by the community on restricted days at restricted times. Use of the racecourse parkland by the public is not actively promoted nor visible from the surrounding streets.  It is also difficult to physically access and comprises limited facilities that don’t meet park users’ needs.

It is now almost 2.5 years  since the AG’s Report and, although “opening up” the Reserve for public use by the surrounding communities of Glen Eira and Stonnington would be significant*, only scant information is available on progress and little has been achieved at “ground zero”.  Therefore, GERA, in conjunction with the Malvern East Group (a.k.a. Stonnington residents group), invites you to a Community Gathering at Caulfield Racecourse between 6.00 & 8.00 pm on Wednesday, 15th February, 2015.

The purpose of this event is twofold

  • To increase community usage of the our parkland by
    • Increasing community awareness of the 2 public park purposes of this Reserve and
    • Providing an opportunity for the community to visit the park and experience it’s magnitude and beauty.
  • To provide local residents with an opportunity to join the campaign seeking increased State Government actions, that are geared to
    • redressing the imbalance in racing vs. public usage of this public land, and
    • ensuring compliance with the Auditor General’s recommendation for open and transparent management this public land.

We hope you will be able to attend.

Public Parkland Access Point Details & Opening Hours

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*Significance of “Opening Up” the Reserve

  • Glen Eira has the least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne, Stonnington the second least
  • Caulfield Racecourse is located
    • just south of Dandenong Road which is the boundary between the two municipalities.
    • Residents in both Municipalities experience adverse amenity impacts (traffic, parking and noise) from racing and racing commercial events.
    • In both Municipalities, the residential areas surrounding this small stretch of Dandendong Road are targeted for, and are currently experiencing, high density growth.

EAST VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT – PROPOSED PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENT

UPDATE – 7/2/2017  – COUNCIL TO ENSURE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

At tonight’s Council Meeting, the proposed partnership agreement with the Victorian Planning Authority for the East Village Development Site  was amended and approved.  The amendment includes significant and effective community engagement during the developments planning process.

Congratulations to Council for hearing the call and to residents for answering the call to action – it’s a good outcome.  Hopefully, it bodes well for future community engagement.

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Original Posting 4/2/2017

GERA urges all readers and residents to read this Agenda Item 9.2 for Tuesday’s 7th February Council Meeting

The purpose of this report is to seek Councillor endorsement for a proposed partnership with the Victoria Planning Authority (VPA) to assist Council to undertake the structure planning and preliminary planning for the ‘East Village’ site.

For those not aware – the East Village site (24ha or 240,000 sqm) is an expansion of the previously rejected Virginia Park Re-development Proposal (12.3ha).  Located near the corner of North and East Boundary Roads, development of this massive site is severely constrained by the site’s limited vehicular and pedestrian access and a lack of accessible public transport.

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The VPA has significant experience in development planning for challenging and significant sites.  As outlined in a letter attached to the Officer’s Report, the VPA, in close collaboration with Council, will undertake

– Project management, including convening meetings between VPA, Council and Developers

– Coordination of State agencies and utility service providers

– Preparation of structure plan and appropriate amendment material

– Assistance and support as required

Development Planning to be completed by September, 2017 with community consultation occurring after Structure Planning (May/June) and after September.

While GERA welcomes the recommendation for VPA involvement (it brings to the table a level of expertise and resources that quite simply are beyond the usual planning functions of Council), the report raises significant concerns re community engagement.   Such a massive site has far reaching and potentially adverse implications for the surrounding community.  Therefore, it is extremely important that open and transparent community engagement is embedded in the development planning process.

Unfortunately, neither the Officers Report nor it’s attachments provide details on how such community engagement is to be achieved.  Officers reporting to Council at key decision points or Council presenting completed plans (“done deal”) for residents to comment on does not constitute good or appropriate community engagement.

GERA therefore urges

  • Councilllors representing us to put forward an amendment to the Officers Recommendation that states:

That a decision on this proposal be deferred at this time so that Councillors have more time to consider the proposal and how best to actively provide for community input during the development planning process.

  • Residents to contact all Councillors (email and/or mobile) prior to Tuesday’s Meeting, to urge them to support the proposed amendment.   Remember – the strongest message is numbers, your support in contacting Councillors is vital.

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Councillor Contact Details

Sample email – feel free to cut and paste.

Subject: Agenda item 9.2  for Tuesday’s 7th February Council meeting

While I welcome the recommendation for VPA involvement, Agenda Item 9.2 raises significant concerns re community engagement.   Such a massive site has far reaching and potentially adverse implications for the surrounding community.  Therefore, it is extremely important that open and transparent community engagement is embedded in the development planning process.

Unfortunately, neither the Officers Report nor it’s attachment provide details on how such community engagement is to be achieved.  Officers reporting to Council at key decision points or Council presenting completed plans (“done deal”) for residents to comment on does not constitute good or appropriate community engagement.

I therefore urge you to put forward/support an amendment to the Officers Recommendation that states:

That a decision on this proposal be deferred at this time so that Councillors have more time to consider the proposal and how best to actively provide for community input during the development planning process.

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