Category Archives: Planning

Planning

ACTION AT LAST – OPENING UP THE CAULFIELD RACECOURSE

Four years on from the Auditor General’s report we finally see some real action on the opening up of the Caulfield Racecourse.

Within 5 years,  training facilities (tracks and stabling), located on the Reserve’s Crown Land, will be removed and the huge centre of the reserve opened up for public recreation and park usage.

As always information is scant and there are loads of major questions re what this actually means for public usage (staged implementation, development and funding of facilities) vs. those areas of Reserve to be leased for 65 years ( leasing arrangements ie areas, lease fees, terms and conditions).

A huge break, though how huge remains to be seen.  Unfortunately there are many public $’s being directed to Racing, rather than public usage, and another 65 years (up from 21 years) before any “next” break through.

MEDIA RELEASE  

Monday, 22 October 2018

INVESTING IN WORLD-CLASS RACING FACILITIES

The Andrews Labor Government is building new infrastructure and creating hundreds of new jobs at the Cranbourne Training Complex and Pakenham Racing Clubs as part of a major boost for racing in Victoria.

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula today announced a $17.5 million investment to create new facilities at both the Cranbourne Training Complex and Pakenham Racing Club as part of a $40.1 million joint funding package.

Thoroughbred training at the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve will be relocated over the next five years, to open up the reserve for greater public access and recreational use.

The Labor Government will invest more than $6 million at the Cranbourne Training Complex for the construction of additional stabling, an inside grass track, an equine pool and tunnel upgrades to accommodate additional horses.

More than $8 million will also go to the Pakenham Racing club for new stabling, new uphill grass and synthetic tracks and an additional equine pool. The project will accommodate an additional 600 horse boxes and create up to 200 new jobs during construction, with a total economic impact estimated to be more than $250 million.

Racing Victoria and the Melbourne Racing Club will contribute $22.6 million towards the project. Works at both facilities will begin immediately, to help relocations which may begin from mid-2020. Trainers will have up to five years to relocate from their existing facilities at Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The Government has approved a long-term lease between Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust and the Melbourne Racing Club to increase recreational opportunities and secure horse racing at the reserve for another 65 years.

As part of this, the Government will provide an additional $1 million to support the Trust to develop a long-term land use plan for the site, to open up the space and balance the needs of residents, racing stakeholders and community groups.

The Trust will develop a three year corporate plan that will set out the strategic direction and management of the reserve in close consultation with the local community.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula

“We’re investing in world-class facilities for the future at the Cranbourne Training Complex and Pakenham Racing Club to ensure that Victoria remains the premier racing state.”

“These new facilities will create hundreds of new jobs, provide a major economic boost for the racing industry and help ensure thoroughbred racing in Victoria keeps pace with international standards.”  

Quote attributable to Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio

“Through our legislation and the new long-term lease, we’re delivering on our commitment to establish a strong future for a more accessible Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.”

 Quote attributable to Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera

“Thoroughbred racing is a vital part of our community and this major investment will provide local jobs and ensure these facilities remain world class for years to come.”

 

 

 

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ELSTERNWICK – RESIDENTIAL DRUG REHABILITATION CENTRE

We’ve been asked by a group of concerned Elsternwick residents to draw the community’s attention to a retrospective planning permit application to operate a residential* Drug Rehabilitation Centre on the former Daily Planet Brothel site – 7-12 Horne Street, Elsternwick.

The site, recently acquired by a developer, has been let and is currently  operating as a residential drug rehabilitation centre.  Residents have advised that initially Council Officers felt (mistakenly in GERA’s view) that the site’s zoning of Commercial 1 did not require a planning permit for use as a residential drug rehabilitation centre.  However, the below significant issues, raised by residents since the centre commenced operating many months ago, has resulted in a Council “re-think”.  Hence the permit (Application No. GE/CP-32039/2018) now being sought for the already operating centre.

The residents, who are currently lobbying Councillors and seeking residents support, have clearly indicated to GERA that they are not objecting to an accredited drug rehabilitation centre operating at this location.  Rather they are

  • questioning and objecting to the adequacy of the centre’s current facilities and security provisions given the nature of the services offered
  • asking that the current permit application be rejected and current operations cease.
  • seeking assurances that, should a future similar permit application be received,  appropriate facilities and security provisions are provided and the due planning approval process is followed, prior to the commencement of operations.

For those interested in supporting the residents, please note that

  • a Planning Conference will be held on 22/10/2018 at 6.30 pm in the Town Hall Theatrette. Objections may be submitted at any time prior to the Conference
  • Council is scheduled to discuss and decide the application at the 7/11/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting.

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RESIDENT’S COMMENTS

  • There was no letterbox drop. Supposedly this meets planning regulations. We are disappointed by this and we believe the community is not fully aware of what is going on around them, but are not questioning this part of the Act.
  • Council are letting them operate without a permit and were allowed to continue to do so whilst they undertook the application process. Rules for some, different for others.
  • Some of our neighbours have been given a ‘tour’ of the facility when it opened its doors WITHOUT a permit many months ago, the general consensus was that residents who attended were greatly concerned with the lack of information provided on who the operators were, what credentials they had to run a facility like this, and what safety measures would be put in place for both surrounding and internal residents. Amongst the many aspects of the venues operations, we were informed:
    • The centre is an operational drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic.
    • Patients have moved in will live on site for up to 3 months (24/7).
    • The centre appears as a brothel and we question whether it is actually ‘habitable’.
    • They will accept anyone from heavy drug addicts (ice, heroine, MDMA, cocaine, etc) alcoholics, physiological problems to relationship issues. Such a range of conditions would require a very broad range of expert care.
    • Their application proposes 1-2 staff for every 6 patients.
    • Patients would be prescribed drugs whilst they are living on the premises and would be walking the local streets to collect these drugs themselves from the chemist.
    • Patients would be accessing the building from all possible entrances/exits (including the alley ways which access residential properties). They are free to come and go as they please.
    • No renovation work had happened inside as of June 2018, and we suspect this is still the case (directors mentioned lack of funds and no construction vehicles have been seen in the area since). It sill presents as the brothel once did (I am told and assume having never been in a brothel before). Soft furnishings still remain ( I understand they have acquired much of the furniture off the brothel), images of naked women adorned the walls, the bedrooms were kitted out with multiple beds and fully operational spa baths, mirrors etc. Not the type of environment we would have assumed would be conducive to rehabilitating patients?!
    • They have signed a 5 year lease. They implied the business had been set up by 3-4 individuals. They would not provide any clarity around who they were, what experience or qualifications (if any) they had. The ‘deal’ was proposed by one of the brothel staffers who ‘knew’ all the relevant parties and ‘set up the deal’ in his words. He still works there as of June 2018.  
    • Patients will pay $10k per month.
    • They could not clarify what security would be put in place. They said there were operational camera’s already installed however the only camera down the alleyway that accesses residential property has been seen disconnected and is facing a roof.
    • Residents and business owners have already noted windows have been smashed since the business opened and the number of ‘questionable characters’ hovering and walking the local streets and laneways has markedly increased with some residents experiencing disputes erupting from the premises that made them feel incredibly unsafe.
    • We understand that this type of establishment has very few rules/regulations around its operations.
    • Certain residents have been informed that this specific organisation is recruiting its patients from the outside the courts – offenders waiting for trial and wanting to seek bail must be enrolled into a centre like this one which will keep them out of jail.     

We appreciate the history of this site has been an interesting one but are seriously concerned with the type of clientele this facility is attracting and the lack of transparency and professionalism shown by the staff/operators.

 We would like the community to be aware of what is occurring at the ‘Daily Wellness Centre’

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UPDATE – 15/10/2018

One of our facebook readers has added the below link to our page.  It’s a 2016 Four Corners program on the private rehabilitation industry in Australia – the reader comments that very little has changed since the program aired.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/rehab-inc.-promo/7827128

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Footnote:

Residential = estimated duration of stays 2 – 12 weeks

MEET THE NEW TRUSTEES OF THE CAULFIELD RACECOURSE RESERVE

This posting serves as a reminder to those who were notified of the below Information Session and to extend the invitation to attend to others interested redressing Glen Eira and Stonnington’s chronic shortage of parkland and sporting facilities.

 

 BACKGROUND

As per the 2014 Auditor General’s Report, due to poor management of Reserve (the former Trust) and lack of oversight (by successive State Governments) has enabled its racing purpose to dominate the Reserve’s 54 hectares to the detriment of its public park and recreation purposes.

Current usage arrangements, have not changed from those outlined in the 2014 Report* and while the wheels of Government have moved slowly they have moved.  In September 2017, on the recommendation of a bipartisan working group legislation was introduced to

  • abolish the previous trust ( a Restrictive Trust) and establish a new trust framework, and
  • establish a transparent and modern governance model for the Reserve management.

 While it’s still “early days”,  the Information Session is the first step in a long process that gives the community an unprecedented opportunity for input into ensuring future Reserve usage recognizes and serves the needs of the community.

 INVITATION

The newly appointed (1st August, 2018) Trustees of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve have committed to holding three to four community information sessions a year plus an annual public meeting to engage and be transparent with the community about the management of the reserve.

Below is an invitation to the first community information session to be held on 4 October 2018 at the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The meeting will discuss the priorities the Trust has set for the next twelve months; including appointing a Chief Executive Officer and developing a land management plan, so come along meet the new trustees and ask questions.

Register your attendance via the link at the bottom of the above invitation and please circulate amongst your community.

Please note:   An alternate registration link is   Community Information Session: Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

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Footnote:

 As per the 2014 AG’s report (which remains unchanged) usage of the Reserve’s 54 ha (valued in 2014 as $2bn) is

  • 11 hectares (20%) is under lease for racing purposes.  The Annual rental of $170K is generally returned to the MRC for racing related projects.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used for racing purposes without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement, and
  • only 6 hectares (11%) is available as open space for the potential use of the community. That 6 ha comprises facilities that do not meet the needs of community, are not easy to physically access and are subject to restricted usage times.  No similar accessibility issues and time restrictions are applicable to racing usage.

Caulfield South Activity Centre – Community Gathering 27/06/2018

 

IMPORTANT MEETING

7 pm tomorrow, Wednesday 27/6

The South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) have invited our State MP, Mr David Southwick, together with our Camden Ward Councillors,  Joel Silver and Dan Sztrajt, to hear our stories. They need to understand why we signed the petition.

Now is the time for our voices to be heard. We need to demonstrate that there are many people concerned about the future of Caulfield South Neighbourhood Centre.

For further information and meeting details please email:  scag.sthcaulfield.action.group@gmail.com

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GERA was recently contacted by residents opposing a 3 storey (5 dwellings above basement car parking) development proposal in Pearce Street, Caulfield South.  However, as they “dug deeper” the residents not only learnt a lot about GE’s Planning inadequacies but also became increasingly concerned about

  • the lack of residents awareness of planning issues,
  • Caulfield South’s current and future development proposals and
  • possible upgrading of the Caulfield South Activity Centre from being a Neighbourhood (“lesser”) Centre to that of an Emerging Major Activity Centre.  SCAG feedback indicates that planning officers believe the upgrade has already occurred.

The South Caulfield Action Group’s formation has been highlighted by

  • lodging of a petition with Council for the implementation of a 2 storey height limit on small lots – 293 signatories and growing. A flyer depicting potential developments is attached.
  • Organizing the above meeting, to raise residents’ awareness of proposed planning changes and give the residents the opportunity to voice their views to those they have elected.
  • a determination to see residents views are duly considered with decisions that impact the South Caulfield Activity Centre are made.

Additional information prepared by SCAG

Comparative graphical presentation of ABS 2017-2018 Building Approvals – Glen Eira and other Metro Melbourne Councils.

GERA encourages residents to support this group and to attend the meeting.

 

Caulfield Station Precinct* Structure Planning – Community Workshop

“The Victorian Planning Authority is leading the preparation of a structure plan for the Caulfield Station Precinct, in partnership with Glen Eira City Council, Stonnington City Council, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Transport for Victoria (TfV).

 You are invited to share your thoughts and ideas about how to best shape the future of this place for the community by attending a Community Visioning Workshop.

The purpose of this workshop is to inform the community of the planning process and to seek views and input into the future of the area.

 Registrations are essential.   Light refreshments will be provided.”

Date: Wednesday 20 June 2018
Time: 6.30 – 9.00pm
Location: Monash University Caulfield, Ground Floor, Building H, Room H116 (Caulfield Campus Map)

GERA strongly urges both Glen Eira and Stonnington residents and recreational/sporting groups and clubs to attend this workshop  to get an understanding of what is being proposed and an awareness of it’s potential “flow on” impacts for surrounding areas.

We also encourage completing the VPA online survey.   

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This the first opportunity for the community input into the development of Structure Plans for the 122 ha Caulfield Station Precinct* and its surrounding areas since the VPA was appointed to lead the planning exercise in August, 2017.  At that time the VPA advised that

“Several key activities attract workers, residents and visitors to the area including Monash University’s Caulfield campus, Caulfield Racecourse, Glen Eira College, retail outlets, parks and recreational areas. The structure plan will promote transit-orientated development and identify opportunities for growth in employment, education, housing and associated activities. We will also work with the Melbourne Racing Club and our government partners to seek to unlock future shared recreational use of racecourse land.”

The initial information and input session focuses on the four core activity centre components and their connectivity within the precinct. The significant planning and development implications for Glen Eira (south of Dandenong Road) and Stonnington’s (north of Dandenong Road) surrounding commercial/residential areas and proximate activity centres are to be included in subsequent consultations.   Recent multi storey multi unit developments, along the northern side of Dandenong Road, indicate the development potential of the areas surrounding the precinct.

Briefly, the four core components of the Caulfield Station Precinct are

Caulfield Village

A major residential, retail and commercial development located between the Racecourse and the Rail Line. Currently under construction, it comprises

Worth noting is the redevelopment potential (multi-storey multi units) of MRC freehold land located along Kambrook/Booran Roads (shown on the above map as Horse Training and Stabling).  This potential was flagged during the Strategic Land Management consultations conducted by the former Reserve Trustees in 2015.  The current status of redevelopment plans is not known.

Monash University – Caulfield Campus

Unfortunately, 10 months into the Structure Planning  process,  little is known of the current redevelopment plans.  As an indicative guide, some years ago redevelopment included

  • an expansion from 10,000 Effective Fulltime Students (EFS) to 25,000 EFS.
  • Construction of a series of high rise buildings to provide educational and administrative facilities with some retail facilities at ground level.
  • Off campus multi storey student accommodation in close proximity to the Caulfield Campus

Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve

The Racecourse comprises 54 ha, of the 122 ha now designated the  Caulfield Station Precinct, and offers a significant open space opportunity for Glen Eira (which has the least per capita open space/parkland in Metro Melbourne, coming in at less than half the Metro average) and Stonnington (which has the 2nd least).  Both the size and location of this crown land make it suitable to service the recreational (passive and active) needs of the volumes (ie. residents, students, workers and patrons) expected to access the Precinct, as well as the needs of the increasing residents of the surrounding areas.   Striking an equitable balance between public recreational usage and racing usage has long been a contentious issue and recently resulted in changes to management of the land that have yet to come into effect.

Caulfield Station

While GERA is not aware of plans to redevelop the heritage listed Caulfield Station, we believe its redevelopment (presumably as a rail/tram/bus interchange) will be required to service the public transport needs of those accessing the Precinct.   When/if redevelopment occurs, it should include the “place making” historic Station and heritage listed buildings in Derby Road.

Connectivity of Core Components

Currently, the connectivity of the above core components is poor.  It is restricted by the extremely divisive railway line and a fragmented road network.   While access between Caulfield Village, the Racecourse and the Station is basically “across the street”,  accessing Monash from these locations is restricted to 3 underpasses ie. Queen Avenue, Caulfield Station and Station Street.    Free movement flows (predominantly pedestrian, with some vehicular movement for the provision of goods and services) within the Precinct is essential to enable synergetic development of precinct facilities (eg. auditoriums, open space and car parking)  and ensure the long term viability of a cohesive activity centre.

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Footnote:

*Caulfield Station Precinct – is the previous Priority Development Zone, known as the Phoenix Precinct (ie. Caulfield Village and Monash University Caulfield Campus) expanded to include the Caulfield Racecourse & Recreation Reserve, Glen Eira College and Glen Huntly Park.

 

Bethlehem Hospital – VCAT Final Determination

Below is an email received from the BHCA group, who mounted an extremely effective, community based campaign against the proposed re-development of the Calvary Healthcare Bethlehem Hospital site located in Kooyong Road,  South Caulfield.  During the course of their campaign, the original proposal for inclusion of a 19 storey tower was modified  to 10-11 stories.

As per the email, the just published VCAT decision has approved the modified proposal (ie. 10-11 stories) on the basis that “retirement villages are exempt from height limits”.   In this case, the surrounding residential areas is zoned  Neighbourhood Residential and has a 2 storey height limit.

As this VCAT decision  can be expected to have significant implications for future similar developments in Glen Eira and across Metro Melbourne,  it is disturbing to note the comment

“that had we relied solely on the promises of our elected councillors and allowed the Glen Eira City Council to prosecute our objections alone, it would have been a major folly”

 

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Hi All,

I am not usually in the habit of looking back, but as we have learned of VCAT’s decision, I remember that horrible sinking feeling that we all experienced when we learnt of Calvary’s proposed 19/20-storey tower.  While everyone recognised that the Bethlehem hospital site was ripe to be updated and improved, we all understood the deep impact that development on the scale proposed would have on the neighbourhood character and the direct effect on surrounding properties.

The community knew that this proposed development needed to be resisted.  It was with your support – moral, practical and financial, that we, as a community, forcefully expressed our objection in this administrative VCAT process against the high-powered team of barristers and experts engaged by Calvary.

The decision issued by VCAT has not stopped the redevelopment of the Bethlehem Hospital by Calvary.  It has, however, fundamentally reshaped it.  

VCAT has directed the Glen Eira City Council to issue a permit for the redevelopment of Bethlehem Hospital that is now 10/11 storeys.  The appearance of the buildings is more articulated with a finer grain exterior.  The retirement village, aged care and ancillary uses are now more evenly spread over the site.  The 90 place childcare centre has been abandoned.  The inadequacy of the car parking arrangements were acknowledged and the at-grade car park on the corner of Saturn Street and Kooyong Road reserved, as a condition of the permit, as a permanent carpark, serving to somewhat alleviate the pressure on the surrounding streets.

I hate to think what might have been the outcome of the VCAT process without the local community’s engagement of strong legal representation and expert witnesses.  Attending each day of the hearing demonstrated to me that this was the right approach and that our well-argued objection contributed to a revised development that is substantially reduced in scale.  It also confirmed to me that had we relied solely on the promises of our elected councillors and allowed the Glen Eira City Council to prosecute our objections alone, it would have been a major folly.

Significantly, and notwithstanding our expertly constructed legal arguments about the application of height limits on retirement villages, VCAT determined that retirement villages are exempt from height limits, setting a new legal precedent that I am sure will be adopted by other developers throughout the suburbs of Melbourne.  (Incidentally, it appears that VCAT’s decision has introduced an even bigger loophole to the planning regulations for applications made prior to the current act – time will tell what impact this has).

For those that wish to read the VCAT decision, it is attached.

As the spokesperson for the BHCA Group and the local community, and in what will be the last communication to the group, I would like to thank everyone for the energy, financial contributions and support to defend the character of our local streets and the amenity of our own properties.  I am firmly of the view that without it, we could not have achieved any amendment to the original scheme. 

Kind regards

on behalf of BHCAGroup Steering Group

Calvary Final VCAT Determination

REQUEST TO DEFER THE PROPOSED 27/2/2018 STRUCTURE PLAN (Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick) DECISION

Since Council’s early (ie. 1 day) release of the above Structure Plans to be submitted, for approval, to the 27/02/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting, GERA and residents have struggled with reviewing the volume of information released (approx. 500 pages of Agenda Items and 14 support documents) within an extremely tight timeframe. (5.5 days  vs. a planned 4.5 days).

Clearly, despite the magnitude of the proposed changes and claiming a real improvement to past substandard consultative practices, Council’s message is that residents’ complaints to the contrary,

  • that Officer’s have taken residents’ concerns into account in the Final Version of the Structure Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick and Quality Design Guidelines and
  • that sufficient information has been presented to residents in a timely, readily accessible and understandable manner.

Additionally, feedback received by residents and GERA indicates that these is little point in residents undertaking or presenting any analysis as the Councillors are going to approve.

Given the recent granting of 12 month time extension for the completion for the development of Structure Plans for Glen Eira’s 3 major activity centres we believe that Council should defer making any decision on these plans at this stage.  Hence GERA has emailed to Council (all Councillors and Key Administrators) the following:

GERA believes that

  • Council should defer voting on the Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Structure Plans and Quality Design Guidelines included as Agenda Items 9.1 – 9.5 for the 27/2/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting.
  • The “Deferral Time Period” should that deemed sufficient to enable residents to provide informed feedback on the Structure Plans and for Council Officers to review and assess that feedback before a Council decision is made.

This would be in line with the Minister’s direction that states “Council needs to exercise it’s responsibilities under the Act and review and strengthen it’s scheme in consultation with the community”.

  • Council should remove from Officer’s Report Recommendation – Point 3 the wording “in accordance with Section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987”. This removal is to apply to all Structure Plans and Quality Design Guidelines presented to Council – currently or in the future.

As you should be aware, Planning Amendments are the mechanisms for changing the Planning Scheme.  As such, Planning Amendments are the planning tools that will ensure future developments comply with the desired outcomes of both the Structure Plans and Quality Design Guidelines.  To invoke Section 20(4)

– Is to deny residents input into the decisions making processes related to the preparation of the planning amendments and restrict community comments to the “end product” i.e. a planning amendment that has already received “Exhibit” ministerial approval. Council has a well established track record of refusing residents requests for changes to amendments approved for Exhibition (ie. community consultation)

– Does not align with the principles of good consultation or Council’s proclaimed goal of improving community consultation practices.

A question asked at all community consultations related to the Structure Plans residents have asked “what are planning tools (eg. overlays, zones etc.) are you proposing to incorporate into the planning scheme to ensure that these desired outcomes are achieved” and the answer has always been “we don’t know”.    Residents understand the significance of Section 20(4) and find it’s application totally unacceptable – a hard lesson learnt from the 2013 Zone Implementation

Feel free forward  a copy (or an amended copy) of this email to Councillors  – just made sure you include your name, street address and telephone/mobile contact details.

Councillor and Key Planning Officers email addresses are

MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JSilver@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

DSztrajt@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

NTaylor@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JMagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

Deputy Mayor – JHyams@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

Mayor – TAthanasopoulos@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

MEsakoff@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

CDavey@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RMcKenzie@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RTorres@gleneira.vic.gov.au

 

 

HOT PRESS –

Just received from the Elsternwick residents

Glen Eira Council will vote on the Elsternwick, Bentleigh & Carnegie structure plans on Tuesday night from 7.30pm at the Glen Eira Town Hall.

Elsternwick residents will be WEARING BLACK to signify the massive overshadowing of the proposed 12 storey highrise city in Elsternwick.

If you are opposed to the highrise elements in any of these plans, you may like to join the Elsternwick residents and wear BLACK on the night to show your support.