Tag Archives: Glen Eira City Council

NEW MAYOR – 2017-18

Congratulations to Cr. Anthony (Tony) Athanasopoulos on last night’s  election as Mayor of Glen Eira 2017 – 18.  Tony has long been an active supporter of numerous community groups and is an established trader and resident of Carnegie.

First elected to Council in October, 2016, his election as Mayor is well deserved recognition for his outstanding Councillor performance over the past 12 months.  A performance that shows a growing understanding of planning issues and always a willingness to listen and question (ourselves included).

We are looking forward to the next 12 months and “agreeing to disagree” over some (not all) issues.

Well done Tony!!!!

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BETHLEHEM HOSPITAL – IT CONTINUES

GERA has just received the below email from the BHCA Group challenging Council’s proposed representation at next month’s VCAT Hearing.  The BHCA Group is the residents group opposing the proposed development of a high rise Retirement Village at Kooyong Road, Caulfield South – the development site is surrounded by the Neighbourhood Residential Zone with a 2 storey height.

“Previous statements from councillors and planning department representatives have offered confidence that the Development, as revised, would be strongly resisted and defended by council.  …. It is with alarm that BHCA Group has learned the City of Glen Eira is not appointing a barrister.  Nor is it presenting planning evidence, instead addressing matters by way of submission.”   

We agree with the BHCA Group that Council’s proposed submission falls short of past promises and we note that it is in line with residents’ long standing and increasingly vocal criticisms of the quality of Council representation at VCAT.

The Bethlehem Hospital Community Action Group can be contacted by email at bhcagroup@gmail.com

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Dear Cr Delahunty (Mayor), Cr Silver, Cr Sztrajt, Cr Esakoff, Cr Davey, Cr Athanasopoulos, Cr Hyams, Cr Magee and Cr Taylor

Re: Calvary Healthcare Bethlehem Hospital Application GE/PP-29481/2016

To date, the Bethlehem Hospital Community Action Group (BHCA Group) has been reassured that the council possesses a similar strength of objection to the Bethlehem Hospital Redevelopment (the Development) as the local, affected residents.

Previous statements from councillors and planning department representatives have offered confidence that the Development, as revised, would be strongly resisted and defended by council.  The draft permit conditions tabled by council at the VCAT compulsory conference and the early assurances that the City of Glen Eira would steadfastly defend the integrity of its planning scheme by appointing counsel and expertise provided affected residents with the impression that their elected representatives were listening and would act to oppose an irrevocable affront to the unique neighbourhood character.

Unfortunately, this confidence has been misplaced.

It is with alarm that BHCA Group has learned the City of Glen Eira is not appointing a barrister.  Nor is it presenting planning evidence, instead addressing matters by way of submission.  While this approach may be sufficient for the routine or typical VCAT planning or development related matters, for a VCAT determination, which goes to the heart of the integrity of City of Glen Eira planning scheme, it is not, sufficient or adequate.

The developers, Calvary Health Care, have engaged a high quality and experienced QC, instructed by legal, planning, urban design, traffic, landscape and related experts.  They all have a motivation to successfully argue that the planning scheme does not apply to the Development and hence, they can flout the planning regulations and destroy the neighbourhood character with impunity.

BHCA Group strongly believes that this VCAT hearing commencing on 20 November 2017 is a test case for the integrity of the planning scheme for developments of this type.  Issue of a permit, in the form proposed or substantially similar would represent a highly undesirable precedent that will propagate throughout the City of Glen Eira and other regions.

BHCA Group, with the full appreciation of the distinction between the arguments and representations of local residents and those of the City of Glen Eira, recognises that it must advocate on behalf of affected local residents.  BHCA Group has obtained funding from local residents to engage its own barristers, planning and other experts to argue its case.  BHCA Group reasonably expected that its efforts would complement those of the City of Glen Eira’s.

We therefore call upon the council, representing the residents of the City of Glen Eira, to move a motion to instruct the planning department and its legal counsel to appoint a senior barrister with suitable planning experience, planning expertise, whether it be from within the City of Glen Eira’s planning department or externally appointed, to complement and coordinate the urban design and parking experts that are currently contemplated.

As has been previously communicated, BHCA Group remains committed to work with the City of Glen Eira to coordinate our defence and objection to this inappropriate and objectionable Development. 

Kelvin Cope

on behalf of

BHCAGroup

UPDATE – EAST VILLAGE (VIRGINIA PARK) DRAFT STRUCTURE PLAN MEETING

The below update to the EAST VILLAGE DRAFT STRUCTURE PLAN has be forwarded to us by a concerned resident.

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A community consultation session was held to discuss the Concept Plan for East Village on 27th July, 2017.

The Forum was well attended by residents and chaired by Aiden Mullen (Manager, City Futures).

Significantly two of the major bodies (ie. the Education Department and Vic Roads) did not send reps, so many questions about a possible school and traffic and parking management went unanswered.

Once again residents were asked to respond to a plan with very little detail.  The one handout missing from the handout pack was the one that provided the most detail in respect of height and density.  Two of the major factors residents continue to voice their concerns about.

The major points to come out of the Forum were

  • The Education Department is investigating the need for additional educational facilities in the area. No “answer” as yet.  The developers would be prepared to sell the land to the Department/Government.  This would be in the vicinity of 1 hectare.  If not a school, then possibly a “community centre”.  We assume that this would involve Council either purchasing the land or accepting land in lieu of the open space levy.
  • The possibility of a commercial car parking venture on the site
  • The areas currently zone Commercial 1 (C1Z) would remain. The rest of the site would be rezoned to Mixed Use (MUZ).
  • The project life is up to 15 years.
  • No solution to traffic, apart from advocating for care share, more traffic lights and buses to run through the site.
  • The developers have been in constant contact with Council’s various departments.
  • Now 24 hectares (doubled in size) – how many apartments, residents and cars does this mean?

All in all it practically impossible to comment on what will eventuate given the lack of detail on just about everything.

One particular concern regarding the areas surrounding this site was a boundary never before seen or referred to by Council.

Is this the area targeted by Council for re-zoning?

Border:  McKinnon Road, Deakin Street, Mackie Street, North Road, Brett Street, Dalny Road, Hunter Street, East Boundary and Tucker Roads.

Action:

Having heard what is intended for Bentleigh at the Thursday, 10th August Concept Plan Forum, regarding height limits and rezoning, residents are urged to contact Aiden Mullent, Nick Staikos – MLA Bentleigh and all Councillors  contact Nick Staikos – MLA Bentleigh, all Councillors and to get assurance that these areas are not targeted for re-zoning by Council. (Contact Details)

If your house is in this area be alert and get informed.

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SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – COUNCIL DECISION – AMENDMENT C143

On Tuesday 25/07/2017 GERA advised readers of Council’s decision

  • to re-zone 88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon from Industrial to the General Residential Zone, Schedule 2 (GRZ2) and
  • not to apply the residents requested Design and Development (DDO) and Neighbourhood Character (NCO) Overlays to the sizeable site. (refer earlier posting – What the Residents Want)

This decision was passed unanimously.   After listening to the decision rationale presented by Councillors and the Director of Planning, residents, “battered and dismayed” by a poorly handled amendment process (refer earlier posting – Planning and Governance), are now also “reeling”.  They are seriously questioning Councillors understanding of planning issues and the relevance of overlay concepts being presented in the current of major activity centre review to significant developments in the yet to be reviewed Neighbourhood Activity centres.

Before outlining comments made by Councillors during the McKinnon Village agenda item, it’s worth mentioning that

  • Glen Eira’s current Planning Scheme review was directed by the Minister for Planning. Council’s requested extension for an exemption from  community consultation  was replaced with a requirement for Council to undertake a review of it’s planning scheme.  The review goal being to bring the GE’s Planning Scheme into line with contemporary planning principles, concepts and tools (eg. structure planning and overlays).
  • The major impact of the 2013 Zone Implementation was the introduction of height controls for 3 of the residential zones. Other  aspects of development (eg. built form, siting, neighbourhood characteristics, parking etc) largely remained unchanged in existing policies and strategies.  Included in the Zone Implementation was a discussion paper which recognised that Council’s policies and strategies were not effective.

Council Discussion 

The McKinnon Village discussion came immediately after Council’s discussion and unanimous adoption of Council’s “Activity Centre, Housing and Local Employment Strategy” which is applicable to Glen Eira’s 18 Activity Centres (including the McKinnon Neighbourhood Activity Centre- NAC).  Comments and praise for the work undertaken and presented Strategy, included

  • Council is embarking on a journey of how the Municipality will look and feel in the future
  • the strategy seeks a new direction, builds a stronger community
  • the strategy sets up the framework for all future activity centre development

Despite the above Strategy including vision statements of

  • for the GRZ (“Family Town houses are noted as the highest focus development type in residential areas of neighbourhood centres” – page 9) and
  • a specific vision statement for development of the McKinnon Village NAC (“That McKinnon will be an accessible centre with a strong village feel, which recognises and celebrates its heritage, art and local history” – page 16)

when it came to the re-zoning of 88-100 McKinnon discussion comments inexplicably reverted to the current planning scheme and it’s provisions.   No mention was made of strategy, how best to achieve these visions (as per the Concept Plans) nor was any mention made of the impact a site of this size (3,691 sqm) and location (extreme western edge of the activity centre) could have on achieving on these visions. 

Summarised Councillor comments (followed by residents comments) included

  • Re-zoning for residential development is better than re- development as industrial –  possibly, however, no proposal was put forward for redevelopment as an industrial site – the pro’s and con’s are unknown.
  • The resident requests for a DDO and NCO are not necessary. Existing controls in the Planning Scheme and ResCode are sufficient to preserve and protect neighbourhood amenity and character. Council’s existing Activity Centre and Housing Diversity Strategies do not include statements on Neighbourhood Character other than to say it is “emerging”.  The Concept Plan documentation recommends the use of overlays to describe preferred character, development scale, design requirements and setbacks.
  • The GRZ is working, the additional controls of DDO and NCO are not required. The stated intention of the GRZ is to provide  “diversity of housing that is consistent with existing neighbourhood character.”   Neither diversity of housing type (ie. townhouse vs. multi-unit dwellings or single, couple, family accommodations) is  occurring nor are features consistent with existing neighbourhood character being incorporated.  The zone is not working, why not capitalise on that work undertaken for the major activity centres by applying it to proximate Neighbourhood Centres when re-zoning opportunities arise, particularly when those with sensitive interfaces/issues.
  • The appropriate time to discuss built form is during the planning permit approval process when the proposed built form is shown in detailed plans. Since no planning permit application has been received, it is not appropriate to discuss them at the proposed Amendment stage. The Planning Scheme basically defines what can be built where –  the zones provide the height and overlays are the appropriate tool to set the built form design and characteristic requirements for specific locations (refer earlier reference to Concept Plan documentation).  The inclusion of overlays ensures
    • requirements are defined upfront and are incorporated in a planning permit application
    • the achievement of desired outcomes and streamlines the permit approval process.
  • Arguments presented to codify protections and requirements in a DDO and NCO are strong and they should be there, however, they are costly, risky and would involve restarting the process all over again. On balance I trust our planning experts.   Acknowledgement of strong arguments outweighed by
    • Costly – expenditure of residents funds to ensure planning scheme contains appropriate controls (eg. overlays that are in line with the zone’s intention, the newly approved strategy and the community’s views) is  fundamental to Council’s role as the Local Planning Authority.
    • Risky – no detailed explanation was provided.  Comments of  overlays being “not  binding” left residents wondering.
      • The original application included a DDO that addressed the significant built form issue of height limits
      • Interim DDOs have been applied to the Carnegie and Bentleigh Activity Centres
      • DDO’s are recommended, by an independent consultant, in the Concept Plans.
    • Restarting/delaying the process – no explanation was provided as to why a restart would be required. Residents also do not believe that avoiding further delay justifies excluding the proposed of overlays.  They also point to 3 months attributable to Council’s decision to request Planning Panel review.
  • Council’s consultative process had been beyond the legal requirements … the next step in the process is to forward the amendment to the Minister for approval.   Council consulted with residents on the initial MUZ and DDO proposal – a consultation that was later described as “testing the waters”.   Council’s proposal to rezone site as GRZ2 was not discussed with residents prior to the Council Meeting of 21/3/2017.  At this same meeting Council’s decision to abandon the MUZ and DDO was, by virtue of the inclusion of referral to a Planning Panel, meant that the MUZ and DDO remained on the table for Panel’s review and that residents only consultation on GRZ2 was with the Panel and not Council – Panel Hearing rules restricted questioning of presenters to Panel Members.  Residents were also made, that Council had been advised by the Minister’s Office, that since GRZ2 was considered a more restrictive rezoning, further community consultation was not required.

Council has yet to consult with residents on the General Residential Zone and consultation is unlikely to occur. While satisfying the planning laws consultation requirements, resident believe it falls short of the representative and consultative obligations outlined in the Local Government Act and Council’s proclamations of being representative and actively encouraging community engagement. 

  • Council apologised for initial communications which lacked transparency and showed a need for improvement. Overall it was a good process and resident participation showed that the process worked.   Residents were thanked for their participation and encouraged to continue to engage with Council.  Hence the earlier comments that residents are now reeling and questioning.

 End Result – The Residents View 

Throughout the 9 months of communications with Council, the overall feeling amongst residents is one of dissatisfaction.  Dissatisfaction with Council’s

  • performance as the Local Planning Authority
  • performance as a consultative and representative Local Authority and
  • non transparent selection of available options within the Planning Law.

While GERA has shown, and will show,  support for Council initiatives and community engagements,  GERA does so on a case by case basis.  In this case GERA’s assessment agrees with that of  the resident’s.

 

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Process Timeline

  • 19/9/2016 – Council decision to prepare Amendment
  • 14/11/2016 – Amendment Exhibited. The developer initiated proposal  related to rezoning industrial land to an inappropriate zone (MUZ) and an inappropriate DDO height limit (4 stories).  The proposal included misleading statements and was inconsistent with both the Planning Scheme and contemporary planning concepts.  180+ planning objections were lodged – over 90% requesting that the amendment be abandoned and residents be allowed input into the rezoning decision.
  • 23/2/17 – Planning Conference attended by 30+ objectors arguing for abandonment of the proposal and input into the re-zoning decision.
  • 21/3/2017 – Council voted to abandon the amendment, endorse the General Residential Zoning and refer to Planning Panel. Residents were not advised of the alternate zoning proposal, and although aware of the implications of referral to a Panel, no Councillor mentioned them.  The implications being
    • The abandoned proposal remained on the table for Panel Review, and
    • Since GRZ rezoning was seen as “more restrictive” there was no legal requirement to undertake community consultation before applying the zoning.
  • 25/5/2017 Planning Panel Hearing – 11 attendees). Initial MUZ and DDO amendment inappropriately described “testing the waters” and Council endorsed the GRZ rezoning.
  • 20/6/17 Planning Panel Report and recommendation for GRZ2 rezoning made available to residents.
  • 25/7/2017Council Decision

 

 

BENTLEIGH ACTIVITY CENTRE – CONCEPT PLAN FORUM

The Centre Road Bentleigh Group have forwarded us the following letter urging residents to attend this Thursday’s Concept Plan Forum for the Bentleigh Activity Centre.  Significant changes are being proposed.  Forum details  and links to Council documentation are provided in the letter.

GERA supports the group and strongly urges residents to attend the Forum to express their views on the proposed changes.

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AN IMPORTANT LETTER TO RESIDENTS FROM RESIDENTS

The City of Glen Eira is currently planning for Bentleigh’s future and has developed a draft plan that is now out for community consultation.  This plan proposes excessive development for Bentleigh and if implemented will have a huge impact on our area and the way that we live.  Now’s your last chance to influence this direction.

What’s Proposed for Bentleigh

The draft Council plan for Bentleigh includes:

  • Developments of up to eight storeys on both the east and west sides of the train line.
  • The sale and development of Council owned land (current car parks) for up to eight storeys.
  • An increase in the footprint that can be developed to three storeys (from two storeys).
  • Three storey developments on Centre Road, west of Rose Street and east of Jasper Road, along much of Centre Road that is currently two storeys.

To view the Council’s proposal for Bentleigh go to Council’s website

In summary, this is a proposal for the further significant over-development of Bentleigh, it is not consistent with ongoing resident feedback and it has not been justified by Council.  As this plan will shape the future of Bentleigh, Council needs to hear loud and clear that it is not acceptable.

Background for Residents

Glen Eira currently has the lowest provision of open space in Melbourne, one of the highest population densities, one of the highest rates of new dwelling developments and more than enough housing supply opportunities for future population needs.  Glen Eira is already well and truly pulling its weight in terms of Victorian population growth and will continue to do so into the future with large development areas such as East Village on East Boundary Road in East Bentleigh and the completion of Caulfield Village.  Based on the current rate of new developments, Glen Eira is well ahead of the state government new dwelling and population projections for 2031.  Of concern, none of these facts have been included into the establishment of the Council’s plan for Bentleigh and there is no justification for the excessive over-development proposed.

What You Can Do

Enough is enough, we need resident involvement now or the damage of what’s being proposed will be irreparable.  This is what you can do to help shape the right future plan for Bentleigh.

  • Attend the Bentleigh community forum on Thursday 10th August from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Duncan Mackinnon Reserve Pavilion, corner Murrumbeena and North Roads Murrumbeena. (Please attend, your attendance is very important).
  • Respond to the Online Survey and highlight: four storey developments (maximum), no growth of the zone for new developments, no sale of Council owned land for new developments and the increased provision of open space.
  • Contact Ward Councillors

Cr Jamie Hyams  M: 0427 319 018  E: JHyams@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Jim Magee      M: 0427 338 327  E: JMagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Nina Taylor     M: 0466 372 809  E: NTaylor@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Remind them that they have previously stated a position of opposing large-scale and excessive development in Bentleigh and that now’s the opportunity to demonstrate it.

Further Queries

If you have any queries, want to be kept informed or would like an electronic copy of this letter you can email centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com

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In addition to the issues raised in the above letter, GERA believes that when reviewing the proposed changes for Bentleigh, residents should also consider the nearby Major and Neighbourhood Activity Centres.  Within the context of a relatively small area, there is significant provision for future development – a significant provision that Council has not considered in the proposed Bentleigh Concept Plan.

 

BETHLEHEM HOSPITAL DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY MEETING Wednesday 2nd August 2017

The BHCA Group has advised us that they are holding a community meeting to inform and discuss with you the current status of this unpopular redevelopment of Bethlehem Hospital.

BHCA Group Community Meeting

Wednesday 2nd August 2017 at 8:00pm

St Johns Community Centre

567 Glen Huntly Rd Elsternwick

Review of VCAT compulsory conference – Overview of proposed development – Community feedback – BHCA Group position and November VCAT meeting process – Plan moving forward

To fully understand the impact of this outrageous development on your neighbourhood and the amenity of your home, we strongly encourage your attendance.

Your participation is vital to maintaining a strong community response.

Advise your local friends and neighbours, let them know your concerns and encourage them to come with you.

Don’t leave it to others.

SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – WHAT THE RESIDENTS WANT

25/7 Council Meeting results for McKinnon

  • 88-100 McKinnon Road. Unanimous motion passed to proceed with implementation of amendment as per Officers Report.   Current Planning Scheme controls (ie. GRZ Zoning and Schedule 2 requirements combined with existing Planning Scheme policies/strategies  and ResCode requirements) are adequate.  No DDO or NCO requirements to be applied – to costly and too risky to apply.
  • 240 – 250 McKinnon Road (southern side) – reduced to four stories. No mention of interim height control on southern side of Centre Road in the Bentleigh Activity Centre.

Much praise for the quality of the work undertaken on the two planning documents presented at the meeting  ie. “Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy” and  “Quality Design Principles and Draft Concept Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick”.  Unfortunately, it seems the planning concepts, methodologies and desired outcomes included in those documents don’t need to be considered when making current decisions.

More to details to follow later.

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At tonight’s Council Meeting, Councillors will vote on the amended Planning Scheme Amendment C143 for 88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon.

The amended Amendment, as recommended by Officers, being for General Residential Zone Schedule 2 (GRZ2 – height limit 11m/3 stories).  As per the Officers Report and information presented at the Planning Panel Hearing, the yet to be submitted plans are likely to comprise

  • At least 2 multi-unit buildings (a significant South East Water easement, which cannot be built on, crosses the site at 100 McKinnon Road)
  • 3 stories (possibly 4 stories, if  land slope and an existing Special Building Overlay allow)
  • 85 dwellings – estimated
  • Increased rear setback abutting the laneway and
  • Standard ResCode setbacks applying to the other 3 sides.

Residents, although suffering Objection Fatigue, have written to all Councillors to request that Council considers incorporating a Design and Development Overlay (DDO) and a Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) in the Amendment.  Last night they met with Mayor Mary Delahunty and Cr. Nina Taylor to further discuss the overlays and Council deferring  voting on the amendment until the overlays can be prepared and included.

The arguments presented by the residents were:

Within the context of the McKinnon, the redevelopment of this site will have a significant impact on shaping the future character of the Village due to the site’s

  • Size – 3671 sqm – which dwarfs any current or future development within McKinnon Village
  • Location on the western boundary Village interfacing the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ1).

The intent of the General Residential Zone is to allow “moderate growth and diversity of housing that is consistent with existing neighbourhood character.”

However, a brief review of our centres clearly shows that Glen Eira’s current “blanket” use of GRZ2 combined with planning policies and strategies  are not working.

  • Diversity of housing types in limited/minimal (eg. single residence vs. townhouses vs. multi unit high rise, family vs couple vs single accommodation) is not occurring nor
  • despite distinctly different area characteristics (eg. ranging from Victorian/Edwardian through Interwar to Post War), there is little  architectural distinction between developments in activity centres the municipality.   Developments in McKinnon would also “fit”  in Elsternwick or East Bentleigh

Planning Scheme overlays are the appropriate tool to set the built form design and characteristic requirements. Their inclusion in the Planning Scheme ensures that the requirements are incorporated in the detailed plans required for a planning permit application. It is inappropriate not to provide these requirements upfront.

  • DDO – The Design and Development Overlay [or DDO] relates to built form and is applied where Council intends to protect and enhance an environment within the municipal boundaries and to encourage development that complements the character of a place.
  • NCO -Additional neighbourhood character provisions necessary to ensure that either the existing neighbourhood character is respected or a preferred neighbourhood character is achieved. These can influence the nature and extent of development that can occur in order to achieve a desired neighbourhood character outcome for an area.

Council’s Draft Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy of May, 2017 states:

“That McKinnon will be an accessible centre with a strong village feel, which recognises and celebrates its heritage, art” – page 17

Given that a desired outcome has been defined and the significant impact site redevelopment will have on achieving that outcome, the inclusion of DDO and NCO is warranted.

Additionally, the analysis undertaken for the Strategy (and the more recent Bentleigh Major Activity Centre desired housing types) should reduce the workload associated with developing the overlays.

Residents are not opposing site re-development – they agree the site is unattractive and it’s facilities are outdated. Equally they are not seeking a development “shut down” – they are seeking a redevelopment that aligns with Council’s vision for the Village and McKinnon and benefits both current and future residents.

For inclusion in the Overlays, residents have asked Council to consider the following

  • Design and Development Overlay (DDO) that would
    • Consider a townhouse style development – refer the above strategy – “Family Town houses are noted as the highest focus development type in residential areas of neighbourhood centres” – page 9
    • Ensure that any underground car parking would not exceed the above ground building envelope. This is to ensure
      • Landscaping will provide for the growth of canopy trees
      • Mitigation of storm water flooding (the site is subject to a SBO)
  • Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO)
    • Promotes the Village feel and emphasises McKinnon’s heritage, local history and art

Residents felt Crs. Delahunty and Taylor, although non-committal, were receptive.

Not long now until Council makes it’s decision – hopefully it will be to defer a decision until options for the inclusion of a DDO and NCO have been reviewed.

As always, please feel free to comment on this posting on GERA’s facebook page.