Tag Archives: Glen Eira Residents

Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – Community Gathering 15/02/2017

2017-02-gathering-flyer-p10001

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.

racecourse-2

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

wp_20170203_004-2

****************************************

*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.

COMMUNITY FORUMS UPDATE

26/10/2016 PREDICTED OUTCOME – 2016 Council Elections

Lots of speculation on the election results – definite results will not be known until Saturday, 29/10/2016, when the actual count occurs.

Despite the huge mathematical exercise involved in the distribution of preferences, any who has watched the tally results in State and Federal Elections will be aware that there are politically astute, mathematical geniuses out there who are often able to accurately predict election outcomes based on minimal information.

As far the 2016 Council Election goes, the same thing is happening.   The most credible predictions GERA has received are

Camden – Mary Delahunty re-elected, with Karen Hermann and Joel Silver likely to occupy the remaining two positions.

Rosstown – Margaret Esakoff re-elected, with Anthony Athanasopolous, Jane Karslake and Neil Pilling vying for the remaining two positions.

Tucker – Jamie Hyams re-elected, with Rodney Andonoplous, Neil Brewster and Nina Taylor vying for the remaining two positions.

How accurate these predictions are will not be known until after Saturday, 29/10/2016. If accurate it means 5-6 current incumbents will not be returning.

***************************************************

Following on from our 3 well attended community forums and with the election deadline rapidly approaching (make sure you post your vote in time for it to be postmarked before 6.00 p.m. tomorrow – Friday, 21/10/2016) many “panicking” residents are seeking input on the candidates.

While GERA does not endorse any candidates, we urge residents to review their ballot packs and pass on the feedback we received from residents who attended the forums.

Rosstown Forum – 5/10/2016

wp_20161005_024-w-text

The following is an alphabetic listing of the candidates who did/did not attend the Rosstown Forum and their stated political affiliations.

Attended

  •  Anthony Athanasopoulos (Independent)
  • David Box (Labor)
  • Cr. Kelvin Ho (Liberal)*
  • Don Dunstan (Liberal)
  • Shan Jayaweera (Independent)
  • Jane Karslake (Labor)
  • Con Zois (Independent)

*Cr. Kelvin Ho, appointed after resignation of Cr. Karina Okotel, 5 months in office

Did not attend

  •  Asher Cooper
  •  Clare Davey (Greens)
  •  Cr. Margaret Esakoff (Independent)*
  •  Cr. Neil Pilling (Independent)* Late Apology
  •  Sunny Malichetti

*Cr. Margaret Esakoff, 13 consecutive years in office and Cr. Neil Pilling, 8 consecutive years in office and current Mayor.  Given that both are seeking re-election for a further 4 years, their “no show” was viewed “negatively”

Residents Feedback

Athony Athanasopoulos, David Box, Shan Jayawera and Jane Karslake identified and showed knowledge of the issues, presented strong arguments in support of their approaches to resolving the issues while also identifying a clear need for change and a commitment to resident representation.

Tucker Forum – 9/10/2016

wp_20161009_010wt

The following is an alphabetic listing of the candidates who did/did not attend the Tucker Forum and their stated political affiliations.

Attended

  •  Neil Brewster (Independent)
  •  Phil De’Ath (Liberal)
  •  Cr. Oscar Lobo* (Labor)
  •  Jeff Mackie (Independent)
  •  Cr. Jim Magee (Independent)
  •  Michael Searle (Independent)
  •  Nina Taylor (Labor)

*Cr. Oscar Lobo, appointed after resignation of Cr. Nick Staikos, 7 consecutive years in office  and Cr. Jim Magee, 8 consecutive years in office

Did not attend

  • Rodney Andonopoulos (Labor) – Apology
  • Joshua Bonney – Apology
  • Anne Marie Cade
  • Donna Elliott
  • Cr. Jamie Hyams*
  • Michael Karlik
  •  Karina Okotel

*Cr. Jamie Hyams, 10 non consecutive years in office (2003-5, 2008-2016).  Given that he is seeking re-election for a further 4 years, his “no show” was viewed “negatively”

Residents Feedback

Neil Brewster, Jeff Mackie, Michael Searle and Nina Taylor identified and showed knowledge of the issues, presented strong arguments in support of their approaches to resolving the issues while also identifying a clear need for change and a commitment to resident representation.

 Camden – 13/10/2016

wp_20161013_015wt

The following is an alphabetic listing of the candidates who did/did not attend the Camden Forum and their stated political affiliations.

Attended

  • Cr. Mary Delahunty (Labor)
  • Ian Fayman
  • Karen Hermann (Independent)
  • Rebecca Pinskier (Labour)
  • Joel Silver (Liberal)
  • Cr. Thomas Sounness (Green)*
  • Dan Sztrajt (Independent)

*Both Crs. Mary Delahunty and Tomas Sounness have served 4 years in office.

Residents Feedback

Mary Delahunty, Karen Hermann, Thomas Sounness and Dan Sztrajt identified and showed knowledge of the issues, presented strong arguments in support of their approaches to resolving the issues while also identifying a clear need for change and a commitment to resident representation.

Election Results

To allow for mail delivery times, counting of votes will occur on 29th October, 2016.

  

 

Authorised by:  B. Hatfield, 21/41 Chapel Street, St. Kilda, Vic. 3181

UPDATE – COMMUNITY FORUMS for the 2106 GLEN EIRA COUNCIL ELECTIONS

untitled

Attached are the, by Ward,  2016 Glen Eira Council Election Candidates’ Statements which have been submitted by the Candidates for inclusion in the Council Election Ballot Pack that will be mailed to residents, listed on the Council electoral roll, from 4–6 October.

Your completed ballot papers must be in the mail or hand-delivered to the election office by 6.00 pm on Friday 21 October.

  • Camden – comprising Elsternwick, Caulfield, Caulfield East, North & South and St. Kilda East
  • Rosstown – comprising Carnegie, Glen Huntly, Murrumbeena and Ormond
  • Tucker – comprising McKinnon, Bentleigh and Bentleigh East

Since scant media attention is paid to Council elections,

  • candidates are limited in getting their message across (flyers and posters are not cheap).   In addition, there’s only so much information that can be included in Ballot Pack Statements or election flyers/posters, and only so much door knocking that can be achieved when there’s approximately 30,000 residences in each ward.
  • it is difficult for residents to obtain information when they are dependent on limited one-on-one contact (if any) with candidates, periodic letter boxed flyers and “all at once” ballot pack statements which tend to merge into one another.

Another aspect to consider is that it’s generally believed that postal elections vs. attendance elections, tends to favour the re-election of incumbents rather than the election of new candidates.   Scant media attention, difficulty in presenting and receiving information, combined with a need to make a choice within a short time frame creates an environment which leads voters to select “known names” rather than “unknowns”.  In this regard, obviously current Councillors have an advantage.  During their time in office, they have received mentions and/or been photographed in the local media and the “Glen Eira News”.  On the other hand new candidates are basically starting from scratch.  Time consuming though it is, we urge resident to carefully review all candidates (credentials and platforms) before deciding their vote.

As per GERA’s previous posting we remind readers that to assist residents to make an informed vote in this month’s Council Election, GERA is holding a Community Forum in each of Glen Eira’s three wards.  The issues facing Glen Eira are significant, perennial and increasingly adversely impact all residents and all zones.

Forum details, the first to be held this coming Wednesday ( 5/10),  are as follows

Rosstown Ward Forum

  • Wednesday, 5th October, 2016
  • 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 start
  • Koornang Uniting Church, 117 Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena

Tucker Ward Forum

  • Sunday, 9th October, 2016
  • 1.30 p.m. for 2.00 start
  • Bentleigh Club, 33 Yawla Street, Bentleigh

Camden Ward Forum

  • Thursday, 13th October, 2016
  • 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 start
  • John’s Uniting Church, 567 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick

 GERA urges all residents to attend to ensure that they cast an informed vote.

 FORUM  FAQ’s

 While distributing our “Meet the Candidates” Community Forum flyers a number of residents have sought additional information.  To ensure the information is provided to all, these Questions and Answers are summarised below

What is a “stooge” and how can they be identified?

 A “stooge” or “dummy” is a registered candidate who is not a genuine candidate but rather a candidate whose purpose is to distract or “trick” unwary voters into voting for them so that their preferences can be re-directed to some other candidate.    The distraction or “trick” being provided by various means, eg identification with ethnicity/cultural groups or associations with sporting clubs or other interest groups

They can usually be identified by how prominently they (the stooge) make themselves known to the broader community during their campaign and their distribution of preferences (usually distributed to a much higher profiled candidate).

Why are the Forums being held much earlier (5/10, 9/10 & 13/10) than the election date (22/10)?

 The 2016 Council Elections will be undertaken by postal voting (as opposed to attendance voting).   A common feature of postal voting is that voters complete and return their vote within a week or two of receiving the ballot pack (it’s like ensuring you qualify to the pay on time discount except, in this case, it’s vote early to avoid a possible fine).

Council Election Ballot Packs will be mailed out this week and hence the Forums have been timed to coincide with the receipt of ballot packs and allow for the postal voting pattern.

As an FYI – although most completed ballots are expected to be received, by the Returning Office, in the week of 17-22nd October,  the votes will not be “extracted” and counted until the 22nd.   Additionally, to allow for the receipt and inclusion of votes (postmarked earlier than 6.00 p.m. on 21st October) in the “count”, final election results may not be known for a few days.

What’s the Forum format?

The Forum format will be “Town Hall” style:

  • A brief welcome and an introduction to GERA, the Forum Moderator and Council Candidates.
  • Council Candidates will have an 2-3 minute opportunity to present their election campaign views and strategies
  • Residents will have a 2 minute opportunity to ask questions of candidates (specific candidates or all candidates). Candidate responses will also be time restricted (2-3 mins.) to ensure that all attendees’ questions are asked and responded to.
  • After the close of the Forum, light refreshments and an opportunity for informal discussion between Candidates and Residents will be provided.

Authorised by:  B. Hatfield, 21/41 Chapel Street, St. Kilda, Vic. 3181

How will you decide your vote in October’s Council Elections?

ballot-boxjpgMEET THE CANDIDATES

COMMUNITY FORUMS

 Discuss the issues with the Candidates

 The forums, presented by the Glen Eira Residents’ Association, are a unique opportunity for

  • candidates (current incumbents and new candidates) to
    • present their policies to a broad cross section of the Glen Eira community, and
    • respond to questions from multiple residents in a Q&A session and “post forum” one on one sessions
  • residents to
    • listen to and question multiple candidates at one time, and
    • gain an understanding of other residents “take” on the issues

The issues confronting Glen Eira are substantial

  • Also as per the results of the recent Planning Scheme Review, directed by the Minister for Planning, Glen Eira has
    • Significant town planning issues exist across the Municipality. For example,
      • Camden – delayed structure planning and no height controls proposed
      • Rosstown – structure planning and proposed height controls limited to Carnegie Activity Centre only.
      • Tucker – the major East Village development (20.2 ha) formerly known as the smaller (12.3 ha) Virginia Park development
    • The least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne
    • No significant Tree Register or Tree Protection Policy
    • Out dated Heritage Protection
    • Inadequate Neighbourhood Character Protection

 HOW WILL YOU DECIDE YOUR VOTE?

 voting-2

If you want the best leadership?

  Then

  Attend your Ward’s Forum

    Listen, Discuss, Compare

Cast an informed vote on 22nd October, 2016

 

Forum Details are:

Moderator:     Newton Gatoff

 Rosstown Ward Forum

  • Wednesday, 5th October, 2016
  • 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 start
  • Koornang Uniting Church, 117 Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena

Tucker Ward Forum

  • Sunday, 9th October, 2016
  • 1.30 p.m. for 2.00 start
  • Bentleigh Club, 33 Yawla Street, Bentleigh

Camden Ward Forum

  • Thursday, 13th October, 2016
  • 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 start
  • St. John’s Uniting Church, 567 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick

Forum Admission:   Gold Coin Donation

 

Not sure of your Ward?

 ward-map

 

Authorised by:   B. Hatfield, 21/41 Chapel Street, St. Kilda 3181

Caulfield Racecourse trustees face sack in community push for more open space

Just published in The Age  – after 140 years, and almost two years after the scathing Auditor General’s Report (17/9/2014) on the Management Performance of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust, it looks like the State Government is taking the first step in ensuring this Crown Land (valued at $2bn) is governed in accordance with it’s 3 specific purposes of racecourse, public park and public recreation ground.

*********************

The AGE article –  Farrah Tomazin – August 20 2016 – 4:18PM

A powerful board that manages the Caulfield Racecourse faces being sacked after years of “unworkable” governance, paving the way for one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets to be opened up for greater public use.

In a move likely to be welcomed by residents, the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – the equivalent of about 15 MCGs worth of open space – could soon be utilised for more recreation, local sport and much-needed parkland in the heart of inner-city suburbia.

Racecourse Centre

An aerial view of Caulfield Racetrack. Photo: Google Earth

The reserve is home to premier racing events such as the Caulfield Cup and the Blue Diamond Stakes, but the land was put aside a century ago for broader community use, not just the city’s sporting elite.

However, most Melburnians would not know they can simply walk in and use the space, largely because the governing board – made up by a secretive group of trustees heavily influenced by the powerful Melbourne Racing Club – has made the site look unwelcoming and managed the area for years to serve its own interests: predominantly training and racing.

A bipartisan panel set up by the Andrews government earlier this year has now branded the trustee structure “unworkable” and “anachronistic”, and called for a new independent body to manage the reserve.

The panel’s report, seen by The Sunday Age, suggests the government could first request the resignations of the trustees, whose 15 members comprise six MRC nominees (including chair Mike Symons and vice-chair Peter Le Grand); six government nominees (including former ALP national president Greg Sword and federal court judge Shane Marshall) and three from the Glen Eira Council.

If the trustees don’t stand down legislation would be introduced giving the minister the power to dissolve the group and set up a new, clearer governance structure based on bodies such the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust or the MCG Trust. In the meantime, the department of environment would be appointed the interim land manager.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she was considering her options and would respond shortly.

“This historic issue has been languishing for far too long and requires decisive action,” she said. “We must ensure there is a balance between the needs of the racing community and local residents.”

A key problem with the governance of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve is the trust is the landlord and the Melbourne Racing Club its tenant – yet six of the 15 trustees also happen to be MRC appointments.

The composition of the group has therefore resulted in perceived and real conflicts of interest, a lack of accountability, and unresolved disputes between trustees on everything from the lease arrangements to how the area should best be used.

The City of Glen Eira has the least public space of any municipality, and councillors have previously pointed out there were about 400 children unable to play sport in the area last winter because they simply didn’t have the room.

Liberal Caulfield MP David Southwick – part of the working group, along with Labor Oakleigh MP Steve Dimopoulos and independent chair Ken Ryan – told Fairfax Media: “The Andrews government must act immediately and implement the working group’s report and sack the Caulfield Racecourse Trust to restore appropriate governance and to unlock this prime open space for the community.”

Mr Dimopoulos said it was crucial the MRC deliver on a plan to remove training from the site within five years, to allow sports grounds to be established around the reserve.

The skewed way in which the reserve has been managed was highlighted in a 2014 Auditor-General’s report, which found 37 out of the reserve’s 54 hectares were being used by the MRC for racing and training “without clear legal entitlement or transparent arrangements in place that recognise the financial benefit to the club”.

A further 11 hectares were leased to the MRC. But only six hectares were identified as space the public could use – if they managed to navigate their way past the poor signage and unwelcoming access points.

Please help Local Traders

Underground works

GERA has received a request from the local traders (Bentleigh, McKinnon and Ormond) who been adversely impacted by the current level crossing removal project.  The traders have asked us to urge our readers to support them in their quest to receive some financial assistance from the State Government.

Local Traders are reliant on passing trade and the local customers, the major disruptions arising from the massive project has caused their customers to shop elsewhere.  Unlike residents, who have been offered various forms of financial assistance, the traders have not been offered any financial assistance (eg. short term, low interest loans) even though the disruptive impact on small businesses was just as foreseeable.  While nearby food outlet businesses have prospered (Age, 17/6/2016), many other local businesses have been forced to close.

GERA encourages our readers to

Below is the appeal received.

My shop Mad Flowers McKinnon was forced to close a few months ago.  This was as a direct result of LCRP. Make no mistake we needed the level crossings to go but they have ignored our suggestions at meetings regarding harm minimization. There are 10 businesses which have had to close and there are many more who don’t think they’ll make it through these final months.

The LCRA have offered traders

  1. telephone number for Lifeline
  2. email project updates
  3. a generic colour brochure
  4. 3 free mentoring sessions through “The Small Business Mentoring Service Vic. (with volunteer mentors)

 The govt have cut off rail and road access to our businesses and we are suffocating. We can’t make a living and just need a bit of a hand financially to get through it.  But our politicians tell us, “Short term pain for long term gain” and will not help us beyond the above listed measures.

I have been told by the LCRA that there are 1300 residences along the rail corridor. Some of these people have accepted the offers of staying at Quest Hotel/Apartments during these 34 days of noisy works.  Along with offers of house and pool cleaning, gardening services and regular car wash vouchers.

Originally govt were not prepared to offer any compensation or purchase houses under the Sky Rail but with the public’s loud persistent protests, offers have been forthcoming. I know its not the outcome homeowners wanted but its a start. We’ve lost our homes and businesses and are being told to get over it.  I was hoping your assoc. could encourage its members to email Nick Staikos MP and Philip Dalidakis MP and tell them they should be supporting local traders financially to get through the LCRP.   The LCRP was moved forward time wise so as to be well and truly  completed before the next State elections. Hoping that all the inconvenience will be forgotten.

Business interruption insurers consider government projects to be in same category as an “Act of God” and therefore the Insurance Co does not pay.

Please can you help us?

 

**********************

Disclaimer – Please note that while GERA supports the Local Traders in their quest for financial assistance from the State Government, any opinions expressed above are those of the Author and are not necessarily those of GERA.

WALK AGAINST SKYRAIL

UPDATE 21/06/2016

Congratulations to those who organised and attended the “WALK AGAINST SKYRAIL”.   The event was well attended (900+) and received significant media coverage.

ABC News

The Age, 19/06/2016

One significant point we’d like to clarify is the proposed height of Skyrail.   The most frequently mentioned height of 9 metres (i.e. approx. 2 stories flat roofed) is the distance between street level and the base of the concrete railway line structure only.  The below diagram, put together by the No Skyrails group, shows the completed structure’s heights – at stations, between stations and in comparison with surrounding single storey, pitched roof homes.  Even though the structure’s width is not depicted, the structure will dominate the skyline and will have major impacts on access to sunlight and rain water for the surrounding areas (ie. nearby residences and the proposed below Skyrail public parkland).

Skyrail heights

 

************************************

GERA has been asked by the No Skyrails/Lower Our Tracks folks to advise our readers of the below “Walk Against  Skyrail”.    While we believe that the removal of level crossings is a long overdue of State Government priority, we also believe that, given the magnitude of the proposal,  there has been insufficient open analysis and assessment of possible options and their impacts.  GERA supports the Lower Our Tracks Inc. in their quest to ensure the best outcome is achieved and encourages readers to learn more by attending the Walk.

Below is information, supplied by Lower our Tracks, about the ”Walk”.  It is followed by additional information on a recent Ministerial Amendment to all Municipal Planning Schemes impacted by the proposed Caulfield Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project.

**********************

WAS Flyer

Map

We are keen to get as many people as possible coming along to the walk so that they can see just what the scale and impact of this proposal will be.   We are asking that anyone who cares about the impact of this proposal, their families and friends  join us in numbers at the Walk Against Skyrail.

Recently we had news that the planning minister Richard Wynne has put through an Amendment GC37 to the planning scheme  –  this was very unusually put through on a Friday – and is wide sweeping in its impact – it gives the State Government full power over any other overlays or authorities (such as the council) to carry out works.

Lower Our Tracks Inc is not political – it is a community group with members of all backgrounds.