Tag Archives: Murrumbeena

STRUCTURE PLANNING FORUMS

UPDATE 17/5/2017

Don’t forget to attend tonight’s Structure Planning Forum for Elsternwick.  Details are

Wednesday, 17th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Caulfield RSL, 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick.

UPDATE 8/5/2017

Don’t forget to attend tonight’s Structure Planning Forum for Carnegie.  Details are

Monday 8th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm

Boyd Room of the Carnegie Library,

7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

As we have pointed out many times, this is an opportunity for residents to assess and comment upon the Structure Planning work currently being undertaken by Council.   It’s about how Council is planning for the expected future developments in the centre and Council’s proposals for ensuring that the Carnegie Centre continues as a safe, socially and economically viable Centre that is readily accessible to all.

If you want a say in what can/should be built where and what basic needs (eg. open space, safety, traffic parking, neighbourhood character) Council should plan to provide for a burgeoning population then attend the forum.

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For those not aware, commencing next week, Council is holding  Community Forums* on the preliminary results of the Structure Planning work being undertaken as a result of the 2015 Ministerial Directive for Glen Eira to review it’s planning scheme.

We urge all residents and interested parties to attend the forums – numbers count.  The Structure Planning (first recommended by an Independent Planning Panel in 2003) currently being undertaken sets the requirements/standards for future developments in Glen Eira, ie what can built where (ie. locations, building uses, heights, footprint, setbacks etc.) .   It also incorporates the myriad of related planning issues (eg. traffic, parking, open space, tree protection, heritage, drainage etc.) which fall within Council’s planning responsibilities.

Although the current focus is on the major activity centres and skyrail route, the requirements set for these centres will also have significant impact on the

  • Requirements determined, at some yet to be determined future time, for the smaller activity centres (a.k.a. Neighbourhood Centres) and
  • Flow on impacts (eg traffic & parking) for the surrounding areas (ie. the smaller activity centres and Neighbourhood Residential Zone).

Now is the appropriate time for community involvement – the planning scheme requirements are being set.  Once set, it is too late to object to planning permit applications that are in compliance with the requirements ( eg. those that have been approved for Carnegie and Bentleigh since the current zones were implemented in 2013).

Below is an email which highlights some of the issues identified by the Centre Road Bentleigh Group (the Group can be contacted via email – centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com).   GERA believes that many of the issues raised below are equally applicable to Carnegie, Elsternwick and Murrumbeena and that the residents of these areas may wish to add further concerns at the forums.

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Over the last few years, Bentleigh residents have been actively lobbying Council to put in the right controls and plans for future developments within the area.  As an outcome of this lobbying, some interim height controls have recently been introduced and Council is now also undertaking a Bentleigh shopping centre and surrounds structure planning process. This structure plan will significantly influence future development

 Our thoughts on the preliminary plan are:  

  • There is no meaningful increase in open space and this is an issue with increasing development and also the general lack of open space in Glen Eira (lowest in Melbourne).  
  • It is proposed that the existing car parks are to be consolidated into a multi-storey with the remainder to potentially be converted into more residential developments. This is not acceptable (Stonnington for example are doing one underground car park and developing open space above). 
  • There is limited if any innovation or creativity in the plan.  
  • It is proposed that the library be relocated ($20M plus cost) however this was not identified as a need by residents.  (perhaps Council wants to sell off the current library site for a major development?). 
  • There is no direction included for future development heights. 

In summary, we believe that more work needs to be done to deliver a plan that is consistent in quality with other local government areas.  

 Please attend the community forum to again ensure Council clearly understands the views of residents.  Numbers are important, please also forward this onto friends. 

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As always, if you have any comments or need additional information, please feel free to comment on our Facebook Page

 

*Details of the Forums, together with support documentation, is available on Council’s website

Bentleigh

Wednesday 3 May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Bentleigh Senior Citizens Centre, 2 Arthur Street, Bentleigh to further discuss this preliminary plan.

Carnegie

Monday 8th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Boyd Room of the Carnegie Library, 7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

Elsternwick

Wednesday, 17th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Caulfield RSL, 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick.

Murrumbeena

The previously advised 24/5 Murrumbeena Structure Planning Community Forum appears to have been cancelled and has been replaced with a Structure Planning Forum for the East Village Development.  Details of this Forum are provided below.

East Village

Wednesday, 24th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Duncan McKinnon Reserve Pavilion, Cnr. North and Murrumbeena Roads, Murrumbeena

 

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

 

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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.

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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.

OPEN SPACE – ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY LOST?

Late yesterday, GERA received a letter, from Mayor Jamie Hyams,  in response to our letter (6/12/2012 refer below posting) which

  • alerted Council to the opportunity to purchase 3142 sqms of cleared open space abutting Riley Reserve, Murrumbeena (namely 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena)
  • outlined the benefits of acquiring the property, located within easy walking distance of the Murrumbeena, Hughesdale and Dandenong Road Housing Diversity (high density) areas.

Unfortunately, Council has decided not to purchase 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena.   Although located in a minimal change area and a rare opportunity to acquire a sizeable addition to the Municipality’s open space (at approximately 50% of the Melbourne Metropolitan average per capita open space, Glen Eira has the least open space in the metro area), Council argues financial considerations prevent the acquisition of this property.  Hence a valuable open space opportunity will be lost forever to high density development (as emphasised in the below sale advertising material)

Advertisement

The following is GERA’s response, dated 15/12/2012, to the Mayor’s letter.  The response has been forwarded, via email, to all Glen Eira Councillors.

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Dear Mayor Hyams,

Thank you for your 14th December, 2012, response to our recent letter (6/12/2012) alerting Council to a rare opportunity to acquire additional parkland (487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena).  While GERA accepts that Council (like every organisation and individual) has finite resources and needs to prioritise those resources, Council (like every organisation and individual) also needs to retain a degree of flexibility so that unexpected/unplanned opportunities can be capitalised.  For the reasons outlined in our above mentioned letter (copy attached), GERA believes that acquisition of 487 Neerim Road is one such unexpected/unplanned opportunity and requests Council reconsider it’s decision not to purchase the property.

In a point by point response, to your letter (14/12/2012) GERA respectfully submits the following

  •  Packer Park Acquisition  

While GERA does not contest the distinction between our wording of the 2 house lots “adjoining Packer Park” vs. your wording of “jutted in to the park”, GERA points out that the property at 487 Neerim Road is considerably larger than the 2 house lots, has the added benefit of possessing mature native vegetation and additionally is not encumbered by the presence of buildings.  The Neerim Road property estimated price of $2.2m+ therefore compares favourably with the Packer Park house lots (almost $2m) which required demolition and rehabilitation works.  Since the former bowls green at Packer Park was Council property (which it is noted Council originally proposed to sell to fund the acquisition of the 2 house lots), no acquisition costs were incurred.

  • Former Glen Huntly Reservoir (also known as the Booran Road Reservoir) 

In the period 2006/8, the Glen Huntly Reservoir was declared surplus to South East Water requirements and an “ïn principle” agreement to transfer the land to Glen Eira Council for conversion to public open space was made.  In March, 2008 (prior to the November, 2008 Council elections) Council held a public consultation on proposed usage at which residents voted overwhelmingly against selling the reservoir site for development and in favour of conversion to parkland.   In 2010, the wheels of government moving slowly, management responsibility (not ownership) for the land was officially transferred to Glen Eira.

Council’s 2012 10 year Strategic Resource Plan includes the following budgeted amounts for reservoir conversion – 2017/18 $4m, 2018/2019 $3.5m.

While GERA welcomes the addition of this new park, particularly as it is located in the Glenhuntly Housing Diversity (high density) area, GERA recognises that, unlike 487 Neerim Road, acquisition of the reservoir site is a planned opportunity and that the proposed new park will not become a reality for some considerable time.

  •  Council Advocacy

GERA supports Council’s advocacy for the Caulfield Racecourse Centre and the Elsternwick Plaza.  However, it is noted that neither are new parks, or involve additional parkland.  Additionally, Council advocacy for these two parks is not new – Council advocacy for the two was included in the soon to be replaced 1998 Open Space Strategy.

 In relation to the centre of the Caulfield Racecourse, Council’s 2011 agreement with the Melbourne Racing Club appears to have stalled since improvements (eg. removal of the Queens Avenue palisade fencing) have failed to meet their scheduled completion date.

  • New Open Space Strategy

As with Council Advocacy, GERA welcomes and supports the proposed new Open Space Strategy.  Replacement of Council’s 1998 Open Space Strategy is long overdue as, over the past 14 years, the policy has failed to keep pace with Glen Eira’s population growth and the changing needs (re parkland requirements and parkland usage) that accompanies such dramatic population growth.

While GERA notes that the 2012 Community Plan includes the broad statement that “Council will actively seek new opportunities to increase and optimise open space for residents”, GERA is concerned that your statement that “New open space may well be of even greater priority than enlarging existing open space” may imply a limitation on which open space opportunities will be considered.  Admittedly, the open space is not evenly distributed across the municipality and open space opportunities should be pursued in those areas with little or no open space.  However, this should not preclude significant open space opportunities in other better served areas, particularly when

      • those areas are zoned for dramatic current and future population growth and
      • open space accessibility, within the area or suburb, is restricted by railway lines.

GERA would welcome the opportunity to further discuss this issue, and the related issue of funding of future open space acquisitions, with Council.

  •  Open Space Improvements 

GERA acknowledges that Glen Eira’s limited open space is well maintained and that open space maintenance involves considerable expense.  It should be noted that residents question some of Council’s maintenance decisions (e.g. installation of concrete plinths, pavilion expansions), particularly when the expenses incurred by those decisions are seen to prevent or limit acquisition of additional open space.

 The need for flexibility and willingness to take advantage of unexpected open space opportunities, is reflected and highlighted by your mention of the $1.1m Murrumbeena Play Space Project   The Murrumbeena Play Space Project experienced a “leap forward” in the priority list when the unexpected State Government Grant ($259K) was announced and Council was able to unexpectedly provide the additional $850K required.

  •  Council Borrowings

Repayment of the GESAC loan (budgeted to be $23.4m at the end of the 2012/13 financial year) should be an issue for Council.   However, given

      • Council’s confidence that GESAC revenues will rise to cover not only running costs but also interest and principal repayments and
      •  the currently budgeted 2012/13 financial year surplus of $6.87m

brings into question Council’s focus on GESAC debt reduction at the expense of acquisition the 487 Neerim Road property.

  • Defined Benefit Fund

GERA seeks clarification on the $7.1m fund shortfall and its impending payment mentioned in your letter.

The July 2012 fund shortfall announcement was featured in a Glen Eira Leader Article dated 14th August, 2012.  In this article Council spokesman Paul Burke said “Council directors had identified the shortfall risk last year, and had put $3 million into its 10-year Strategic Resource Plan” … He said “$4.1 million now had to be found with the shortfall paid over 15 years

The clarification GERA seeks is the related to reconciling the significance and urgency applicable to payment of the Defined Benefit Fund shortfall as outlined in your letter and the Leader Article.

  • Rates

In order to remain focussed on relevant issues, GERA will refrain from commenting on the past election campaign matters raised in your letter.  Suffice it to say, that unexpected/unplanned open space acquisitions should not be seen to automatically result in increased rates or rate increases that are higher than expected – particularly in light of the following points:

      • with a budgeted 2012/13 financial year surplus of $6.87m,
      • the impending success of GESAC and
      • a 10 year Strategic Plan that provides for annual rates increases of 5-6%

As mentioned in this letters introduction, Council also needs to retain a degree of flexibility so that unexpected/unplanned opportunities can be capitalised. The closing comment that “Council’s priorities will be to adopt and implement a prioritised and costed plan to meet the communities need for public open space” does not reflect the community’s open space aspirations included in the 2012 Community Plan nor does it reflect unplanned/unexpected nature of open space opportunities.   Without the flexibility and willingness to take advantage of open space opportunities as they become available, Council’s vision is incomplete and the community’s needs will never be met.

As time is of the essence (487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena is to be auctioned 20/12/2012) GERA urges Council to

  • consider the acquisition advantages outlined in our 6/12/2012 letter,
  • consider the points raised above and to
  • reconsider it’s decision not to purchase 487 Neerim Road.

GERA looks forward to receiving Council’s response to this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Don Dunstan,

President,  Glen Eira Residents Association (Reg. No. A00390820L)

Box 212 Elsternwick, Post Office, 3185 Victoria

Cc:  All Councillors via Email, Glen Eira Residents via GERA website posting