Category Archives: Residents’ Forums


Many thanks to our guest speaker (Julieanne Bell, Protectors of Public Lands*) and our many members who attended the successful GERA Annual General Meeting (21/11/2012).

Julieanne Bell commenced her informal presentation with an outline of the well documented benefits of open space and the recognised threats to open space before opening the forum to a discussion of the threats.  Julieanne stated that the primary source of all threats to public open space and natural habitat is population growth.  Population growth is outstripping provision of open space and natural habitats.

From population growth stem the following issues which are increasingly recognised as serious threats to open space and natural habitats

  • Competition for available land from developers
  • Competition for park usage (passive vs active)
  • Loading up of infrastructure
  • No open space strategy
  • No master plan for planting and revegetation
  • Liquor sales for fundraising by sport clubs
  • Sale of Land or parts of land

In the informal discussion, the above threats were highlighted by examples by AGM attendees

  •  Competition for available land from developers – especially applicable in established inner and middle ring municipalities such as Glen Eira.  Available suitable land is in scarce supply and demand for development lots result in rising prices.  As urban intensification (particularly high rise, mulit-unit, boundary to boundary developments) is focussed along all hard rail routes, transport and retail/commercial hubs so too is the need/demand for public open space within, or in close proximity, to these areas.  This has been a long standing issue, which the State Government recognised years ago when it introduced the Open Space Levy (along the lines of  “make the developer pay”, the levy is a maximum of 5% of land value at the time of subdivision payable by developers to Local Councils) as a means of providing Councils with the funding to acquire and develop additional land for parkland.   Council’s should be levying the maximum 5% and funds should be “held in trust” to ensure they are available when acquisition opportunities, which are mostly unexpected, arise. 

GERA Note:  Glen Eira Council reported receiving $1.63m and $1.66 from the Open Space Levy in 2010 and 2011.  An estimated $1.9 m is anticipated in 2012/13.  Glen Eira does not charge the maximum 5% Open Space Levy and the Levy payable varies across the municipality. (insert link)

  • Competition for park usage (passive vs active usage).  The need for, and the benefits of, parks providing grounds for active participative sports (commonly referred to as organised sport) is well accepted.  Equally accepted is the need for, and the benefits of, parks providing passive recreation opportunities (i.e. picnics, dog walking, informal sports, running and walking).  Historically, provision of active sporting facilities (ovals, associated pavilions and parking requirements) have been given greater significance than providing for passive recreation.  However, this emphasis is shifting towards passive recreation as it is increasingly being recognised that active sporting facilities
    • cater for a smaller population segment than passive recreation which caters for all ages and abilities
    • involve significant land requirements (for ovals, pavilions and parking) yet are used by relatively few people (players/umpires) for significant periods (eg. game duration).  On the other hand passive recreation involves less open space consuming facilities and available open space can be shared by many people at any time.
  • Loading up of infrastructure – Infrastructure includes multi-purpose pavilions (and their ancillary car parking and vehicle access requirements), BBQ and Picnic Rotundas, public toilets, concrete paving etc.  While infrastructure can enhance parkland, improve  accessibility and encourage parkland usage it also consumes open space and therefore needs a balanced well planned approach.  Unfortunately, many local Councils are focussing on “bigger is better” multi-purpose facilities which are under-utilised.  In the case of Glen Eira, attendees raised the issue of the Caulfield Park Pavilion, GESAC (and it’s increasing car parking requirements), the Packer Park Pavilion replacement and expansion and the location of the Glen Eira Parks Depot in Caulfield Park as notable infrastructure loading examples.
  • No open space strategy – An Open Space Strategy is a long term strategic plan for the future provision of sport and recreation infrastructure, facilities, services, trails and open spaces. Such strategies include identifying and confirming the community’s sport and recreation needs, developing a strategic and coordinated approach (that includes funding strategies and open space management arrangements) to meet those needs. 

Residents commented that the current Glen Eira Open Space Strategy is dated 1998 and over the past 14 years the policy has failed to keep pace with Glen Eira’s population growth and its changing needs (re parkland requirements and parkland usage).  Despite Glen Eira residents consistently ranking open space as a major issue, in both the Community Plan and the annual State Government Council Satisfaction Survey,  the Strategy that should have been regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure that it meets the needs of the community has lapsed. 

  • No master plan for planting and revegetation – Sitting under Open Space Strategy, a master plan for planting and revegetation (focussing on tree protection, native vegetation cultural and heritage significant of plantings and maintenance) should be developed for each public park within the municipality to ensure that open space and natural habitats remain inviting, healthy and safe (for both residents and vegetation). 

Residents referred to the September, 2011, removal of 178 cypress trees along the eastern and southern borders of McKinnon Reserve as indicative of Glen Eira’s lack of Planting and Revegetation Master Plans.  In a  Melbourne Bayside Weekly article on the cypress tree removal Glen Eira spokesman Paul Burke said an independent arborist had identified the need to remove the eastern (Tucker Rd) and southern rows of trees.   He said the trees were in poor condition with branches falling and had to be felled to “eliminate the risk to people, powerlines and property”.  …   New trees will be planted later this year, though the species and the exact timeframe are yet to be determined, Mr Burke said.” 

  • Liquor sales – for fundraising by sport clubs require secure areas to control the sale and consumption of alcohol.  Management Plans are required to ensure the sale and consumption of alcohol does not impact other park or facility users, particularly children.   In the case new or multi-purpose facilities such plans should be in place before any liquor license agreement is decided.
  • Sale of Land or parts of land – The 2009 proposed sale of the disused Packer Park lawn bowls club to finance the purchase of two house lots in Packer Park was presented as an example of a significant threat to open space.  In the Packer Park case, the public outcry (the Protectors of Public Lands joined residents in objecting to the sale) was such that Council retained and converted the lawn bowls club to parkland.  Unfortunately, residents did not achieve the same result with the earlier sale of the bowls club that adjoined the Hopetoun Gardens in Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick.

Despite achieving mixed results and experiencing seemingly limitless frustration, Julieanne Bell, believes residents should be active in preserving and enlarging Glen Eira’s limited open space.  Open Space lost is lost forever.


* Julieanne Bell is the convenor of the Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria.  The Protectors of Public Lands (Vic) was established in 2004 and is an organisation comprising over 80 environmental, community, heritage and residents groups and is affiliated with N.S.W. and S.A. branches of the Protectors of Public Lands as well as other action groups (Save our Suburbs, Planning Backlash, Sustainable Population Australia, Green Wedges Coalition).  The aim of the Protectors of Public Lands is the protection and preservation of public lands in public ownership for present and future generations (ie National, State, Local Government and Government Agencies (eg. Melbourne Water, VicRail) lands are lands held in trust for the people).   Public land, once sold, is land lost to the people forever.


The Annual General Meeting of the Glen Eira Residents Association Inc. will be held at 7-30 pm on Wednesday 21 November, 2012, at St. John’s Uniting Church Hall, (entrance Foster St.),  Elsternwick. 

This is a Public Meeting and open to all.  Your attendance would be welcome.

Our guest speaker will be Julianne Bell, Secretary, Protectors of Public Lands (Victoria) Inc.  Formerly, Julianne was Convenor of the Royal Park Protection Group Inc.

We expect this to be a stimulating and valuable talk for us, given Glen Eira’s problems with Public Lands, especially with the Booran Rd Reservoir land and the Racecourse parkland.

 Don Dunstan,  President Glen Eira Residents Association Inc.


Sunday’s (7/10/2012)  “Meet the Candidates” well attended community forum provided lively discussions between the candidates and residents.  GERA received very positive feedback, from both candidates and residents, on how informative and enjoyable the forum was and how greatly they appreciated the opportunity to participate in the forum.

Although all 33 candidates were invited, regrettably some didn’t respond and not all were able to participate.  Despite the importance of “community” being featured in all current Councillors’ election material, it is regrettable that only 3 (Forge, Magee and Penhalluriack) of the 8 current councillors seeking re-election attended.  All candidates who were unable to attend missed a valuable opportunity to present their platforms to residents and openly discuss current issues with the other candidates and residents.   Details of the 11 attendees, by ward – Camden, Rosstown, Tucker are presented.

As mentioned  in our Forum flyers and website announcement, the meeting comprised an opportunity (approx. 3 mins) for candidates to briefly outline their responses to the 11 questions* GERA asked in their meeting invitation  or other issues they felt were significant.  This was followed by the “formal” question and answer session and an informal one on one question and answer session. What follows is a synopsis of the candidates’ presentation and the “formal” question and answer session.

Bear with us folks, this will be a longer than usual post but it is in your interest to persevere – the decisions Council makes have a bigger impact on our daily lives that most think.  Council is more than maintenance, rates, rubbish and the statutory provision of services (eg infant welfare, immunisation etc.).  It is Council that manages traffic flows and parking, who decides what gets built where, provides expansion and maintenance of open space, determines rates and is responsible to managing a budget of $132 m in a prudent and accountable manner for the benefit of the community.

CANDIDATES PRESENTATIONS (the candidates determined the order of the presentations and they are presented in that order)

Jim Magee – Incumbent Councillor, Independent, Tucker Ward

Long term resident of Tucker Ward. Unsuccessfully stood for Council in 2005 but again stood and was successful in 2008.  Appointed as a Trustee of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve, elected Chairman of the Trustees 2012.  If successful in 2012 council elections, will not stand for re-election in 2016.

Biggest issues – Open Space, Facilities (seniors’ facilities in general and child care facilities in Tucker)

Mary Delahunty – Independent, Camden Ward

Member of a well-known political family with both Liberal and Labor members. Elsternwick resident, with a young family, who is passionate about local government.  Has a Masters in Finance.

Believes Council does well with the statutory requirements (eg immunisation) but believes community connectivity and consultation (particularly open space, planning and traffic management) need considerable improvement.  Is concerned about Council’s debt.

Kate Dempsey (Dr.)  – Independent, Camden

Long term Camden resident (27 years) and activist.  Has a successful consulting business focussed on local government and educational institutions. Has not had business dealing with Glen Eira Council. Was selected, after extensive selection process, by Council to be a Community Representative on the formulation of the 2012 Community/Council Plan+.  Standing for Council because of skills/knowledge arising from local authority consulting business and negative experience with Council in developing the 2012 Community/Council Plan.

Does not oppose development per se but is opposed to development that is out of keeping with character of area and inadequately planned.  Knows how Council should work and Glen Eira Council works – the two are not the same.

Dr. Kate Dempsey’s unedited response to our 11 questions are provided on both our website and her facebook page.  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association. 

Newton Gatoff – Independent, Tucker

Long term Glen Eira resident with a career in local government.

Standing because of issues related to planning, governance, finances (burgeoning debt which prevents other projects being undertaken), community engagement and the inability of the current council to work together in the interests of residents.  Over ten to twelve years the same issues have been re-appearing and remain unaddressed.   Re-electing the same Councillors has not been effective over the past 10 or so years – it’s time for new people who will work together to address the issues.

Newton Gatoff’s unedited response to our 11 questions are provided both our website and his facebook page.  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association.

Cheryl Forge – Incumbent Councillor (for 2.5 years), Independent, Camden Ward

Long term resident Camdem resident.  Glen Eira and Save our Suburbs activist who opposed the C60 MRC Caulfield Village Development.  Became a Councillor (2 years ago) upon the resignation of former Mayor Helen Whiteside.  Appointed as a Trustee of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The issues related to Racecourse development, traffic and parking, and overall Glen Eira planning issues need to be addressed by Council.  Her platform of zero rate increases takes into consideration existing loans, proposed future loans and the capping of staffing numbers (via natural attrition) and pegging salary increases.  Is frustrated by the time taken up and ratepayers resources being wasted on the CEO’s legal actions.

Brett Hedger – Greens,  Tucker Ward

Long term resident.

“Council isn’t working for us and hasn’t worked for us and for over 8 years”.  Of the candidates for Tucker Ward “11 out of the 14 represent the status quo” The major issues facing Glen Eira and Tucker Ward are Child Care, Open Space and Development.

Brett Hedger’s unedited response to our 11 questions are provided both our website and his facebook page.  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association.

Frank Penhalluriack – Incumbent Councillor, Independent, Camden Ward.

Long term successful Glen Eira business man with Liberal leanings but is not a member of any political party.  Opposed the C60 development and Council’s decision on the Alma Club.

One of the major issues in Glen Eira, and particularly Camden, is the lack of open space.  Recognises the need for Crs. Magee and Forge (both Trustees of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve) to be re-elected so that they can continue fighting for greater public access to the Racecourse Reserve.  Another major issue is the Auditor General’s classification of Glen Eira Council as a high risk Council due to high debt servicing costs and low liquidity ratio.  Both debt servicing and low liquidity have resulted in delays in other projects (eg Duncan McKinnon Pavilion).  Successful businessmen and women, who will accountable to the electorate, are needed on Council to ensure finances are wisely spent and managed.

Frank Penhalluriack’s unedited response to our 11 questions is provided on our Website  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association.

Wilmars Mickelsons – Greens, Rosstown Ward

Long term resident who grew up in Glen Eira and has also raised a family in the municipality.

Believes Cr. Pilling is the most community minded Councillor on Council and that Glen Eira Council doesn’t engage with the community.  Main issues are engaging the community and, particularly for Rosstown, ensuring the future of the Carnegie Pool.

Wilmars Mickelsons’s unedited response to our 11 questions are provided on our website.  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association.

James Steedman – Independent, Camden Ward

Although a recent resident of Glen Eira (late 2011), has a long history of public service with the Australian Federal Police (still serving) and a long professional association with policing in the municipality.

Does not believe there is much wrong with Glen Eira Council (his experience has shown there are some better and others worse) and if elected pledges to work as part of a team of Councillors focussing on providing good long term outcomes for the residents.

James Steedman’s unedited response to our 11 questions are provided on our website.  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association.

Rose Read – Greens, Tucker Ward

All the Greens council candidates share a common commitment to enhancing openness, transparency and accountability in Glen Eira.  Unfortunately, although Council has a big impact on daily lives, most residents do not focus on Council until services are not available.  Throughout her professional career she has seen what other Councils have achieved and what can be done when Council works as a team and pledges to build a better Council that will work as a team.  Open Space is a major issue in Glen Eira.

Don Dunstan – Independent, Rosstown Ward

Long term resident of Glen Eira with a long term commitment to community service (served 3 terms as a Caulfield Councillor, founder of the Glen Eira U3A, involvement with the Adult Education Council.).

Major issues are much needed improvements to open, transparent, accountable governance, community participation, open space, traffic and parking and management of financial resources

Don Dunstan’s unedited response to our 11 questions are provided on our website.  Please note that the responses are the views of the candidate and not necessarily those of the Glen Eira Residents’ Association.


Candidates responses are recorded in the order in which the candidates responded to the questions.

Question  – Council should not be political and aligned with political parties. Your opinions?

 Mary Delahunty (Camden) – responded that neither the Labor or Liberal parties endorsed candidates at the local government level as the Local Government Act requires Councillor’s to work together impartially in the interests of the residents.  Thus, political affiliations are not a valid consideration at the local government level.

 The majority of other Candidates disagreed and argued that political affiliations bind Councillors to party policies and influenced their voting patterns.  It was, therefore, important that political affiliation be declared by all Candidates during the election campaign.

 When further asked if they had received any political party or political organisation election funding,  all independent candidates said ‘no’.  The Greens candidates stated that, while they had received advice and some financial assistance from the Greens and local fundraising, the primary source of funding was personal coffers.  (GERA Note:  Candidates acknowledged that genuine and effective campaigns cost in the vicinity of $5 – 7,000 – stooges pay a lot less)

Question  – Why can’t residents speak and ask questions of Council/Councillors at ordinary Council Meeting.

 Jim Magee (Tucker) – stated that in 2008 Council voted to change the local law to require public questions to be submitted in writing prior to an ordinary Council Meeting.  The local law could be changed but is unlikely to be changed by the present incumbent councillors.

 Question  – Glen Eira, particularly Camden Ward, was once beautiful, now it is ordinary.  What do you propose to do to achieve better planning outcomes and given the pledges for zero rate increase how is this to be achieved given Council’s current financial state?

 Frank Penhalluriack (Camden) – the cost of salaries has increased by 32%, we need to cap staff numbers (via natural attrition) and peg salary increases.   Cut waste and prioritise spending – examples – cut waste by renovating existing public toilets rather than installing excel public toilets, defer spending on warm season grasses

 James Steedman (Camden) appreciates the legacy of previous councils and recognises the need to maintain and improve on that legacy.  Planning controls are in place and need to be enforced.  Separate the Open Space Levy and ensure that it is spent in the areas where it is raised.

 Kate Dempsey (Camden) questioned how Council spends money and sets priorities without discussion with residents (example – concrete plinths in parks).  Need to minimise waste.  Residents need to be better informed (what is going on and what is going up).   Additionally Council needs to improve its advocacy at VCAT.

 Newton Gatoff (Tucker) – Glen Eira does not have, yet needs, structure plans (structure plans** are all encompassing plans that consider all aspects of development  (eg built form, height) and their flow on impacts (traffic and parking, drainage etc).  Structure plans allow the community to get ahead of the developer/development and not get rolled at VCAT.

 Cheryl Forge (Camden) – structure plans and height controls required.  Need Council to work together (example – approval of $500K cost of concrete plinths in Camden Ward’s Caulfield Park; Camden Councillors voted no, all other Councillors approved.  Voting and approval not made in an open Council Meeting.

Question –  A question of consistency – why are some Places of Worship, Medical Centres and Child Care Centres allowed in residential areas and others not? (examples – Morrice Street Child Care Centre – rejected by Council, VCAT hearing pending and Kooyong Rd & Edwards St Medical Centre allowed)

 Frank Penhalluriack (Camden) – State Government legislation which sets the framework for the local planning scheme allows it.

 Mary Delahunty (Camden) – With the proposed changes to the planning zones this is very important.  The Glen Eira Council submission on the zones is deficient.  The proposed new planning zones will have a major impact on Glen Eira.  Glen Eira needs a strong Council who will balance “making things easier” with “loss of rights”

 Question – Why does Council approve developments that are not in compliance with ResCode?

 Jim Magee (Tucker) – each project needs to be individually reviewed for ResCode compliance.  ResCode does not apply to developments over 4 storeys.  With regards the proposed planning reforms – minimal change areas may be advantaged by the changes but any other classification/zones will lose out.   For example, under the proposed changes, Heritage will always lose out when it’s a choice of Business/Commercial development vs. Heritage.

Newton Gatoff (Tucker) – Structure Plans are recognised by VCAT.  Without structure plans, under the new zones, Camden Ward will suffer the most.  Tucker Ward (in particular Centre Road)  is a good example of random developments and adhoc subdivisions occurring.

Question – Who decides (approve/deny) planning permit applications?

 Jim Magee (Tucker) – Councillors only see the applications that are in the “too difficult” category.  All others are decided by the Planning Officers.

 Don Dunstan (Rosstown) – 98% of applications received are approved by the Administration with or without residents being advised.  This is not what happens in other Councils or in Glen Eira in the past – where the administration is/was authorised to approve only “minor” applications (fences, signs).  Councillors’, via delegations of authority, have broadened the Administration’s authority at the expense of residents.

 Question – The questionable Community Plan 2012, as defined by the current council, will be inherited by new council.  How do you propose to deal with this?

 Newton Gatoff (Tucker) – the new Council needs to start afresh and should not be bound by the “cut and paste” (old to new document) mentality of the 2012 plan.  The 2012 plan does not adequately represent the views expressed by the residents at the community consultations.

 Kate Dempsey (Camden) –  was a community representative on the Community Plan Committee and as a result of that experience is standing for Council.  Essentially the community plan is a rubber stamped view of the administration that does not reflect residents views – the community representatives on the committee (3) were consistently over ridden by Council officers.  It should be redone.

 Rose Read  (Tucker) – the community reaction to the 2012 plan, is to rip it up and start again as it does not reflect the wishes of the community.  To achieve this voters need to elect Councillors with the will and the numbers.

 James Steedman (Camden) –  the 2012 plan should reflect what the community want and, therefore, what Council should do.

One of the residents agreed with the above comments and commented that consistently independent surveys and residents’ comments, at the community plan resident consultation meetings, indicate that residents’ expectations are much higher than the current councillors and administration achieve.  There is a huge gap between expectation and performance.

 Another resident commented that the current Council/Administration is continually stripping away the communication process and in doing so is failing residents.

 Question – Open space (Glen Eira has the least open space in metropolitan Melbourne), how would you fund acquisition and maintenance of new parkland?

 Mary Delahunty (Camden) – commented that it was a disgrace that Council couldn’t afford to acquire the Alma Club.  Council needs to have reserves that enable it to stand in the market place and acquire new land.  Council also needs to have a strategic plan.

 The majority of Candidates felt that revenue raised from the Open Space Levy should be set aside to acquire open space rather than, as is currently done, spent on general park maintenance.  The revenue raised by the open space levy should be spent in the area/ward in which it was generated.

 GERA note:  Annual Accounts for past two years show Open Space Levy generates $1.6m revenue per annum.

 Question – Lack of public transport and parking at GESAC is a significant issue.  What do you think of the proposal to install a drop off point in Gardiners Road?

 The majority of Candidates felt that a drop off point in Gardiners Road was inappropriate and that it should be a priority to address the parking and transport issues caused by GESAC.  (GERA comment: The current Council is adopting a wait and see attitude).

In answer to a resident’s question, Jim Magee (Tucker) commented that he was unaware of any analysis of transport requirements, based on GESAC usage/patronage and postcodes, being undertaken.

 Question – Given the significance of preferences in elections could each candidate advise to whom they have assigned their second preferences

 Mary Delahunty (Camden) – Joshua Spiegel

Kate Dempsey (Camden) – Thomas Sounness

Cheryl Forge (Camden) – Frank Penhalluriack

Frank Penhalluriack (Camden) – Cheryl Forge

James Steedman (Camden) – Bernie Kuran

Don Dunstan (Rosstown) – Undecided

Wilmars Mikelson (Rosstown) – Neil Pilling

 Newton Gatoff (Tucker) – Oscar Lobo

Brett Hedger (Tucker) – Rose Read

          Jim Magee (Tucker) – Henry Buch

Rose Read (Tucker) – Brett Hedger

Question – What do you see as the major traffic issues confronting Glen Eira and what holistic approach would you take to managing traffic in an activity centre.

 Mary Delahunty (Camden) – current traffic management is not strategic or done on an LATM (Local Area Traffic Management) basis – both approaches are desperately needed.   We need to prioritise LATM development and consult with the community.  LATM development to be included in the budget.

 Don Dunstan (Camden) – we need to control overdevelopment and its flow on impacts of traffic and parking etc.  Where development occurs we need to ensure that transport services compliment the increased demand.

 James Steedman (Camden) – Public transport, sustainable transport and parking requirements need to be integrated in the planning scheme

 Newton Gatoff (Tucker) – implementing structure planning for an area integrates traffic management and parking demands in the planning for an area.  In structure plans traffic and parking are considered on a holistic basis for the area. Need to look at potential of pedestrianizing some shopping strips (eg Centre Road)

 Cheryl Forge (Camden) – grade separation at railway crossings, proper traffic and parking planning.

 Jim Magee (Tucker) – do not allow developments which do not provide adequate parking

 Kate Dempsey (Camden) – develop structure plans and advocate railway crossing grade separation.  The Caulfield Village traffic and parking is/was inadequate.

 Wilmars Mikelson (Rosstown) – railway crossing grade separation and provision of alternative sustainable transport option.

 Brett Hedger (Tucker)– need to develop a Road User Hierarchy which ranks road users according to vulnerability and sustainability (pedestrians and cyclists first, single occupant vehicles last) and manage traffic accordingly.

 Rose Read (Tucker) – need to encourage behavioural changes in motorists to increase safety.  Need to analyse traffic flows within Glen Eira to understand where people go before developing traffic management plans.

 Frank Penhalluriack (Camden) – until adequate public transport (including railway crossing grade separation) is provided in metro Melbourne (years and years away), council needs to switch thinking and focus to what is required now.

 That’s all folks!!!  GERA did warn you that this post would be much longer than our usual postings.

GERA hopes that the information provided assists you in determining which Candidate to support when you cast your ballot on 27th October.  GERA thanks the candidates and residents who attended the forum for their input.



* To give all candidates (those attending, and those unable to attend, the forum) an opportunity to present their platforms to residents, GERA included in the candidates invitation to the forum 11 questions of interest to residents.  No candidates unable attend the forum responded to the 11 questions.  Of the candidates attending the forum, 5 submitted written responses to the questions – these responses are included in the above “Candidate Presentation” section.

+ The Community/Council Plan, as outlined in various GERA posting (see Community Plan Forums) is “supposedly” a guiding document which is the result of extensive community participation.  It represents the communities aspirations and expectations – as such all other plans (Council’s strategies and financial plans are designed to meet the expectations and aspirations expressed in the community plan).  The 2012 Community/Council Plan approved by Council has been widely criticised as not representing the views expressed by residents at the community consultation meetings.

**  See GERA posting on Structure Planning (1/1/2012)

Authorised by M. Healy, 100 Eskdale Road, Caulfield North



      Date:            Sunday,  7th October, 2012

      Time:           3. 00 p.m. for 3.30 p.m. start

      Venue:         St. John’s Uniting Church, 567 Glen Huntly Road,  Elsternwick

       Admission Fee

            Members:                        No charge

            Non-Members:               Small Gold Coin Donation

The Glen Eira Residents Association (GERA) is holding a public forum to which all Council Election Candidates (both current incumbents and new candidates) and Residents are invited.

GERA’s intention is to provide an opportunity for all candidates to formally present their views and visions for Glen Eira followed by a question and answer session with residents.   An informal “meet and greet” session will follow.

To facilitate the forum, GERA has prepared and presented to the Candidates, the following questions:

  1. Why have you decided to stand for council?
  2. What specific skills, abilities and experience do you believe you can offer?
  3. In what areas do you think Glen Eira Council needs to improve and why?
  4. What specific commitments are you prepared to make to the residents of the municipality?
  5. How would you improve governance issues at Glen Eira?
  6. What is your position on the planning reform zones, structure planning and height limits?
  7. What do you see as the three major concerns facing Council and the municipality.  What will be your approach to addressing these issues?
  8. How would you approach the issue of increasing the amount of public open space in Glen Eira?
  9. If you have indicated whom you would preference, could you please explain why you chose those particular candidates?
  10. Are you affiliated with any political party or organisation and has that party or organisation contributed in any way to your election campaign?
  11. Councillors often promise the world, but deliver very little.  How do you intend to adhere to you election promises?

GERA welcomes residents presenting their own questions to the Candidates.


Authorised by M. Healy, 100 Eskdale Road, Caulfield North, Vic. 3161



GERA thanks the 50+ residents for attending last Wednesday’s (11/7/2012) GERA Traffic and Parking Forum – your attendance and discussion contributions made for a very successful and informative evening.

The three speakers (Dr. Bruce Corben, Cr. Narelle Sharpe, Cr. Serge Thomann) spoke about traffic management, road safety and parking innovations from research perspective and  the various approaches Councils use to address these issues.  Unfortunately, no Glen Eira Councillor attended the forum.

Dr. Bruce Corben focused on the issue of safety and the need for road design and traffic calming treatments to reduce speed.  Dr. Corben outlined a “shift in thinking” in the design of roads and traffic management treatments which recognizes that drivers of vehicles cannot be 100% perfect/functional  100% of the time.  Therefore, the concepts of Vision Zero (no deaths) and reducing speed (to protect the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists) are now becoming inherent in traffic engineering/management.   Good road design and good traffic calming treatments – which aim at reducing speed and the reliance on vehicles – not only have the well-known tangible benefits of improved safety (less accidents and reduced severity of accidents), a more active population, energy conservation and reduced emissions but also have the lesser known intangible benefits of fostering a sense of community and social contact in a less stressful environment.

Dr. Corben also commented that arguments against installing traffic calming treatments based on the cost of such treatments are increasingly being considered unjustifiable – the dollars and a few seconds added to a motorist’s trip are simply not worth compromising the safety of all.

Cr. Narelle Sharpe,  Moonee Valley Council, outlined the approach that MVCC has taken to the traffic and parking issues within their municipality.  Similar to Glen Eira, Moonee Valley has diverse areas with different traffic and parking issues (the race course, older areas with narrow streets, newer areas with wider streets, shopping and entertainment precincts etc.).  MVCC has recently completed an extensive evaluation, which included substantial community consultation, of the municipality and significantly revised their Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) scheme – 22 LATM’s have been recognized and scheduled for review. The MVCC is investing $40K-$45K for each LATM scheme.   Each review will ensure parking and traffic conditions meet the local needs, provide improved accessibility for other parking users and address the wider metropolitan requirements such as enabling through traffic.

Cr. Sharpe reported that the LATM approach allows Council to change from being reactive to being pro-active when addressing traffic and parking issues and enabled a holistic approach to be taken.  As Cr. Sharpe stated a change in one street, flows on to other streets – “ it is no good fixing an issue in one street by shifting it to the next street”.  

With regards parking, along with the revised LATMs, the MVCC also implemented a Kerbside Road Space User Hierarchy and a Parking Demand Management Framework

  • Kerbside Road Space User Hierarchy – is a system that prioritises the needs of the various users depending on the type of area considered (for example residents have priority to park in residential streets, in activity centres customers/patrons have priority).
  • Parking Demand Management Framework – establishes a clear 85% rule for managing parking within the Moonee Valley municipality and 4 tiers of restricted parking (the higher the tier, the greater the restriction) are applied.  If 85% of available parking space is continuously occupied then parking restrictions are introduced to encourage a regular turnover of vehicles.  The tier of the parking restriction (eg 1P, 2P) is dependent on the needs of area or the activity centre generating the demand for parking.  Community (residents, retailers, commercial operators) consultation is always undertaken prior to restricted parking being implemented.

GERA Note:  The main objectives of a Local Area Traffic Management Schemes are to address road safety issues, traffic speed and volume issues, parking problems and improve the residential environment.  The LATM approach to managing traffic and parking is not a new concept and has long been widely accepted and practised by Municipalities.  The LATM process involves

  • analysing existing traffic/parking conditions in a local area, within the broader municipal area
  • considering the impact of traffic/parking on a local area basis and the flow on impact that installing a traffic calming treatment, or restricted parking, in one street will have on other streets in the local area.
  • extensive community consultation (to identify issues, develop solutions and achieve community support) leading to the development of a traffic management plan for the local areas. 

Glen Eira has LATM’s and has used this holistic management approach in the past, however, recent decisions (lower speed limits in Glen Huntly Road and Centre Road, speedhumps in McKinnon Road) and Council’s failure to proactively recognise the “rat runs” this has caused in nearby residential streets indicates it no longer follows this approach. 

Cr. Serge Thomann, Port Phillip Council, began by stating that Port Phillip had significant problems with traffic (volumes and speed) and parking – Port Phillip, because of it’s location and attractions, was both a through area for metropolitan traffic and a destination.  In their approach to their traffic and parking issues Port Phillip Council has determined that it’s primary role is to facilitate livability for residents and therefore has adopted the following

  • Traffic
    • A Road User Hierarchy – which focusses on the needs of the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians’ needs are our foremost priority, followed by bicycles, public transport users and finally trucks and single occupant vehicles.
    • Port Phillip actively discourages through traffic use of residential streets (rat runs) and encourages use of main roads by installing a wide variety of traffic calming measures in local streets (including blocking off residential streets).  In determining if, and what type of, traffic calming treatment is to be installed, the flow on impact to other local streets is also considered and addressed.   Where possible Port Phillip incorporates, and maintains, street planting in traffic calming treatments.
    • Port Philllip provides an extensive, well patronized, free community bus service within the municipality to discourage residents reliance on private vehicle transport.  The community bus service has a regular schedules and routes
  • Parking
    • Port Phillip sees itself as being responsible to provide parking for its residents, retailers, workers and the patrons of its areas – it does not see itself as responsible to provide parking for commuters, therefore, most of Port Phillip has restricted parking.
    • Since 2002, Port Phillip has excluded any development which intensifies the number of residences on a lot from its residential parking permit scheme.

Open Discussion – after the presentations a general discussion occurred in which the residents made the following comments on Glen Eira’s traffic and parking management issues.

  • Council is unresponsive to residents’ concerns – the expense of installing traffic calming treatments in local streets is the standard reason for refusal.  Issues of safety do not seem to be given any weight or adequate investigation.
  • Council’s focus is on main roads rather than residential streets
  • Council is re-active rather than pro-active (after, rather than before, an accident occurs)
  • Council does not adopt a holistic approach – the decisions it has taken on traffic management in Glen Huntly Road, Centre Road and McKinnon Road have resulted in ‘rat runs’ (usually at high speed) in nearby streets.  That “professionals” didn’t recognize this flow on impact, or take it into consideration, is source of frustration to residents.  No community consultation occurred prior to or after the installation – residents feedback since installation is not heeded.
  • Residents’ concerns re speeding vehicles are not addressed by Council – Council refers the residents to the Police, who in turn refer the residents to Council.  The Police are responsible for enforcing the speed limit (when it comes to residential streets, police speed limit checking is intermittent), however, when it comes to local streets and a continual problem it becomes a safety issue and the responsibility of Council.  Residents are put in the unenviable “ïn between” position
  • Council’s enforcement of the residential parking permit system or parking restrictions in various activity centres (eg Carnegie and Murrumbeena) is minimal.  It relies on motorists doing the right thing or residents raising an issue with a particular vehicle.  Patrolling these areas need not be daily but even a once weekly patrol would make a significant difference in the no. of vehicles overstaying their welcome.
  • Glen Eira has community buses, however, they do not provide any bus service within the municipality.  The community buses are provided and maintained by Council for use by non-profit organisations or groups in the municipality.

At the end of the open discussion, Cr. Thomann commented that this was an election year and although Councillors may not have been listening for the past 3.5 years they should be listening now.  Residents needed to stand up and make sure that Councillors and the Administration listened.

GERA thanks Dr. Bruce Corben, Cr. Narelle Sharpe and Cr. Serge Thomann for their presentation and active participation.  GERA will actively lobby Councillors to listen and focus on the items raised during the forum.  GERA welcomes resident involvement in these endeavours.

Residents’ Traffic and Parking Forum

‘Rat Runs’ and No Parking

A feature of life soon!

What’s the alternative?


      Date:            Wednesday, 11th July, 2012

      Time:           7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. start

      Venue:         St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 281 Glen Eira Road,  Elsternwick

       Speakers:        Dr. Bruce Corben  (Monash University)

 Cr. Narelle Sharpe  (Moonee Valley Council)

  Cr. Serge Thomann  (Port Phillip Council).

      Admission Fee

            Members:                        No charge

            Non-Members:               Small Gold Coin Donation  

Are you concerned about –

  • The increasing incidence of ‘rat runs’ in quiet residential streets?
  • The lack of on street parking in residential streets?
  • The lack of pedestrian and cyclist safety?
  • Council’s lack of response to these issues?

If so, then come along to our community forum and hear about the latest research, what can be done, and how other councils approach these problems.

Glen Eira Council is responsible for traffic management within and around the municipality, Council’s general aim of traffic management “is to ‘calm’ traffic in local streets and direct through traffic to the more major roads”.  However, the reality is that Council

  • Focuses on main roads
  • Adopts a re-active stance rather than a pro-active (Road Safety Strategy – requires 3 casualty crashes before safety issues are considered)
  • Does not practice community responsive strategic traffic management.  When was the last time you were consulted about traffic and parking in your Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) scheme?
  • Doesn’t consider flow-on impact of traffic in local streets when changing conditions in main roads (eg. McKinnon Road speed cushions, decreased speed limits on Glen Huntly Road and Centre Road,  Kooyong and Alma Roads intersection trial bicycle design received a petition signed by 243 residents soon after the start of the trial)
  • Only budgets for 4-5 traffic calming treatments (speed cushions) per annum in local streets
  • Describes residents’ concerns with increased traffic volumes and speeds as “perceived concerns”

What are other Councils doing, what can be done?

  • When addressing traffic issues the focus is shifting away from vehicular movement to focussing on the safety of the  most vulnerable road users (pedestrians/cyclists)  The Road User Hierarchy ranks various road users.
  • Goal is zero casualty crashes – if road users persist in unsafe habits (eg speeding), then the road design needs to include traffic calming treatments.
  • Address specific neighbourhood needs ie. systematic approach to particular traffic and parking challenges.  “Numerous criteria are considered – ranging from resident and community concerns, traffic volumes, traffic speed and accidents, to more proactive criteria such as the number of activity centres and number of facilities that generate a lot of pedestrian and car traffic like railway stations, schools and community centres” – Moonee Valley Council

Update – GERA Planning Forum, March, 2012

GERA thanks the 70 + residents, Cr and Mrs. Lobo, Mr Forge for attending Thursday night’s (15/3) GERA planning forum – your attendance and discussion contributions made for a successful and informative evening.

We had planned for two guest Speakers, Cr Serge Thomann (Port Phillip Council), and Cr Rosemary West, OAM (Kingston Council).  Unfortunately, circumstances beyond his control prevented Cr Serge Thomann (Port Phillip Council) from attending,  however, Cr. Rosemary West raised many issues that resonated with residents and gave an insight into the way Kingston Council approaches these issues.

At the start of her discussion Cr. West clearly outlined the legislative roles of  local  government :

  • Councillors report to the ratepayers/residents
  • Council Administration reports to Councillors

For good governance reasons, it is critical that these vital responsibilities are observed at all times by Councillors and by the Council Administration – at all levels.  It is not just good governance, it is also the Law.  Council should always welcome ratepayers/residents views and act in accordance with those views.  Ratepayers and residents should be active in ensuring that their views are sought and heard – residents should not be “put off” by the paperwork and processes involved.

When it comes to planning issues, the following is a listing of items/issues raised, and an outline of the ensuing discussion (GERA’s and residents comments are presented in italics).   Cr. West believes residents should be aware of these issues and should be actively questioning their Councillors on them.

  • Structure Plans* are clear and tightly worded plans, developed in consultation with the community, to ensure that
    • all aspects (including flow on impacts) of development are considered by planners, and
    • development proposals are managed in line with the community’s  aspirations and that the community knows what is to be  built where.

(* For a more detailed outline of structure plans refer to GERA’s posting under the “Structure Planning” topic).

Cr. West believes structure plans are essential for each municipality and each activity centre/urban village/neighbourhood centre within the municipality.  At a minimum residents should be demanding these plans include height controls, traffic and parking management plans and buffer zones between high density developments and minimal change areas.  Cr. West said Plans and Planning schemes need to be clear and tightly worded to minimise VCAT’s ability to overturn Council decisions.

Please note that Glen Eira does not have any comprehensive Structure Plan/s, despite Councillors and the community demanding them.  Consequently, there are no specified height controls or analytical traffic and parking management plans or defined buffer zones.  Glen Eira’s plans and planning schemes are not clear and tightly worded – hence are frequently overturned by VCAT (the state government planning tribunal).

  • Delegations (of Authority) are the instruments used by Council to legally enable the Administrative Officers to handle the day to day affairs of the Municipality.  Delegations of Authority are presented for Council approval.  Responsibility for the operation of Council remains with Councillors, as does responsibility for ensuring that the delegations are appropriate and are complied with.  Cr. West emphasised the need for Councillor awareness of the implications of delegations.

Planning Permit Approval Process  

In most Councils, via delegations, approximately 95% of planning permit approvals are approved by Council Officers.  The process is as follows

    • Planning Officers review each planning permit application against the planning scheme.  Planning Officers may approve, deny or request further information or amendments.  The Planning Officer may or may not require a development to be advertised.  If the development is advertised and no objection is received the Planning Officer can approve the development.  If an objections is received or if the Planning Officer considers the development contentious the permit is sent to the Delegated Planning Committee (DPC)
    • The Delegated Planning Committee, (which in Glen Eira comprises three planning officers) , reviews the referred permits.  The DPC may decide to approve the permit, deny the permit or, if the number of objections received are determined to be “reasonable”, refer the permit to a planning conference which is chaired by a Councillor.
    • After the planning conference, the permit application is presented at a Council meeting for Councillor approval, denial or amendment.

What distinguishes Glen Eira Council from other Councils, is that Glen Eira Councillors do not have the ability to “call in” a planning permit.  A “call in”, usually arises when residents have requested a Councillor to seek a formal Council review of the permit. Glen Eira Councillor’s do not have this ability because they have delegated it away, most other Councils (including Kingston) have not done so and Councillors can “call in”  permit/s.

Cr. West advised that in Kingston when a “call-in”” occurs the officers’ reports, attached to the permit application, are questioned.  If the questions are unable to be resolved at the Council Meeting, the permit decision will be delayed until the answers to questions have been included in the officers’ reports.

         Planning Permit Extension Process 

Cr. West advised that Kingston found only 40% of approved planning permits were built within the prescribed  period.  The remaining 60% were given “rubber stamped” extension periods – no  consideration was being given to what had been happening with applications for nearby residences since the original permit application.  Kingston Council revised their delegations of authority to prevent “rubber stamping”.

Glen Eira delegations of authority currently allow this “rubber stamping” practice and needs to be revised accordingly. 

  • Planning Conferences

Cr. West advised that Kingston Council views their Planning Conferences (arising from objections to planning permits – refer above) as an opportunity to bring the various parties (Councillors, Planning Officers, Residents and the Developer) together to gain a consensus.  Kingston has found that consensus is generally achievable (e.g. 6 storeys objectionable but 3 storeys is acceptable).   At planning conferences Developers are asked to respond to residents’ concerns by presenting potential solutions which will be acceptable to most.

Many comments from the audience revealed that the Kingston example is not current practice in Glen Eira. The overwhelming sentiment was that in Glen Eira the planning conference is designed to merely fulfil the legal requirements rather than providing a means of listening to residents. There was the distinct feeling that decisions, in favour of the developer,  had already been made.  Glen Eira Planning Conferences are not focussed on gaining consensus and do not provide any developer discussion opportunity. 

  • Community Involvement 

Cr. West, stressed that the best way for residents to address the above issues was via active community involvement – contact your Councillors, write objections, attend Council forums, attend Council Meetings, stand for Council and support residents associations and groups.  Commitment to improving your Council will not occur overnight, it is a long term commitment that needs to be started now.  The intended introduction of Code Assess (The Age, 15th March, 2012), ie. the fast tracking of the approval process which reduces residents rights to object in specified areas, makes this imperative – particularly if you are dissatisfied with Councils planning.   Cr. West recognised that current life styles do not readily accommodate this commitment and emphasized the need for supporting local community groups to add weight to their voices.

GERA thanks Cr. West for her presentation and will actively lobby Councillors to listen and focus on the items raised during the forum.  GERA will also work to amend the planning and delegation deficiencies within Glen Eira.  GERA  welcomes resident involvement in these endeavours.


Residents Planning Forum

OVERDEVELOPMENT:   How can you protect yourself

Date:            Thursday, 15 March, 2012

Time:           7.30 p.m.

 Venue:         Bentleigh Club, Yawla St., Bentleigh

 Speakers*:    Cr. Serge Thomann  – Port Phillip Council

  Cr. Rosemary West, OAM  – Kingston Council

      Admission Fee

            Members:                        No charge

            Non-Members:               Small Gold Coin Donation     

Glen Eira Council has a bad Planning Scheme. It fails to control over-development. Other Council’s have stringent, hard-hitting controls, so why not Glen Eira? Instead, our Scheme goes easy on developers’ allowing them to build almost whatever they like and then, if Council makes a decision the developer disagrees with, it is easy for the developer  to appeal to VCAT to overrule Council’s decision.

The Council Plan  DOES NOT have:

  • Prescribed (ie fixed) Building Height Limits – anywhere
  • Structure Plans (ie. Detailed plans to control development).
  • Car Parking Plans (to stop our streets clogging up with even more parked cars).
  • Has no clearly defined “Transition” or Buffer zones to protect peopleliving near intense development areas.
  • Full Development Levies to pay for new parkland or amenities.

Worse still,  in Glen Eira huge developments are often approved with:

  • Heavily Reduced car parking requirements
  • Goods loading bays not demanded for commercial properties
  • Inadequate on-site car parking, forcing cars to park in our already clogged streets.
  • Traffic impacts are mostly disregarded, often spuriously declared to be “unlikely to have any significant negative impacts”.  Flow-on impact in local streets is not analysed. 
  • Then there is
    • Overlooking
    • Overshadowing and loss of sunlight caused by nearby high-rise buildings – claimed by Council planners to be “not excessive”! 
    • Trees cut down  (‘moonscaping’) of development sites.
    • Badly maintained drains, leading to local flooding.

SO, HOW SAFE ARE YOU? How safe is your street and neighbourhood?  Do you like the changes that are happening all around you?  Do you like the possibility of your street, your suburb, and your lifestyle being lost to more overdevelopment?   

DID YOU KNOW that Glen Eira Planners are planning for even more high rise towers; and more and more people in less and less space.   DO YOU WANT THIS?  Already 20% of Glen Eira has been set aside as ‘Housing Diversity Areas” ( ie. for High Density and High Rise unit development).  Council then pretends other 80% is a “Minimal Change Area”.  This really means “Minimally Protected Area”.



* Speakers

Serge Thomann – A leading figure in the ‘Unchain St. Kilda Movement’ which was successful in putting a halt to the previous St. Kilda Triangle plans and in the election of councillors with a clear commitment to genuine community consultation and accountability in local government.

Rosemary West, AOM – A leading voice in community affairs and ensuring greater involvement by residents. Concerned about local control of planning issues, in particular the ‘green wedges’ proposals.