All posts by GayleVN

Monash Council making decision without consulting residents

Decision making at Monash Council does not appear to have changed.  Residents using Gardiners Reserve indicate they have had no say in the choice of pitch to be laid, fencing or lighting.  EM&U have been asking for several years for Council to consult with stakeholders at the beginning of the decision making process.  Stakeholder representatives should be involved in the process from the very beginning and have a role throughout the whole process. Instead we see the usual token effort to involve stakeholders at the last stages.

It is hard to understand how Council has decided on a synthetic pitch yet has no information to pass to residents.  On what basis did Council make the decision for a synthetic pitch?  Has a procurement contract been signed?  If so, with whom?  During the 2016 election the community asked for transperancy.  The Department of Local Government has called for transperancy.  Monash Ratepayers has called for transperancy. Yet the decision about pitch at Gardeners Reserve appears to be far from transparent.

When will the ‘Have Your Say’ section on the Monash Council web site have the option for community members to add items they would like to have a say about?

Below: Letter from resident to EM&U 28 Feb 2017

Dear Empowering Monash and You,

I am writing to you as a resident of Monash with regards to Council’s proposal for a Synthetic pitch at Gardiners Reserve, Sixth Avenue, Burwood.

This major decision seems to have already been made in regards to the type of pitch surface, fencing and lighting without community consultation or understanding the community’s needs. Council are proceeding with a design for an estimated project cost of $2.9 million which will be decided on in the 2017/18 budget.

As residents, we were first informed by reading an article in the Monash Leader in January that mentioned the synthetic pitch, and not by council itself. We rang immediately and within a few days received a letter in the mail, with promise of a consultation in February.

We have since received a second letter inviting us to an informal consultation at Gardiners Reserve on the evening of March 9, with an opportunity to:

– hear about what is being proposed
– understand what the scope of works would be, if Council decides to fund the proposal in its 2017/18 budget
– understand why Gardiners Reserve has been chosen for the proposed synthetic pitch; and
– ask any questions we may have about e project and discuss any concerns.

We are very concerned that the decision to proceed with a synthetic pitch over alternative treatments seems to have already been made, and that we are being consulted very late in the process and are not being given the opportunity to have input into any decisions which will directly affect us.

Despite our requests for information on the decision process so far from Council officers, Councillors and the CEO we have not received any information, and are being told that we have to wait for the consultation to take place.

Worryingly, the consultation on 9 March is not listed in the ‘have your say’ page on Council’s website, and we fear that it may be limited to only one or two streets despite the wider community using this open space.

We hope that you will be able to offer us your valuable advice and support in this matter.

Sincerely,
[name and contact details supplied]

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Harik is moving on…

Harik, one of our founding members, has decided it is time for her to move on from EM&U. She will remain an active community member advocating for quality in aged care. She is also now mostly involved with a Dystonia Support Group (Neurological Movement Disorder) and a variety of organisations or health networks, providing input with the aim of improving the quality of care, accessibility of services and ensuring appropriate, accurate and accessible health information is provided to consumers or community members.

Harik introduced herself to us during the Save Monash and Elizabeth Gardens campaigns and she was soon a strong advocate for the group.  Her personal and volunteer experience in both aged care and local government helped the group throughout the campaign.

As a founding member of the EM&U group Harik became the primary web site designer and posted 62 times.  She worked with others to give the group a profile in the local community and, importantly, to give community members a voice.

Since the Save Monash and Elizabeth Gardens dispute there have been changes in the way Monash Council approaches the community and incorporates their feedback.   The introduction of Listening Posts, and more recently streaming of Council meetings are moves toward collaboration and empowerment.

An issue which directly affected Harik was the Local Law restriction on asking questions in Public Question Time.  Monash Council seems to stand alone in only allowing ratepayers or residents to ask questions.  Harik was a volunteer in Monash and had been given an award for her work.  As she lived outside the municipality she could not ask a question in ‘Public’ Question Time.  This is an issue EM&U would like to see resolved: the community which makes Monash what it is extends beyond ratepayers and residents to volunteers, workers and visitors to the area.  As in other municipalities, and as implied by the Local Government Act, everyone should have the right to ask a question.

As Harik moves on to other challenges she can be sure she has been a force in helping bring about change in Monash. She helped to give aged care residents dignity and empowerment during the aged care dispute.  She helped build Empowering Monash & YOU to give the people in Monash a voice and support in having their say in local government.

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Harik (second from right) during Save Monash Gardens campaign.

All the best Harik.  Don’t go away!  We want to hear about your achievements.  Remember there is space here on EM&U for you if you find yourself in Monash again!

Reflections on Empowering Monash and YOU

A Review of Empowering Monash and YOU (EM&U)

Hariklia and Gayle
March 2017

As a newly elected Council is finding its feet in Monash this is a good time to reflect on the achievements and future role of EM&U.  As always we welcome the input of community members. 

EM&U was an initiative of a group of diverse active people, most of whom first met through the Save Monash Gardens campaign in 2013 /14. Throughout the aged care sale process the community contended Monash Council was not transparent or consultative. Aged care residents, their relatives and the staff were not involved in the decision process.

EM&U was formed to continue working towards better governance in Monash Council.  The aim was to better inform the community of any future Monash Council plans, to advocate for community involvement in the decision making process and to ensure the community were listened to.  We feel that EM&U has achieved significant progression toward achieving these goals over the last 3 years. In saying the EM&U has achieved this is saying YOU, the community of Monash, have achieved this. We thank you for working with us.

EM&U and community members supported or encouraged some of the following City of Monash matters:

An improved public question time

Community members have found Public Question Time is more of a brick wall than an opportunity for interactive communication and empowerment. It was stressed to Council on many occasions that the Local law relating to Public Question time should be reviewed to ensure that there are no barriers to community members asking questions and receiving appropriate responses from their council, about issues affecting them. EM&U has supported a change relating to Public Question Time.

EM&U approaches to Council on Public Question time received no interest or uptake.  However, as candidates advocated for election in the 2016 Council election this issue was often raised.  Why? Candidates knew this was a matter of importance to the community and they needed to work on community concerns to be elected.

We are pleased to say the first steps towards improving this situation have been taken by the newly elected Council.

 Related Content:

Monash Public Question time lags behind other Councils

Public Question time apparently is not Public answer time! 

 Live streaming of Council meetings

EM&U have advocated for live streaming or recording of council meetings to be implemented, to ensure community have access to Council proceedings, especially for those who are unable to attend council meetings. This will also ensure a more inclusive and transparent Council.

Monash Council, under Mayor Klisaris, knocked our submission for recording and broadcasting back.  He claimed it would cost $60,000 and the Council couldn’t afford this inclusive measure. (He did spend $37,000 on a lunch in Oakleigh.)  He claimed privacy would be breached, yet the meetings are public anyway.  Now, as the local government department puts streaming forward as a favourable transperancy measure, Monash Council acts.

The last meeting of Monash Council was streamed. See:  http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Council/Council-Meetings/Live-streaming-of-Council-meetings

Related Content:

Feedback to Council: Streaming/Recording of meetings

 To preserve open space and stop over development

EM&U supported the community for a vision of a peoples’ space in Glen Waverley and a healthier lifestyle for those living, working in or visiting the area. Several groups initiated submissions on open space on Glen Waverley Central Car Park.  The groups combined and well-developed and researched submissions were presented to Council. The proposals included underground car parking with easy access to shops.  A green and open space would provide an inclusive meeting place and as one real estate manager commented, ‘It would make Glen Waverley.’ Importantly, the proposal asked Monash Council NOT to proceed with the Expressions of Interest (EOIs). As in the sale of residential aged care dispute the Council went ahead regardless of the numbers of people in the community asking for a different course of action.

Throughout the community feedback process on this project the community appeared to believe the issue was whether or not the Glen Waverley Library was updated and modernised i.e. by shifting it to Central Car Park.  This was not the issue at hand.  There was no reason to stop the Library being updated and modernised on its current site.  In fact, many in the community prefer this option. In this case the Council’s marketing was clouding community understanding.  Many people still do not understand the high probability of high rise buildings being erected on Central Car Park alongside the library.

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Do you want green & open space on Central Car Park? Let your Councillors know what you think! A decision has not yet been announced.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Council has NOT announced the results of the tender process so please keep expressing your views on open and green space in Central Glen Waverley to your Councillors.

 Related Content:

Green Waverley: The Healthy Alternative

Green Waverley: Research Supports a Green Space for Diverse

Community Initiated Council Forum a Success!

Glen Waverley: Up She Rises!

Residential zoning in Monash

Residential zoning and development has been a huge issue of concern to people across Monash. Whether it is the creek escarpment, McMansions, the loss of sunshine and greenery or access to local schools, the increased development and changing nature of Monash has affected everyone.  EM&U has given community members a place to voice their concerns.  There is an unequal access to media and communication.  The Council has a smooth media machine and access to publications.  It is harder for the community and EM&U has done what it can to provide an outlet for community information.

EM&U supporters were active presenting to Planning Panels Victoria on their visits to Monash.  At the last meeting the newly elected Council voted to accept the Council Officers recommendations on the Planning Panel Report.

Related Content:

Save our Creek: Support NRZ4

Councillors to Vote on retaining Dandenong Creek Escarpment

Development or Devastation?

Community standstill and need to act

For a more transparent and collaborative Council

The Monash community has frequently requested the Council to involve, collaborate with and empower the community i.e. use the higher levels of the IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum http://www.iap2.org.au/documents/item/84

Related Content:

Transparency in Council

Community Discontent over Council’s Stakeholder Engagement likely to continue

No Jargon, Plain English – An Inexpensive Solution for Monash Council

Must read! Investigation into the transparency of Local Government decision making process

Looking into the future of Empowering Monash and YOU

The purpose of EM&U was to foster a community where all community members have access to knowledge, community services and media. Community members should be partners in democratic decision making in local government and engaged at the community level and be actively involved in advocating for areas considered a social responsibility, including quality in aged care and inclusive practice. We do hope that the Council will endeavour to make improvements and give the community an opportunity to have a say in the near future.

As key people take on different roles in their lives we question where EM&U is going.  At this point in time the emphasis is on the Facebook page. Time will tell whether there is a role to play into the future. We welcome your views.

Thank you for your support and please, follow us on Facebook.

Residents rally over plans for Marriott Pde

Glen Waverley residents have been quick to rally over plans for five storey development in a residential street near the central area. They are wondering whether ‘public participation’ and ‘community consultation’ were just election promises by hopeful candidates in the recent Council election or the way forward for the newly elected Council.

The proposal is for 63 one and two bedroom apartments with 74 car parking spaces provided in a basement car park.  Once again the applicant has sought permission to do away with some of the required visitor car parks.  Given the extreme difficulty parking in Glen  Waverley the author’s view is that no property should be allowed to reduce visitor parking.  Previously many properties have been allowed to do so.

The traffic from the 74 car parking spaces will be entering Bogong Ave and probably heading to Springvale Road. Springvale Road is one of the most dangerous traffic spots in this municipality  if not Melbourne.  More traffic, more congestion and more risk to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will result from more apartment development.

Bicycle parking is provided at the rate of 0.46 bicycles per apartment. This is inadequate in meeting Council sustainability goals.

The residents claim the current residential zoning does not allow for such development and a re-zoning has been proposed.  As Council claims the community were consulted over residential zones how can they now turn around and re-zone this property to meet developers needs?  A rezoning extends the Glen Waverley Central development area into a residential street.

And what of the needs of the Monash community?  Who is going to live in one and two bedroom apartments?  Retiring couples are demanding single level residences to ‘scale down’ to. Three bedroom apartments are in demand for this purpose.  This location would be an ideal location 3 bedroom apartments in a garden setting.  It would place ageing people near the resources they need to access.

Currently the corner location fits well into the ‘garden character’ of the area leaving an open feel to the area surrounding the Glen Waverley Cenotaph. If the proposal proceeds the Cenotaph will be even more closed in and residents will lose the character of the area they live in.

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The residential street has a ‘garden character’ leaving an open view to the Cenotaph.

Read the full submission from residents by clicking on the link below:

Residents’ objection to planning permit in Marriott Pde

Read more and place your own objection here:

Have your say on this development

 

Support Local resident’s petition for Boer War memorial

Header photo: Victorian Mounted Rifles leaving for Boer War [picture] / Lewis F. East. ca 1900 Market Street, Melbourne Source: State Library of Victoria

Thank you to local resident Geoff Dare for forwarding this information.  The descendants of Boer War veterans would like to relocate the monument commemorating the Boer War to a location at the Shrine.  Please read on….then download a copy of the petition and get to work collecting signatures. Return petition forms to Geoff at PO Box 113, Mulgrave, 3170

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Download a copy of the petition by clicking on the link below, then print the both sides on an A4 sheet.  Note the instructions above.

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Download a copy of the notes as above (easier to read):

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Resident’s petition against overdevelopment: please sign!

The following blurb and petition has been forwarded to me by a resident.  Please feel free to print as many petitions as you can get your relatives, neighbours and friends to sign.  Once you have the completed forms email EMonashU@gmail.com and I will email you the address to forward them to (for privacy reasons I don’t want to put private addresses online).

Email from Monash Resident (name and address provided)

If you are worried about over-development in Monash – huge houses on tiny blocks, trees and gardens disappearing.minimal – you may be interested in…
…A petition which has been started by an Ashwood resident concerned with overdevelopment in Monash.  So far Fiona has collected around 200 signatures from ordinary Ashwood residents concerned about overdevelopment in Monash.  (The link is via Friends of Damper Creek reserve.)
*Background:
Many Monash residents are concerned about the Council’s current stand on building regulations.  Most of the originally proposed “garden city” protections* from new oversized buildings (e.g. minimal rear and side setbacks, minimal open space, required canopy trees, special Neighbourhood zones along creek lines/catchments) were watered down or abandoned in wound back by Council’s “in-principle” position, (unfortunately)  passed at the Council meeting of 31 May.
In our street in Glen Waverely for example, there are only a handful of original houses with gardens remaining;  the new houses are huge, mostly one enormous house covering almost all the block, sometimes two large units.  Existing trees are mostly felled; new “gardens” are minimal/notional, and rarely include any plants which will grow over 2 or 3 m high.
Fortunately, the Council voted to pass this issue on to a Panel hearing, at which non-Councillors with appropriate (e.g. town planning, environmental) experience will be hearing submissions from residents as well as others in a calm and orderly way.
Many believe that the bulk of our residents’ wishes to preserve Monash’s “garden city” character & objections to current over development have been sidelined by pressure on councillors from a very small but vocal minority of developers and property owners.
In fact the original “green” C125 Amendment originally came about precisely because of concerns expressed to Council by residents!  As stated in the Council’s April 2015 newsletter foreshadowing the “new” green regulations,  the issue came up “in response to concerns raised by residents about potential over-development and the loss of neighbourhood character and vegetation” (April 2015 Council Newsletter).  At that time, Council was spurred into action, aiming to develop stronger guidelines to preserve Monash’s “garden city” character, including increased rear and side setbacks, requirements for canopy trees, and some high protection in Neighbourhood zones, including along creek lines/catchments areas.
If you have a petition and you are a Monash resident, please:
– sign – also maybe your partner /family
– maybe run off some extra copies and sign up some neighbours if you feel like it –

The Petition

Note: For the petition to be accepted by Monash Council you MUST provide your name, address and sign the form. See: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Council/Governance/Policies-and-Procedures/Guidelines-for-Petitions-to-Monash-City-Council for Council requirements for petitions.

PETITION_c125_2016

Click on the text above, save to your computer and print (hopefully!)
petition from Monash residents 001

Councillors to vote on retaining Dandenong Creek Escarpment

Monash Council Officers are recommending the proposed reduction to the Dandenong Creek escarpment in the north of Glen Waverley BE DROPPED.  We COMMEND the Officers for a decision which protects the liveability and environment in our City.

Councillors will vote on whether to accept this recommendation at their meeting on Tuesday evening.  Cr Geoff Lake has disappointingly supported decreasing the escarpment, stating the garden character is the same as areas not on the escarpment.  Council Officers correctly state the topography (and not garden character) determine creek escarpment.

The community will benefit from a well maintained escarpment. There will be a lower risk of flooding and a healthy green environment to live in for both people and wildlife.  The creek will be healthier providing a wonderful region for both river life and leisure activities.  It is true some people do not want this environment but the diversity of areas across Monash gives everyone the chance to find a place to live!

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Extract from Council Officers Report for Council meeting 31 May 2016

Access the full Council Officers’ Report here: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/about-us/council/council-meetings/2016-31-may/1.2-report.pdf

The agenda for the meeting 31 May may be accessed here: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Council/Agendas-Minutes/31-May-2016#agenda

Note: Questions for Public Question Time must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 30 May.  Maybe after the Council Elections in October the new Council will update Local Law 1 so that we have more up to date and constituent friendly procedures for asking questions at Council meetings.

Related Link:
Save our creek – Support NRZ4

Freeway Reserve – trees to go! Ask questions

Melbourne Water has announced all trees on the retarding basin embankment at Freeway Reserve, Mulgrave are to be cut down – for safety reasons.  Questions need to be asked.

A community session will be held on Saturday 4 June, 9 am – 12 noon, Sahagian Sporting Club and Community Centre, Freegon Reserve.

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Monash Leader 24 May 2016
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Is it really necessary to cut down these trees?  Attend session on 4 June to ask your questions.

Commuting standstill: Council and Community need to act

9 AM TUESDAY 18 MAY 2016

Traffic south bound on Springvale Road at a standstill 800-900 metres from the High Street Road intersection.

Cars travelling at minimum speed and banked up across 3 lanes on Springvale Road is a common situation in the north of Glen Waverley. One of Melbourne’s busiest transit routes is also a main access point for local residents travelling to work, to schools and other local venues.

Ten minutes from home in Glen Waverley north to the Monash Aquatic and Recreation Centre for the 9.30 class?  Forget it – allow 35 – 40 minutes.

Have a medical appointment in Glen Waverley?  Allow an extra half hour to negotiate Springvale Road.

Increasing development in the area can only increase the traffic on Springvale Road and so reduce access to traffic routes for local residents:

The State Government and Monash Council must consider the implications of increased transport on Springvale Road and other main transport routes but there is a further role for Councils and for members of the community.

Cycling paths
Pedestrian friendly environments
Public Transport
Car sharing

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From Syndal cyclists can take the Waverley Rail Trail and cycle all the way into the City or Docklands!

Upgrading the cycling track from Syndal and extending it through the Central Car Park area will enable cyclists safe off road cycling all the way to the City.  East of Central Car Park is the link to the Dandenong Creek Trail.  Safe bicycle storage near the railway station encourages riding to catch the train. Safe bicycle storage on Central Car Park will encourage people to cycle to Kingsway to borrow a Library book or to  have a coffee with friends (this is a way of life in the north of Melbourne!).

Pedestrian Friendly Environments encourage people to walk to public transport

As part of my commute I have walked from Glen Waverley north to the Glen Waverley Railway Station and the Burwood Road tram stop.  A more pedestrian friendly environment can be created by improved lighting for those dark winter nights, maintaining footpaths, cutting back vegetation over footpaths and shady trees for warmer days.  Signage to public transport, such as those in Springvale Road between Highbury Road and Burwood Highway also promote the use  of public transport.

Car Sharing?

Car sharing is up to YOU!  Ask your neighbour, post on Facebook, ask around at work.  Imagine half your current petrol bill!  Sure it takes a little compromise but the benefits are good.

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9 am: Traffic on Springvale Road banked up between Ravenswood Court and High Street Road – a distance of nearly 1 km

We welcome your comments!

Dealing Monash Ratepayers a Dodgy Hand

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What do you think?

Leave your comments by clicking on the Leave a Comment button above.

EM&U will publish your letters, emails etc.  We exist to empower the community to speak out. Name and contact details must be provided though not necessarily published.  Each author is responsible for their content and views do not always represent all involved with our group.