Category Archives: Property Development

Governance Issues in the Glen Waverley Central Car Park Redevelopment

The people of Glen Waverley have called for Monash Council to STOP the EOI process on Central Car Park. From whichever perspective you look at it the decision to build multi-storey buildings on this land is appalling. The article re blogged here discusses a Chinese cultural perspective and calls for better transparency by the Council.

Monash Ratepayers Inc.

Monash Council does consult their communities about their decisions, but they provide poor disclosure of information that do not evidently show how they arrive at best value choices. Politicised, groupthink, disrespecting and bullying behaviours among councillors do not help either, but exasperate the undermining of community confidence and trust in their decisions, and worsen the decision making transparency problem.

The Case Story in Development

The decision focus is about redeveloping the Glen Waverley central car-park, as part of a bigger Glen Waverley Activity Centre planning program.

The complications:

Over the last 3 to 4 years, a councillor, captivated with his 2012 campaign goal of building a state of the art, 21st century library in his ward, has been convincing decision making directions in determining the redevelopment of the Glen Waverley central car park.

Despite the council’s presentations of its 2013 Glen Waverley Activity Centre Masterplan(PDF, 21MB) and 2104

View original post 733 more words

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Community initiated Council forum a success!

“Our City should be driven by the people that live in it” Mr Frank Cresia

This week representatives from community groups, including Empowering Monash & YOU, attended a forum at the Monash Council Offices in Glen Waverley.  Cr Geoff Lake, Dr Andi Diamond and Mr Peter Panagakos represented Monash Council.  Mr Frank Cresia, from the John Monash Square group chaired the meeting.

The focus of the meeting was the future of the Central Car Park site in Glen Waverley.

Monash community members have put in submissions to Council and the John Monash Multicultural Square proposal has received particular attention by Council. The proposals ask for the full extent of the car park to be green and open public space and suggest many ways the space can be used e.g. an open air stage.  An underground car park has been costed.

The Council’s proposal for the land includes 10+storey buildings comprising commercial and residential use, a ‘state of the art’ library and a small public square.

The forum began with two slide presentations.  Cr Geoff Lake presented on behalf of the Council and Mr Frank Cresia presented on behalf of the residents action group.

Cr Lake indicated no decision has been made, but many in the audience were skeptical about this. He highlighted the financial issue as perceived by Council and emphasized a need for a grand library such as the library recently opened in Geelong.  He said the northern end of Kingsway is a planning issue.  The Council is very happy with the function of the remainder of Kingsway.

“Underground car park on the [Central Car Park] site is a strategy that addresses long term car parking issues and brings economic benefit for Council”
Mr Frank Cresia

Mr Cresia emphasized the cultural diversity in Monash and the importance of the community being involved in planning and design. Mr Cresia’s slide presentation is attached below.

The community group, after seeking advice from an engineer, stated a preference for the new library to be built on the current Glen Waverley Library site or extending into the car park on the south side of the library.  This will keep the small open area outside the Council offices an active pedestrian area.

The need for new Council offices was not specifically mentioned.  Community  members have questioned this need.  Over the last two years there have been some reductions in Council staff (e.g. aged care, school holiday program) and a trend towards employing consultants (who typically provide their own office accommodation).  Council needs to provide a Business Case demonstrating the need for new office space before this becomes a viable project.

Dr Chan Chea presented a slide show emphasizing the importance of good governance principles in local council decision making processes.

“Transparent decision making shows: the viable options, how & what the decision making criteria is, and recommends the best value option with a full disclosure of how the decision was made,  the implementation schedule and the risk management framework” Dr Chan Chea

Click on the link below to view the presentation by Mr Cresia.
JOHN MONASH MULTICULTURAL SQUARE (JMMS)PROPOSAL 16 Dec 2015

Click on the link below to view the presentation by Dr Chan Chea.
EVALUATING GOVERNANCE & COMPLIANCE

Following the presentations community members asked many questions and made comments.  The community called for the current Expression of Interest (EOI) process to be stopped to allow for consultation with the community.

One woman commented she had lived in Glen Waverley for 30 years and only just found out Central Car Park was to be built on.  This morning I chatted with another woman who said, “I always read the Monash Bulletin but I didn’t know [Central Car Park] was to be built on”.

 

20150222_diagram

Actions for YOU to take if you would like to create this legacy for future generations in Glen Waverley:

 

Related links:

Getting a perspective on Council illustrations

10 Plus Storeys on Central Car Park

Green Waverley: Research supports a green space for diverse uses

Click on  “leave a comment” under the page heading to add your thoughts to this post.  Note all comments are moderated.  EM&U reserves the right not to publish posts deemed unsuitable.

New website! Know Your Council!

The website was developed by Local Government Victoria (LGV) for community to have access to information on how local councils are performing and updates relating to local government.

It is important that there is transparency of councils. This website can ensure community have access to information and in a method that is easy to understand.

Do you want to know how Monash Council performed? Please visit the Know Your Council website!

Visit site – Know Your Council

Residential Zoning Winners or Losers

Monash City Council has proposed changes to the city’s planning scheme.  The changes are formally known as Amendment C125.

Don’t assume your silence will be considered as support for the proposals!  Have your say and make sure your views are known – you can be sure others will and you might not like what they say!

AnotherBitesDust
Another One Bites the Dust!

During the October meeting, a motion to adopt the proposed changes to the planning scheme was deferred for further consultation.  You can read more about it on Council’s planning information page.

Prior to the October council meeting there were a number of community information sessions which were fairly well attended by opponents of the amendments.  Council also received a considerable number of submissions opposing the amendments.

When we attended some of the information sessions it was mentioned to us that either those who supported the amendments were very few and far between or they were not commenting because they assumed their silence would be taken as assent to the changes.  Officers at the information sessions and councillors at tonight’s meeting made the point very clearly that if you support the changes you must take advantage of this consultation period to say soyour silence will NOT be considered as a vote in favour of the amendment.  It goes without saying that people opposed to the amendment are not silent – there was a very vocal section of the public gallery present to object in October.

Changes proposed in C125 restrict the density of development within what are called “Neighbourhood Residential Zones”.  They also restrict the percentage of an allotment which can be built on, impose larger than before rear setbacks (you won’t be allowed to build right up to the back fence) and set minimum percentages of a site which must be water permeable (grassed, gardens etc.) rather than sealed to cause rainwater runoff.  See more, in great detail, at Council’s dedicated web site.

Consider whether the restrictions on development might be good or bad for you:

  • will they reduce your property value by preventing you subdividing to build multiple dwellings or will they boost your property value by ensuring your neighbour’s property doesn’t become an apartment block overlooking and overshadowing your back yard?
  • what will be the effect on parking in your street if the amendment goes through or is wound back?  Will you still be able to get in and out of your driveway?
  • will the canopy tree requirements provide you and your neighbourhood with a green, shady environment or will they just be a nuisance dropping leaves in your gutters?
  • will the permeability requirements stop you developing your outdoor living space as you choose or will they protect you from stormwater runoff from your uphill neighbours’ properties?  Can your street’s gutters and drains cope if everybody paves their whole block and directs rainwater to the street?
UpTheyGo
Hooray and Up She Rises!

I know that between my home in Glen Waverley and my office in Syndal, a 2.5km walk, I pass three sites on which one developer wishes to build a total of fifteen dwellings.  And those are only sites where planning permits are required to be advertised.  On the same route in the past three weeks at least six sites are being developed into McMansions and another three sites have been bulldozed from fence to fence.  I can repeat those statistics on each of a number of alternative routes to work.

 

 

No Jargon, Plain English! – An inexpensive solution for Monash Council

Council information jargon
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you seen this article?

Monash Council needs gun communications expert to decipher planning jargon into ‘plain English’. Monash Leader Mayor Paul Klisaris says Monash Council might have “lost some people’s interest” with jargon in the first mail-out.  – Source: Monash Council needs gun communications expert to decipher planning jargon into ‘plain English’ 

Perhaps Monash council should have joined the ‘Drop the Jargon’ day and pledged to use plain language! This day was for professionals, health services and local governments to challenge themselves to use plain language.  www.dropthejargon.org.au  

Monash council needs to understand what community consultation and engagement is, as if they did they would have asked the community if a communications expert is needed or the best option to help the community understand information or plans provided to them.

This is what I propose!

Why waste funds on hiring a communications expert when there is a simple way to communicate information to the community?

The best way to provide information to the community is to implement or commence a Community Information Reference Group. Community members can join to review information, including budget and proposed planning documents to ensure that fact sheets are written in plain English and cater to all consumers or community members. This way the community will understand the information provided to them and can have a say. The council can follow examples from health/community services which already provide information, that is accessible and easy to understand and reviewed by community members as part of the Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers. 

A great example is what Link Health and Community has introduced. Their publications or information are reviewed and approved by consumer members. They also have a vital role in producing their quarterly magazine to ensure that it is in a format that is suitable for community members.  

Other Councils such as Mitchell Shire Council have prepared plans in consultation with the community and developed in a format to communicate to community in a clear way. Link: Wallan Structure Plan, Mitchell Shire Council

Review Council Information
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This option would be more cost effective as well as Council consulting and engaging with the community. Hiring a communications expert would only assist short time and will not cater to the changing diversity and demographics of the community. Community members are the experts! They are the ones that will read the information provided to them!

Council could commence a long term transparent Information Reference or Working Group and consider these points:

  • Diverse community members should have input in reviewing information or plans to ensure all are catered for
  • Run informal meetings monthly or what members prefer to review items and ensure there are no barriers for members of the group to attend and participate
  • Members to have input on the planning and delivery of information to the public
  • A community engagement officer to facilitate the meetings and take notes or record of discussions, but members should have authority over the decision making
  • Councillors should be invited to the group to listen and seek advice, not as members of the group, as this will ensure community members will have unbiased feedback and authority over discussions and decisions
  • Members to decide on guidelines that are suitable for the committee and reviewing information

Info standing man EM&U Stuart MilesLinks to more info:

Example of a plain English guide

Victorian Government Accessible Communication Guidelines

Communicating data with Colour: a guide to producing accessible maps and visual data

Communicate Clearly – A Guide to Plain English

The challenges of communicating the law to the public

Accessible Communication Guides – Whitehorse Council

Darebin’s Inclusive Communications Charter

Wyndham Cruiser – Wyndham Council

Hands off our reserve! Another Council not interested in green open space?

Have you seen this article? Another Council not interested in green open space?

Glendale Reserve, SpringvaleGreater Dandenong Council plans to sell part of Springvale’s Glendale Reserve to Minaret College   GEORDIE COWAN SPRINGVALE DANDENONG LEADER JUNE 01, 2015 12:15PM  
via Greater Dandenong Council plans to sell part of Springvale’s Glendale Reserve to Minaret College | Herald Sun.

The City of Greater Dandenong Council is proposing to sell part of Glendale Reserve located at Whitworth Avenue, which is very much-loved and highly used by community members. The land is occupied by the existing kindergarten and scout hall (used by the Scout Association). 

http://www.greaterdandenong.com/news/1827/proposed-sale-of-part-of-glendale-reserve

The Council proposes to sell the land to property owners, Minaret College (Islamic School) to be used. If Council goes ahead with the sale the land will need to be rezoned and the reserve status removed.

 

Submissions on the proposal from the community were accepted by the council and they had the opportunity to express their views at a consultation meeting, with majority of attendees against the sale.

 

Residents and community members protest that the Glendale Reserve is one of the only green spaces around that area. Buildings on the land can be demolished and will be more open space. This will cater to future generations, young and old. There is a high rate of couples with children in Springvale and the need for open space for children to play and be outdoors. Many children may spend more time on the internet or watching TV due to a lack of open space and a lack of exercise is detrimental to their physical health.

 

Other communities are fighting for more open space as important for the wellbeing of the community.

https://monashandyou.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/green-waverley-research-supports-a-green-space-for-diverse-uses/

Low levels of exercise and obesity is a concern as well as chronic disease. The Greater Dandenong Council CWP Priorities and Objectives 2013-17 states that for recreation, facilities and programs are provided which will help increase participation in sport, leisure and the arts. More participation in physical activity results from providing adequate, good quality parks and open spaces. http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/25455/community-wellbeing-plan-2010-13

 

Minaret college who is leasing the kindergarten has planned to expand the building if purchase the land. However the council report summary of the proposed sale states that the traffic within Whitworth Avenue can become very congested at the peak school times. By Minaret continuing to expand on this location and increasing the size of the kindergarten, this will only add to an existing concern.                                                       http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/27619/council-minutes-27-january-2015

 

The Council did mention that if sold, funds could be used to purchase more open space in Springvale North. However in the past another reserve Erickson Gardens was sold to build a new Police Station and had the opportunity to use funds to increase open space, it has not done so. In fact their open strategy report revealed that it is lacking in open space in that area and many other areas in Springvale. http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/25797/open-space-strategy

 

There needs to be some balance. If allow for this to happen what will stop others doing the same in other areas. The council need to keep this land and consider the consequences if go ahead and sell.

Take a stand now to save the reserve! Attend the Council meeting on 10 August 2015 at 7pm to show your support. Councillors need to know!

Venue: Council Chambers Level 2, 225 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong

 

Glendale Reserve

Want to know more? Click on link provided – Save out spaces plea

Contact Glendale Reserve Campaign Group https://saveglendalereserve.wordpress.com/contact-us/

Save Glendale Reserve Facebook Page

Save Glendale Reserve Facebook Page
Save Glendale Reserve Facebook Page –  click image

Monash resident’s letter to Council

The following letter commenting on the Amendments to the Monash Housing Plan was forwarded to EM&U by a Glen Waverley resident (name and address supplied):

Monash Municipal Offices, 22ND. July,  2015

293 Springvale Road,

GLEN  WAVERLEY. VIC.  3150

Attention:  Strategic Planning Team.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Ref:  Amendments C120 and C125.

I am writing to outline the concern by many Glen Waverley residents of the proposed development of the GWAC in relation to building heights and density.

The C120 leaflet dated June 2015 outlining DDO12 building heights for Areas B and C, does not provide clear directions, (as stated)  in that 10+ and 8+ storeys gives no indication of the maximum height allowable.   This is a major concern, as plans are before council applying for high rise development  well in excess of these  figures.  We also need to ensure that buildings such as that currently being built on Cnr. Fairhills Parade and Danien Street,  Glen Waverley are no longer approved.  Three sides of this building are barely  1 metre from the boundaries.

We are not against development but against inappropriate development.  The existing Ikon building of 10 storeys,  the now approved 15 storey in O’Sullivan Road, and two of the three apartment blocks in The Glen redevelopment would be regarded as by far, the maximum acceptable  height for buildings in our municipality.  The 23 storey high rise tower submitted to council by the developer promises to be a permanent blight on our landscape, and should not be considered for one moment.

The recent advertisement by Monash Council in the Waverley Leader dated July 7, gave us some hope.   With the headline of “Protection of Monash’s ‘garden city’ character”  we were heartened to learn that those in council/town planning, may be striving for the same end.   Which brings us to ask “where are all the thousands of future  apartment dwellers going in order to enjoy some open/green space.”    With no back yard,  a small balcony,  a concrete jungle and the distant hills,  it’s a poor substitute for having an open/green space near your door.

This brings us to the Central Car Park, bordered by Springvale Road, Railway Parade North and Coleman Parade.    We ask council/town planning to be forward thinking and courageous, by declaring this area to be an open/green space, e.g. ‘ Monash Square’.  By providing an area where the community could come together for a variety of leisure activities,  we would be the envy of all.

The towns and cities blessed  with well sized  ‘Squares and Parks’  stand apart from the rest.  The proposed small areas of  green space is not conducive for bringing the community together, as one large open area would do.  With such a multi cultural municipality as Monash, the importance of providing a place for people of difference ethnic backgrounds  to mingle and  get to know each other, cannot be overstated.  Taking motor vehicles out of this area  – the traffic and pollution which is ever increasing,  would free up the GWAC considerably.  Additional car parks could be found by increasing the capacity of existing car park areas.

I am outlining thoughts and discussions held with a number of local residents, and ask that the decision makers of Monash look into the future before making these important decisions, and make future generations proud of the wonderful  ‘garden city’  this generation has created  for them.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed)

EM&U thanks this resident for providing constructive feedback to Monash Council on the proposed amendments.  Complaining doesn’t go anywhere but constructive feedback is a step toward creating a better community for us all.

EM&U will consider publishing copies of letters if name and address of writer is provided. Email your letter to EMonashU@gmail.com

Related Links

Glen Waverley’s future – your input is needed – sign our submission

Green Waverley: research supports open space

Green Waverley: do NOT build on Central Car Park

Please Monash Council: May we have some green space?

Green Waverley: Research supports a green space for diverse uses

With more criticism of Council this week over spending $$$ on one of the larger cultural groups within Monash, (see http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/monash-council-defends-decision-to-spend-37000-on-free-lunch-for-greek-easter/story-fngnvlxu-1227308571917) the value of an open space where many cultural groups can interact informally becomes apparent.

At least two community groups are calling for Central Car Park in Glen Waverley to be an open space for the purpose of interaction between cultural groups.

Many in the community are expressing outrage at the high rise development planned for the central area. High rise development planning is excessive, does not meet the needs of people living in the area and has ignored community views. Social isolation and health issues are a likely consequence of intensive high rise living. The community are asking for a place to unite, to come together with others from their own and different cultural groups. A place where no one group has control and smaller groups have equal access.

The call for open space (“neutral ground’) to support interaction between the different cultural groups is supported by research:

Research by Dunnett, Swanwick and Woolley (2002) found that local residents often identify green spaces as the centre of their community (see Improving Urban Parks, Play Areas and Green Spaces). By using outdoor spaces to formally and informally bring together people from a variety of cultures, ages, ethnicities and classes, urban green spaces increase social integration and interaction among local residents. Such spaces encourage a diverse range of uses – some of which stem from culture – and serve as “neutral ground,” according to Swanwick, Dunnett and Woolley (see “Nature, Role and Value of Green Space in Towns and Cities: An Overview,” in Built Environment, 2002, 29(2)). Open, accessible green spaces are essential for local people to maintain cultural identity and build social ties.

Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/sustainability/2014/02/26/urban_parks/

There are various views on how such open space could be designed, but much agreement that it should be a place for the people. There are multiple options on how this could be achieved and ideas include:

View from IKON over Central car park - will this become a view over more high rise development?
View from IKON over Central car park 2014.  If current plans are implemented this will be a view to multi-storey  buildings.  Many community members would like it to be a view to a green a leafy park – a place for the people.

What views do you have? How will  high rise development affect the community in Monash?

Related Links:

Green Waverley: may we have some green space?

Central Car Park development may pave way for cultural inclusivity

Central Car Park development could pave the way for cultural inclusivity

Recently I met Joseph at a Monash Council session on developing an Age Friendly city. It was remarkable to discover we were each working with other people to develop plans with the same overall intent: to improve the quality of life in Glen Waverley and surrounds by developing an open space on the current Central Car Park.

The plans differ in minor respects but they have strong common themes:

  1. The Central Car Park area should not be built on but left open and used by the people of Monash
  2. An open space has huge potential for bridging gaps between diverse cultural groups across all age groups in Monash
  3. Concentrated high rise development in Glen Waverley could have adverse effects on the community and the environment
  4. The community needs to be active in developing plans for such an area.

Click on the link below to access Joseph’s plan

PROPOSAL Of Building MONASH MULTICULTURAL SQUARE For An All Ages Friendly City (including community feedback) on 26th March 2015 by Joseph Qiangfu Jin with community input

Green Waverley:  the healthy alternative plan

The Green Waverley: the healthy alternative is still being developed. Email your ideas for this plan to  EMonashU@gmail.com.

Green Waverley promotes a green public space on the existing Central Car Park
Green Waverley promotes a green public space on the existing Central Car Park

Related Links: Please Monash, may we have some green space?

Today’s Waverley Leader raises EM&U concerns: political trainees in local government & high rise development – what do YOU think?

Today’s Monash and Oakleigh Leader (2 Dec 2014) touches on two issues of concern to EM&U and the wider Monash community (see image of page at bottom of post).

The first is the relationship between political party membership and local government, generally and, more specifically here in Monash. The political activity of many of our Councillors during State and Federal elections is public and adds weight to the view that local government is a training ground for would be politicians.

Is this an issue? 
Did you know Local Government Councillors were members of political parties when you voted for them? 
Has your Ward been been left short due to your representative’s political interests?
Do career aspirants put the local people’s interests first?

Monash Councillor campaigning for State Election candidate Excerpt from Twitter 1 Dec 2014
Monash Councillor campaigning for State Election candidate Excerpt from Twitter 1 Dec 2014

The second is the inadequacy of the Glen Waverley Activity Centre Structure Plan Sept 2014 which paved the way for approval of the first of many high rise buildings.  This won’t stop in Glen Waverley – the Monash Housing Strategy 2014 opens the gates for the spread of development across Monash.

Would you  like to see change in local government?
Do you think the Glen Waverley Activity Centre Structure Plan needs revision?

Sick of doing NOTHING?  Here’s a few steps to empower YOU:

  • Follow this web site to keep up to date.  More articles on these concerns will appear here
  • Meet with members of EM&U  to find out what others are doing: Email EMonashU@gmail.com introducing yourself
  • Email monash@leadernews.com.au (letter to the editor) setting out your views
  • Write an article for this web site / blog.  EM&U welcomes guest authors.  Note while each author is responsible for their own views and there may be variance of viewpoints across articles, views need to be consistent with the values of this group generally, and specifically in regard to quality in local governance, quality in aged care and inclusivity.  Administrators of this site reserve the right to edit or refuse publication of articles not consistent with EM&U values.
Two major issues in Waverley Leader 2 Dec 2014
Two major issues in Waverley Leader 2 Dec 2014