Thursday, August 27, 2009

Packer Park Community Consultation Meeting Mon 24/7

With approx 60 other members of the community I attended a consultation meeting at the park's meeting rooms to listen to the concerns raised re the proposed "improvements to Packer Park" in Murrumbeena.

Council has recently put forward a proposal to sell the disused Mckinnon Bowling Club site located on the western side of PP, incl plans for the construction of 8 two-storey townhouses, to finance the aquirement of two properties at 112 and 118 Oakleigh rd that are presently bordered on 3 sides by the park. The two properties account for 60% the size of the MBC site- as part of this proposal the excess monies from the sale/acq will be earmarked for acquiring public open space in possibly the Carnegie neighbourhood centre.

I felt the concerns raised by quite a passionate audience could be summerised as follows;

- this was not a land swap but a loss of public open space(POS)
- once lost this open space won't be replaced
- the aquirement of the two properties should not be linked to the future of the MBC site
- whilst the acquirements are welcome ,council should not fund this thru selling POS
- there are many potential uses for the MBC site that can benefit the whole community
- GE has one of the lowest POS in melb and with increasing housing density we need more not less

I certainly have deep concerns about council selling off any POS , particularily in Rosstown Ward and this was reinforced by listening to residents on Mon evening.

Public submissions on this proposal close Sept 9, and will be heard on Sept 29.
It is intended that there will be a vote by Council in October.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From The Chamber -Council Meeting- tues AUG 11

Sorry for the delay in posting this - full minutes can found on link to council
This was fairly short meeting - the economic downturn has certainly had an effect on planning applications.

Planning - the application for the proposed development at 34 Ames ave Carnegie was refused. This was the second time this application had come before council and similar concerns about this development were raised by crs. Even though this application was recommended to be accepted by officers , the majority of crs felt that it was still inappropriate because of the bulk and scale of the 7 apartments envisaged.

The site was abbutted on 3 sides by a minimal change housing zone and was located right at the edge of the Murrumbeena neighborhood centre. It was felt by most crs that this application didn't respect the transitional nature of the location and I certainly supported this view.

Quarterly Reporting- this detailed report details GEs performance in a wide range of areas
and quantifies results against previous mths-Some of the more impressive achievements were the ongoing service performance of the council call centre. In June the centre handled almost 7000 calls and counter enquiries, resolving 80% at the first call with an average waiting time of under 10 secs. I am certainly glad residents can talk to a real life operator quickly!

I think for the first time an external reporting section was included with assessments of some areas of GE performance by professional bodies- Certainly on financial and reporting matters GE is rated highly. On diversion/ recycling rates this is not so rosy and I will cover this in the next section.

Sustainable Waste Management- this item dealt with efforts to promote and improve GEs recycling rates and re-use of waste materials

Diversion Rate- this is the rate of waste that is diverted from landfill and relates directly to how much waste is recycled- presently GE has a 34.1% diversion rate which is quite poor and we are ranked 24 out of the 30 metropolitan councils.

One of the main reasons for this is that GE is one of only two councils in melb that continue to use 240 litres as their std size garbage bin. The vast majority of municipalities use 120 litres with some now using 80 litres as the std size weekly garbage bin. Experience has shown that this downsizing increases recyclables collected and reduces the tonnage collected. Downsizing also encourages the uptake the the optional green waste service.

At present the current cost differential in GE between the 120 and 240 lt bins is $12.80. What is proposed is the possibility of increasing this differential to encourage residents to downsize.

In the 09/10 budget there is $140k allocated for market testing, education and a bin choice survey. Council voted to authorise an analysis of different price differentials and related considerations with a further report back to council

Sunday, August 9, 2009

FULL HOUSE! Climate Change our Future Forum Thurs 6 Aug

Last Thursday night a very sucessful community forum was held with approx 120 people packing into the town hall theaterette to hear a distinguished panel of speakers.

Organised by Climate Change our Future (CCOF) - a local community action group, this was a very informative meeting although I did feel somewhat disppointed that only two councillors were in attendance - Still I came away feeling positive that there is strong community support in Glen Eira to make real progress on this issue

Professor David Karoly, an eminent Melbourne scientist who has worked with the United Nations Inter-Country Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) spoke first. He provided an update on the latest research and data since the latest IPCC report was released in 2007- The scale of change of many indicaters such as the loss of Artic summer sea ice, glacial losses worldwide, increased volatilty in our weather patterns and the unprecendented reduction in rainfall across SE Australia were happenning at a much a faster rate than was predicted even a few years ago.
These changes are tracking at a ' worst case scenerio'. We are indeed in a climate emergency and need on all levels to reduce greenhouse emissions as quickly as possible and move to a 'beyond zero emissions' economy and society.

The second speaker was Mr. Andrew Lucas from the transition towns movement. TT seeks to address the impacts of climate change and peak oil through local community based solutions. He spoke of his experiences in the Bell area of Geelong where a TT is in the process of being created and what was being done there including -programs run by the community to produce more locally grown food, bulk buying of solar panels and the sourcing of local products that dont have a large embedded carbon cost. Overall the strategy seemed to be aimed at making local communities more resiliant and better able to cope with a changing environment. There are almost 200 TTs worldwide after initially starting in the UK.

Finally Deputy Mayor Steven Tang spoke well of the initiatives that GE has taken over the past few years and what can be aimed for and achieved in the near future.
The Environment Sustainability Strategy (ESS) adopted in 2007 was instrumental in providing a framework that GE could further help prevent and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Steps taken including the increase of council usage of Greenpower, the rolling fwd of energy efficiency measures for key sites and the ongoing tree-planting programs were spoken of.

Future areas that Steven highlighted where GE can move forward including the downsizing of std garbage bins to 120lt that would improve our current poor diversion(recycling) rate and the formulation of GEs Carbon Neutral policy. He encouraged all those interested to become more involved by contacting councillors and attending consulation forums.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

On your Bike - reflections of cycling in Glen Eira

Thought Id express a few thoughts and experiences since sending the
red commodore to the recyclers in early June.
The pros and cons of being on 2 self-propelled wheels in the
est 600 km peddled so far in our municipality include-

- mostly very enjoyable!
- definately fitter
- lost 2 kgs
- short trips upto 5 km can be quicker than the car
- no parking hassles
- saved approx $400 in petrol and 0.7 tonnes co2 emmissions
- no lance armstrong but find can now ride in far higher gears
- further appreciate the importance of bike lanes
- always seem to be facing a stiff head-wind when heading along Glen Eira rd to City Hall , metaphor?
- have got wet few times , without coat
- longer trips more challenging to organise especially nth to
south across transport lines

Especially on the shorter trips say upto 5 km cycling is a great means
of transport with significant side benefits-
Most car journeys undertaken in melb i understand are of this length or less.
There is definately an greater role for cycling to play as a serious
transport option in our community.

Glen Eira Bicycle Strategy
This strategy is currently being formulated and researched- I am pleased that this will include consultations with both cyclists and non-cyclists throughout GE, before being presented to council I would hope later in the year