Saturday, September 12, 2009

Suggestions and Ideas - Part 1 Community Consulation held 27/7

Here are part of the range of suggestions, initiatives and ideas that were conveyed from those attending the last community forum in late July- with comments about the progress of bringing some of these into fruition.

Council should place ads seeking public involvement in the front section of the Leader (as Port Phillip does ) rather than at the back. Also residents should be able to sign up for an email list to recieve information and be able to view a synopsis of meeting agendas .comment - this has been discussd at a recent Community Consultation Committee(CCC) meeting with minutes and recommendations forthcoming.

Especially after what happenned at Lords Res there is an important need for far greater consultation and communication with residents and park users whenever significant works are planned.- Comment Crs have requested meaures to ensure this does take place with admin also to provide greater detail and information to crs about upcoming works.

Concerns were raised about the safety aspects of unfenced parks- comment -data available from other simliar sites in GE suggests unfenced parks have not had a worse safety record .

Planning -there was an important need in Glen Eira to more widely consult on planning issues about how our future community should develop . Structure planning , involving all stakeholders particularily in our shopping strips and residential zones is sorely needed.
comment- there is much merit in this process and I will continue to advocate.

Several participants spoke of Councils relunctance to meet and consult with their respective groups because of past critisms/experiences. comment Council should be available to meet and discuss any issues with all groups in our community with none being excluded.

Residents are forced sometimes to access neighboring council services and programs because of GE s relunctance to do so- Solar bulk buys from PPhillip and indigenous plants from Bayside nursey were mentioned- comment i would like to see GE allocate more funds for programs and services to properly serve our community and will, with more cr experience now gained, be better able to articulate this next financial year!

The GE website needed a major overhaul and was very user unfriendly-comment - work is currently being done to rectify this.


  1. Neil, there are two paragraphs that I would like to comment upon:

    "Crs have requested meaures to ensure this does take place with admin also to provide greater detail and information to crs about upcoming works.

    Concerns were raised about the safety aspects of unfenced parks- comment -data available from other simliar sites in GE suggests unfenced parks have not had a worse safety record".

    Does this mean that it will only be councillors who are informed about potential new works? What about residents? How much notice will they be given? Will councillors and residents actually be told where fitness equipment/birdie cages, etc. etc. will be located within parks/reserves? What happens if there is a protest against such plans? Doesn't this clearly indicate that residents should be 'consulted' prior to any work actually taking place?

    As to the next paragraph this is totally irrelevant and illogical. Safety concerns are not simply the result of whether a park is fenced or not - it is the location of that park! So gathering 'statistics' from other parks and comparing it for instance to Lord Reserve and busy Lyons St. is total nonsense. There may be numerous parks which are unfenced, but how many of these have sporting ovals 20 feet away from a busy road? Simply quoting and comparing statistics on mishaps, tells us nothing. And besides, what happened to the old argument of 'risk management'? Sorry Neil, but the responses you've offered will not do.

  2. With due respect Cr you indicate that Groups have been excluded from discussions. Could you expand and be specific. Also if a neighboring Council provides services that GE doesn't, and vice versa, as long as the services are non-core then surely this provides economic efficiency.

  3. My oh my - the gobbledygook of economic rationalism I fear! Or that wonderful Howardism of non core promises perhaps. Yes, let's pour more and more concrete into our dwindling open space; let's erect more and more pavilions when simple maintenance will do, and let's cut spending on aged care, child care, advocacy, consultation, etc. etc. After all, these aren't core issues are they anonymous?

  4. Anon the examples given of the provision of Solar Equipment and Indiginous Plants are in my opinion non core items. The examples you give are also non core. They are in my opinion essential.

  5. thanks anon 15/9 , I was indicating that council should always be open to discussions and dialogue with all groups in our community. Re other councils providing services that GE doesnt- this seems to occur in a wide range of areas, not just those quoted , from environmental programs to social programs for SRS residents as outlined in a previous blog piece. I will continue to question and advocate for a better balance between capital works expenditure and service and program delivery.

  6. Thank you for your answer and it is interesting that you are generalising. I would agree that the allocation of scarce resources is a very difficult task for any Council and it is your right to advocate for resourcing into areas you consider require greater funding. The point is that how you spend Council funds is Councils responsibility and I accept it takes time to understand the Business of Council. However the fact is that the next budget will put you to the test. In my opinion to date you seem to distant yourself from the Council and play on the fact that you will bring about change. I hope you do but by voting against your collegues on many major issues it can also be construed that you are incapable of working with others. I am saying this not to be destructive but constructive.

  7. thanks anom 19/9 - A beautiful back-handed compliment, u must be in politics! Trying to portray anyone who has an alternative view or genuinely advocates constructive change as uncoperative and 'not a team player' seems to me a distraction from discussing important issues.

  8. According to your argument anon (Sept 19th, 5.15am), every vote in council should therefore be unanimous. To hell with open and transparent decision making; to hell with representing constituents; to hell with 'robust debate' as many in the past (and present) have told residents. What a lot of baloney. If democracy is alive and well in Glen Eira, residents have every right to hear opposing views and the rationale behind decision making. To gloss everything over and to pretend that, in Newton's terms, this is a wonderful 'club' does everyone a disservice and signals the deathknell of representative government. Allowing individual councillors to express an individual opinion is healthy, and an imperative for good governance.

  9. So neil should be a sheep and vote with the majority otherwise he is not a "team player" and is "incapable with working with others".

    ROFL - yes we are ALL individuals.

    Has it occured to you anon that to many of us Neil is an (honest) bit of fresh air? We voted for him to stand up for things, not to roll over.

    On ya Neil!

  10. Cr you are correct because you are being put under pressure because you want change for the better and so do most residents. You are up against a majority group of Councillors who won't admit to their affiliations. The fact is that for change you need 5 votes so you cannot alienate the majority. You need to use all your powers to win over the others and therefore bring change. It will be of no use to us if you fail to achieve your aims if you cannot on some occasions get 5 votes.

  11. This entry is all about 'community consultation/engagement' and what happened last night at council meeting. I, together with the majority of the gallery were literally gobsmacked at the tawdry and unprecedented attack launched by Cr. Lipshutz in response to several public questions. Upon arriving home I penned the following email to 5 councillors. I have omitted the name of the questioner for privacy reasons, but this should not detract from the importance of what occurred. The email stated:

    Dear Councillors,

    I wish to object in the strongest possible terms to the character assassination that occurred at tonight's council meeting in response to the public questions by XX. This email is not a result of the fact that I am a personal friend of X's; nor is it concerned with whether I concur with her views. Rather, it is based on the simple imperative that individuals be treated with respect. Cr Lipshutz's replies to X's questions were both insulting, potentially defamatory, and in direct contravention of the current Councillor Code of Conduct. There simply is no excuse for such a performance!

    May I remind councillors that the public has every right to question council and councillors. They also have every right to receive answers that are accurate, balanced, and without invective. The fact that one individual may submit numerous public questions is irrelevant. Also irrelevant is the effort that goes into answering such questions. If transparency and democracy are to be paid more than mere lip service, then the ability to ask public questions is the inalienable right of all citizens. Lipshutz's response tonight was both degrading of these principles and I suggest brought council itself into disrepute.

    I am also disappointed that NOT ONE SINGLE COUNCILLOR had the gumption to stand up and say 'enough is enough'!!! The fact that such statements can be made, and there is no countervoice, speaks volumes about individual integrity, and simple acquiescence. The community deserves better from its councillors!

    I would welcome any response to this email.



  12. How can we trust what Rosetta states when she offers no balance in her tirade. She refuses to mention the name of XX when we all know who she is, and fails to give us the content of the questions. What this is about is someone who bags the Administration and individual Councillors continuously and in some cases dishonestly and yet her friends cannot stand it when a Councillor takes her on.

  13. Anon (23rd September, 5.49) if you had read the letter carefully you would have noted that Roseta mentioned public questions. One can therefore assume that both the question and the answers will be provided in council minutes and that this will be published on the website. It might be an idea therefore, to read both question and answer before you go and write about 'dishonesty'.

  14. I am a lot of things 'anonymous', but dishonest is not one of them.

    While I have attempted constructive criticism over a number of years as a resident, the community has people such as your good self who see the Council through rose colored glasses and without need for change.

    There are others who care even less about how the local government operates their budgets of millions. Unfortunately for your blood pressure perhaps, I am not a passive bystander, who merely critises when the **** hits the fan.

    One Councillor's stated view is that "You have to be TOUGH to do the right thing. Leadership isn't a popularity contest"..should be followed up immediately with the actions which shows that we as residents don't accept from them an attitude that suggests both contempt for us, his constituents and worse, the democratic system.

    I won't be a silent victim to his bullying tactics in Council or out of it!

    That is democracy

  15. Cr Pilling, I commend you for working diligently at your task, which I can imagine is an uphill battle with many suggestions having some searching frantically for the "Too hard Basket".

    Sharing power is very hard for some, who see the community's attempt for inclusion as a inconvenient interruption to their important tasks of governing for the community! The community being just a word for them, not a group of interested human beings!

    I note in 4.6 of the Code of Conduct Review under Community Engagement - the quietest little alteration that reads Councillors "MUST" listen to Community Views, be responsible to them etc etc" to be replaced with the word "SHOULD"...The LGA 1989 223.1.c dealing with Submissions from residents specifically reads "MUST take into consideration all the submissions made under this section".

    As a Councillor yourself, could you please highlight this important LGA (local government act 1989) directive that protects our democracy. There may be one or two Councillors who just don't want to acknowledge or understand the value and expertise available to them from within the community.

    The majority though are not so self centred as to think they "know it all". Cr Magee actually acknowledged that at the Council Meeting just passed....The majority of Councillors, it's seen, would appreciate community involvement in their committees and I commend those who actively support the concept and will work towards it becoming a reality! (but please no legislated SECRETS in them!)

  16. Mary, I must congratulate you on your positive and hopeful outlook of what Glen Eira could be and should be after such a horrid personal attack on you by Cr Lipshutz. You are known as Mary contrary by those that you criticise when you see wrong doings happening. But you are a godsend to those that are disadvantaged, not articulate, or silent. You express your opinions to the Council without fear or favour (admittedly in your own inimitable way) for which you get support from such people and many others. Your sincerity, genuiness, and integrity remains high and intact in spite of attacks and constant questioning by your detractors. I highly appreciate what you have achieved by your actions and the blog you run. Thank you and plse keep doing the good works.