Friday, May 20, 2011

Streetlighting changeover - emissions reduction

One of the larger new initiatives in this years draft budget is $1m of a $2m program to convert and upgrade the muncipalities streetlights to more modern energy efficient T5 globes.

This program once completed will reduce council's total emmissions by approx 14%.This is an even more significant with the new GESAC sports and aquatic centre opening in late 2011. This major facilty will run 24/7 and be powered primarily from conventional coal-fired energy (showers only from solar).

The prospect of Glen Eira becoming a carbon neutral council have become inctreasingly remote in the present circumstances. The streetlight conversion is one of the most cost effective way of reducing councils emissions with a payback period of around six/seven years - the change over will deliver savings in the order of $300k given the forecast of rising electricity costs and I was supportive of this program.

Unfortunately in my view one of the casualities of providing funding for streetlight program has been the freezing of Council's purchasing of Greenpower for its facilities at 25% - instead of continueing an annual 5% rise as identified in the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Volunteering in Glen Eira

Last Wednesday and Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending Glen Eira's annual Volunteers Awards and Recognition nights. These are held during National Volunteers Week and recognise and celebrate the fantastic work that so many perform in our community.

This year there were 291 recipients who had donated from 500 hours thru to upto ten years of continuous service to their respective group.

From scouting, through elderly citizens to childrens playgroups the whole range of groups in our community was represented. An excellent night with entertainment and supper provided.

Congratulations and thankyou to all those who help so willingly!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2011/12 Glen Eira draft Budget

At last nights special meeting Council considered the proposed draft budget for advertising and for public submission.

An amended version from that published in the agenda was passed by a narrow majority instead sets rates at 6.5% and downsizes the sports ground drought-tolerant grass program from four to two ovals this year.

I spoke in favor of the proposed draft that would have set rates at 6.95% - with many future and past projects like GESAC needing to be adequately funded I argued that we need to grow our revenue base in a modest, measured way to meet these funding challenges. The compounding affect over time is also very significant and importantly the Strategic Resource plan (SRP)as adopted the previous meeting was based on the higher rate.

Major budget items in the draft include:
GESAC $7.58m to complete the sports and aquatic facilty in Bentleigh
Duncan Mckinnon new pavillion $5.5m (out of 8.8m total)for construction
Streetlight Conversion to energy efficient T5 globes $1m (out of 2m total)
- this is a two year program that will significant reduce council emissions with a payback period of 6/7 years on the back of rising electricity costs.
Roads, Drainage and Footpaths rolling programs maintained at $4.95m,$3.29m and $1.73m respectively
Bicycle Strategy $446k to undertake high priority actions-the SRP allocates $400k for the years after to complete the 2m strategy.

All details of the draft budget noting the above amendments can be found in the lower right links section.

Public submissions very welcome and close June 9th.

2011/12 Draft Budget- special council meeting Tues 10th May

There will be a Special Council meeting this Tuesday night at 7pm to consider the 2011/12 Draft Budget and whether to advertise and invite public submissions.

Details are at available on the GE council homepage - in the links section.

Will follow up with an overview of the draft budget highlighting some of the initiatives especially on sustainabilty including funding for the bicycling strategy and improved streetlighting efficiency.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

EWaste collection day-next Sun 15th May

The third electronic waste (ewaste) collection day where unwanted computers, monitors televisions etc can be dropped off will be held at

Sunday 15th May 8am - 4pm
carpark Moorleigh Community Centre
90-92 Bignell Rd East Bentleigh

It is a drive-in drive-out efficient process with staff collecting the items from carboots.

The previous collection days at Carnegie and Caulfield have been incredibly successful with record amounts collected-Almost all of the items collected can be broken down and recycled,reducing what would otherwise go to landfill.
The recent State budget raised landfill costs 10% above the prev govt's projected increases to a now $44 per tonne in 2011/12- in 08/09 it was $9 per tonne!

The Environmental Advisory committee will meet shortly to consider recommendations for further ewaste initiatives in the next financial year.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Levels Crossings in Glen Eira and the State Budget

As one who resides near the Murrumbeena Rd railway level crossing I certainly understand the problems caused particularily during the peak hour periods.

It's not only motorists but cyclists and pedestrians alike who are frequently stuck with the boom gates down (upto 38 mins in the hour as reported in a recent article in the Age)- My record is waiting for eight trains - heard of higher amounts.

In the recent State budget brought down last Tuesday there is some funding for grade separation in Glen Eira .

Both Ormond (Nth rd) and Murrumbeena Rd level crossings have been allocated $150m each for grade separation -However the only amount spent in the 2010-14 term with be $12.5m and $2.5m on each of the respective sites for planning-

from press release
" The Budget also provides funding for planning the removal of level crossings at: Mountain Highway and Scoresby Road, Bayswater; North Road, Ormond; Blackburn Road, Blackburn; and Burke Road, Glen Iris. The Coalition has also identified Main Road, St Albans, and Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena as priority projects".

Many of the worst crossings incl M/beena, Carnegie, Hughesdale with Ormond on the electoral boundary are in the now more marginal State seat of Oakleigh which may help the future prospects of resolving this issue!

full details -

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tree Protection register for Glen Eira

At last weeks meeting councillors voted to introduce for the first time in Glen Eira a significant tree register that will protect the best of our municpalities trees currently unprotected.

The full details,description and criteria for this register is covered in pages of item of meeting minutes below ( page 72-76 item 9.6).

This has been a long time coming and marks an important step forward. This is a fairly moderate approach. Saying that it was still quite a battle to get this up- as I understand this was the fourth or fifth attempt over many years.

Whilst most owners are certainly very responsible there have been problems with the removal of significant trees in the past with ownership changes- this register will help address this.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

C60 amendment adopted -

Last Thursday night 28th April the Caulfield Racecourse Precinct Special Committee adopted the C60 amendment with changes to restrict height , student housing and improve on-site car parking- text below from the speech I gave in support-

Item 5.1 amendment C60-
Moved Cr. Neil Pilling 28/04/2011
I propose to move motion 5.1 as printed with the addition of the following words at the end of recommendation 3: "and implementation of the agreement relating to the centre of the reserve approved by Council on 27 April 2011".

In considering this motion I along with the rest of the committee have carefully analysed all the key issues and the implications for this scale of potential development on the C60 site.

This rezoning amendment does not authorise any construction. Development will be dependant on Council approval of the following plans on environmental management, integrated transport ,car parking management ,drainage management ,landscape plan and waste and recycling management.

There has been an extensive consultation process over an extended period of time that has allowed for community input and discussion during which time the special committee has listened to the concerns and issues raised. I would certainly like to thank everyone for their input.
Consultation on C60 has included
-exhibition of the amendment 19 November – 21 December 2009
-the planning conference of 8 February 2010
-six days of hearings before the independent panel in May 2010
-public release of the panel’s report, July 2010.
-public consultation meeting on 4 April 2011.

The C60 site is a large unique parcel of land situated immediately next to a major suburban railway station at the intersection of the two main railway lines that service South-East Melbourne. It is close to main roads, retail outlets, education facilities and without the level crossings found in other areas of Glen Eira. A large proportion of the site at the eastern end does not abut residential properties.

In all aspects this is a site that encourages urban consolidation and the use of public transport - a site that I believe is suitable for a large scale development that will encourage and provide increased housing in Melbourne’s middle suburban belt whilst reducing the pressure for endless suburban sprawl on the cities fringes

Melbourne cannot continue to grow randomly and endlessly – In a world fast moving towards peak oil and the need to reduce our carbon footprint in limiting the effects of climate change, consolidating and intensifying housing in appropriate areas becomes a necessity – this view is supported and is evident in our current State planning laws.

As outlned for each precinct in the incorporated plan "a sustaintable design response will be required in all buildings, where orientation, sun-shading, ventilation, sustainable material specification and/or environmental systems are employed to meet sustainabilty objectives".

Height limits will be imposed on all areas contained in C60.
The proposal would be scaled from two to three stories with setbacks at the residential Kambrook Rd end through the range of three to eight stories in the middle precincts to a limit of upto twenty stories in the Smith St precinct next to the Caulfield Railway Station.

The Section 173 (infrastructure agreement) lists seven key projects that the MRC must provide for. These are worth approx $7-9m and include three infrastructure projects that are outside C60; the signalisation of a reconfigured underpass intersection, a safe pedestrian link between C60 and the station and an upgrade of the Kambrook Rd-Station St intersection.

There will be an Open Space contribution requirement across all of the C60 site, including non-residential land uses. Four per cent will apply to the residential precinct and Five per cent to the mixed use and Smith St precincts. The five per cent requirement for the commercial precincts is higher than what VCAT normally applies for commercial developments and was inserted upon Councils request. As I understand these rates are higher than for other recent developments in Glen Eira

The residential parking provisions anticipated are in accordance with and are consistant with Res-Code requirements- As well the parking rates for the retail outlets are generous in comparison to other recent developments such as the ten storey bldg in Rippon Grove Elsternwick recently approved by VCAT. In addition, car parking restrictions will be established in surrounding residential streets in consultation with residents and at the cost of the C60 applicant

Traffic ie car congestion already exists throughout much of our municipality including the Caulfield area and will continue to be so regardless of C60- the solution lies in better providing for improved transport and traffic options.
An approach that restricts and handicap developments based on past outmoded transport practices misses the point and opportunity to create future urban improvements.

In summary- In considering carefully this decision, I believe the C60 amendment and the proposed development that may follow is an appropriate usage for this site.
With the inclusion of the extra height limit and the student housing permit conditions in the recommendations plus the other aspects outlined above, I feel the potential impacts and issues that have been raised during the consultation process have been reasonably addressed and satisfied. Thank you