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Latest News

News

As most of you may know, Banyule Council recently invited Save Ivanhoe Residents Group to send two observers to meetings of the Community Consultative Committee (CCC). This committee has been meeting throughout the development of the Ivanhoe Draft Structure Plan to provide feedback from the community. 

Our major concern about the CCC has been the weighting of the Committee’s make-up in favour of business and property interests in the Upper Heidelberg Road precinct. This has led to a business-dominated approach to the Structure Plan in which residents’ interests were not properly represented.  We applaud the Council’s action in appointing five additional residents to the CCC and we believe that the individuals appointed are excellent choices.
 
Our second issue has been the process followed by the Community Consultative Committee. Our observers have now attended two meetings of the CCC and on the basis of those meetings and further discussion with Council members and officers, we are concerned that the efforts and expertise of everyone on the Committee, and their ability to represent the varied interests of the community, is being undermined by an ineffective consultative and meeting process.
 
Our specific concerns are:
  • At the October meeting Council staff presented the preliminary results of the feedback from residents about the Draft Plan. Despite the fact that most of the feedback revealed a deep dissatisfaction with the Plan, there was no discussion of the results nor of their impact on future versions of the Plan. 
  • There was, in fact, no discussion of any items of substance in either meeting.
  • There was no agenda for items of discussion and no minutes are distributed.
  • The meeting has no effective chair. For example, one committee member was permitted to speak at length on a topic that was not under discussion, while another committee member was harassed for asking a question on topic. 
  • Some members were openly hostile towards others and dismissive of resident concerns, with one person suggesting the draft plan had no impact on residents. It demonstrates a lack of empathy from those that have businesses in the suburb towards the people that actually live in the suburb (residents)
 
There were a number of incorrect statements, often repeated by members, which went unchallenged in the meeting. They included:
  • 'State Government will intervene if the plan did not included 6-8 storey buildings’. This is incorrect
  • The proposed boundary is too small’. This is incorrect. Other activity centres around Melbourne have smaller areas
  • State Government will never accept buildings of only 2-3 storeys’. Where are the guidelines that state this?
  • Building heights in the plan based on what the CCC thought would be acceptable to VCAT’. Why are we second-guessing what VCAT may or may not approve?
  • The Structure Plan is for 30 to 50 years’ time so it’s not going to happen right now. As such no one should be concerned’. This is incorrect. This type of development is happening now
  • ‘The plan will enable young people to buy into Ivanhoe’. There is no evidence to back up this statement ‘6-7 storey buildings can be made to look beautiful and have no impact on residents’. This is subjective. They will affect the streetscapes, views and overshadow residential properties. They will increase traffic congestion and stress on services
  • ‘The current Structure Plan offers protection to residents’. This is subjective. The current plan is ambiguous, includes contradictory maps and simple provides a blueprint for developers to detrimentally change the urban character forever. 
 
In total, our concern is that the steps taken by Council for a more balanced representation on the CCC may be cancelled out by the ineffectiveness of the Committee meetings. We question whether the CCC will be brought into a meaningful position in the consultative process. 
 
We have sent a number of questions to Banyule Council regarding the CCC and will publish responses once they are received.

 

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