What next for the Old Shire Office Site & War Memorial Complex?

12 April 2019

What do we know now?
The short answer is ‘Not much more’. But we do know..

  • Only ONE submission was received. (Autumn edition Nillumbik News)

Of the fifteen EOIs that were received, narrowed down to 5 by an external committee, only 1 submitted a detailed response to Council. So not a difficult choice for councillors in narrowing the field!

And obviously little or no choice for us when we are finally consulted.

NB The italicized quotes below are Council responses to residents’ questions at the OCM on March 26th.

  • At a closed meeting at the Ordinary Council Meeting held at St Andrews in February, councillors decided ‘to continue with investigating the feasibility of the proposal.’ with the single interested developer.
  • But we don’t know who is undertaking the negotiation or what it is about!
  • The one potential developer has now been advised of the application for listing of the War Memorial complex on the Victorian Heritage Register.
  • It appears there will be community consultation of some sort but how meaningful and just when is unclear. All that is clear is that it will be before a contract is signed.

Council will engage and consult with the community before entering into a development agreement, however Council is yet to make a decision about any future proposal’. 

Council … remains committed to community engagement and consultation before entering into a development agreement, if any.’

Council has previously engaged and consulted about shaping the vision for the Eltham Activity Centre, where the project is located,’ is a recurring theme from council.

But just when? With whom? And what did the community say?

The Eltham Activity Centre survey, December 2018, summarized respondents’ suggestions for the centre.

‘ Some suggestions for improvement included

improvement to traffic flow, congestion and parking,

increase the greenery and improve the streetscapes,

stop or control overdevelopment,

improve the station/bus interchange precinct,

more community festivals and events to bring people together,

more public art

retain its unique identity.’

We are yet to find evidence of the community’s wish for hotel, apartments or aged care on the Old Shire Office Site and War memorial Complex? Where did those ideas come from? What community consultation led council to believe that was the will of the people?

Why should you care?

This is Community Owned Land. Once gone, it is gone for ever.

  • If re-sold, could the buildings be repurposed ?
  • 4 to 5 storeys above Main Road is high. How would that look from the library? The market area?
  • Will taller buildings be needed to make the development financially viable? Will the sites be covered in buildings to maximise profits?
  • Why the secrecy? Why no real choices?
  • How much of valuable staff time and our money has been involved so far?

And – why the sudden haste?

Hasn’t Council learnt from the failed attempt to sell our Community Reserves that we care, very strongly, about our place?

It’s right in the heart of Eltham, and it’s wrong.

What can you do?

We understand a key decision as to the next stage will be made by the end of May..before anyone in the community is consulted.

  • If you enjoy walking, maybe you could deliver our fliers to letterboxes in Eltham – contact ECAG at [email protected]

Date – Wednesday May 8th, 7.30pm
Venue – Senior Citizens’ Hall

We will have two experts to explain
..the planning process controls and how or if we can object to the final application if it gets to that stage
..a local historian to step us through the Heritage Victoria application and approval process.

Before the speakers there will be a very brief AGM.

Share the ECAG Flyer, spread the word and bring your neighbours.

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