Thursday, February 25, 2010

Glen Eira Jewish councillors (bar one) vote against Jewish school

AJN Watch's reporter at the Glen Eira council meeting this week was extremely disappointed seeing that despite council officials positive recommendations, the (Jewish) mayor and most (including Jewish) councillors opposing the application for Yesodei Hatorah College to build in Regent Street, Elsternwick.

The only councillors who voted in favour were the always-reliable communal stalwart Michael Lipschutz and newcomer Frank Penhalluriack. The Jewish community should remember this at the next  Council elections.

The Yesodei school serves an important segment of our community - nearly all who live in that area's vicinity. They need a new home and this location is for them a rare find. There simply aren't any other suitable building blocks in our areas.

Meanwhile Caulfield Grammar School with its approx 1000 students - most who do not live anywhere near this area - are granted every permit and assistance for expansion - by the very same council. Driving past there for the past decade or so, there has rarely been a time that they haven't been adding new buildings. They are currently putting up another huge edifice - right on their Glen Eira Road boundary. No doubt this will allow them to enroll another few hundred students from all over Victoria, the other states and even overseas. And good luck to them. But why is it that allowing a small Jewish school only a few hundred feet away cannot be tolerated.

Shame Glen Eira Council. Shame.
No doubt this case will end up at VCAT, where we wish Yesodei much Hatzlacha.
See Pages 4-23

Here's the report in the Herald-Sun -
followed by some of the comments on their website:

From Mary Walsh's blog Glen Eira Residents Opinions
(See previous post about her here.)
No prizes on guessing what her opinion is about another Jewish school in the area...
46 Regent Street, Elsternwick

In a rare burst of enlightenment last night, I appreciated the benefit of informed Councillors.
Item 9.1 at last nights Council Meeting was the proposal for a school (Yesodei Ha Torah College) to be built within a narrow suburban street, where once an aged care facility operated.

The Municipal Strategy Statement provided for Institutional and Non Residential Uses in Residential Areas, which was entirely suitable for a passive aged care facility but certainly absolutely a misplaced choice for a school. Not too much traffic visits the elderly but a school is incessant!
A school with a maximum enrolment of 325 boy students. In a community where families can have six children quite often, I believe this figure would (attempt) have been pushed upwards very quickly.

In a suburban street, the operators want to open for business from 7 am to 6 pm (core times) and I think I heard six days a week mentioned!! One only has to see the congestion a throng of 75 kids can make to understand the 88 objectors feelings as their 'castle' space is threatened by invasion of the constant noise and traffic such a busy school would entail! Only a matter of time before the parking up and down the local streets would be on restricted time zones to cater for the put down, pick up daily hassle.
Easy access for buses on school excursions, emergency vehicles, and evacuations must also be considered. And what of playing fields for burning up excessive energy and keeping physically fit?

Then there is the after hours activities throughout the school year compounding the loss of serenity for nearby residents to have space on the surrounding streets to do a bit of private entertainment themselves like the odd family BBQ.
I was appalled that the Council Officers would have made the recommendation to proceed with the proposed project. History has shown that undertakings given to appease residents' anger about noise in other facilities has not necessarily been forthcoming once Council gives them the nod. Over a number of years Council has dealt with complaints from similar establishments and with the residents invariably ending up the losers.
Mayor Tang's outrage at allegations of bias from pseudo secular parties is because that is their experience in dealing with Council business - and is not something he could actually blame me for!! (changing the wording of the Community Grants Funding Guidelines to suitably encompassing narrow interest groups was one such cynical observation I've made! Residents just can't win!)

For those who try to tell us that 60% (195) of the kids will walk to school because they live with a 1.6 km radius of the proposed school. That's today perhaps! but what about within the next ten years??.
From outside the overcrowded Council Chambers, I think the vote to reject the development of the school was 7 against, 2 for. Couldn't hear arguments for and against because of the noise of the gallery, but Cr Whiteside came across loud and clear!
The Councillors definitely got that one right!

Observer said...
"I was appalled that the Council Officers would have made the recommendation to proceed with the proposed project". Dead right!! But once again Mary, you've failed to see the wood for the trees! The recommendation for approval had to be made given the strictures of Glen Eira's current planning scheme. It is, has been, and remains a total shemozzle. Even worse, it's a disaster. Once parameters are set then officers are bound to work within those parameters. They are handcuffed to the inadequacies and shortcomings of the MSS. So if you're looking for who is responsible, the answer can only be the CEO and his handpicked men. Start asking some real questions for a change. Ask yourself why in Newton's reign is Glen Eira without structure plans? Why hasn't there been real involvement by the community in the reviewing, planning, and implementation of the MSS as other councils do? Who benefits from such shoddy piecemeal approaches if not developers? Is this the kind of long term vision that will meet the needs of your kids and their kids?

The three recommendations at last night's meeting should never have seen the light of day. Yes, congratulations to councillors for voting them down. But hey, it also shouldn't take an overflowing gallery of angry, angry, residents to make them see the shortcomings. They must go back to the drawing board and come up with an MSS that does the job it is intended to do. The first step is to lay the blame where it belongs - at Newton's feet. Thus, councillors will only be doing their job if they elect a CEO who suits the community. The past decade in planning alone is another instance of how this man has failed to meet those needs and aspirations.

Stella said...
The Mote in Lipshutz Eye

Last night council meeting sure showed the narrowness of the debate on wether on the proposed Regent St School should proceed. It was knocked back, but for the wrong reasons.

I would have though that a school for children should provide a fair amount of open space for the kids to run and play for starters This development resembled a a 1960’s block of flats not a school. Where were the places to run play and get sunlight? Of course none of this entered the debate. It was traffic traffic and traffic, no one seemed to care for the poor little boys that were going to be condemned to this confined area for a significant part of there life. This would have been a nightmare for me as a child, I needed room to move, and judging from the others kids around me, so did they. How desperate are people to think this development is the best they can do for their children.

“That aside” Cr. Lipschutz once again showed his intractable support for all thing Jewish with stupid statements.

The most ill thought garbage to spill from his mouth was “some residents said Regent street said it was a peaceful street with only moderate traffic, whilst other residents said the street already had too much traffic and was noisy”

Lipschutz said, “Regent Street could not be both things it had to be one or the other” What nonsense.

He used this trumped up divide in supposed logic to condemn the residents as bunch of hysterical ratbags, that did not deserve consideration and punished them by doing what he was always going to do away, he voted for the development to proceed.

Well Cr. Lipshutz “to big” “to small” “to busy” “to colourful” “to crowded” “to long” “to short” to noisy “ “to quiet” “to beautiful” “to ugly” ALL SUBJECTIVE, Cr. Lipschutz. All people perceptions are based on that’s person experiences. What is quiet to someone that’s hard of hearing maybe noisy to someone with good hearing etc. Someone that lived on a main road and just moved into Regent Street may find it tranquil, whilst someone moving into Regent Street from beyond Burketown may find it noisy. Regent Street can and is perceived differently by all its residents, young and old.

How xenophobic is he that everyone has to be singing off the same songbook, the same words, the same key, and all must be reverent too, and just one slip and you’re all condemned.

Cr. Lipshutz tunnel vision of the world is breathe takingly narrow and self justifyingly arrogant, He stood up on his hind-legs and belittle the gallery and other residents with his own ignorance. It didn’t work he looked sheepish and weak and he could hide his predetermined outcome he wanted school at all costs. He knows where his votes come from and here was the payback.


  1. Any truth to the story that the principal of Caulfield grammar is brothe rof GE coucil CEO??

  2. Here is the list of current councillors in the GE council.

    Camden - Cr Michael Lipshutz *****
    Camden - Cr Helen Whiteside
    Camden - Cr Frank Penhalluriack *****
    Rosstown - Cr Margaret Esakoff
    Rosstown - Cr Steven Tang (Mayor)
    Rosstown - Cr Neil Pilling
    Tucker - Cr Nick Staikos
    Tucker - Cr Jamie Hyams
    Tucker - Cr Jim Magee

    Think hard before you vote for som eof them at the next elections.

    I recommened only those who get 5 stars!!!

  3. A comment I saw on the blog of that Hamas-lover Mary Walsh:

    Boris said...

    Oh, and I forgot to end my earlier posts with a "Happy Purim to All" and may all the Haman's of today meet with the same fate as the original one.


  4. You seem to be implying that the refusal of the application was based on anti-Jewish sentiments.
    The fact that 3 Jewish councillors voted against the proposal shows this to be false.
    Councillors are elected to represent the interests of the whole community - a concept that Cr Lipshutz seems to have problems understanding.
    And I wouldn't put your faith in Frank - as a developer himself and someone who makes a living selling to builders I suggest there is an element of self interest here - he invariably supports developments of all kinds.

  5. Ah now, I feel I enter the Lion's Den!

    I too sympathize with the neighbors of Caulfield Grammar and soon Glen Eira will overwhelmed by service industries and residents and shops sent packing by the relentless surge of private schools. My grandson travels 1/2 hour on a bus, twice a day, rain and heat, to get to his nearest high school but one! But it is a State school with no convenience of just being over the back fence!

    The comment that Jewish people will be encouraged to vote for only those Councillors who agree with their wants, is to belittle the intelligence of the majority - that in any society, plans must be made which take into account what increases there will be in terms of enrolments. I actually did just look at the Plan from a parent POV and thought it was no place to build a school.

    Aren't Councillors actively encouraged to treat their stewartship of being elected to Council to act without fear or favour. This 'love in' with Councillor Lipshutz, to remember him at re election time, is precisely why I have expressed concerns about the inability to treat the decision making process with respect for pseudo secular independence.

    The proposed site was inappropriate for a school, regardless of who the tenants were to be!

    I had to look after what 'Purim' meant because I wasn't sure whether you were being polite or not.
    VENOMAR OMEIN!!!!! may make up for it!!

    I agree with Glen Huntly! not everything has to relate to what sectional parts of the community want! And again it becomes really annoying that antisemitic is a tool used at random when opposing points of views are aired!....

    Can't you acknowledge that perhaps an area such as the crn of Hotham and Glen Eira Roads may be more suitable for the school, building up to three or four storeys in an area not affected by people living their lives.

  6. Lots of comments on this story here:

  7. The residents of Regent Street will remember the councillors who supported the residents, especially councillor WHITESIDE, who represents CAMDEN!

    How such a council recommendation can come about is really questionable??

    Councilor Michael Lipsultz and Frank Penhalluriack better watch out at the next election, because although there are many Jewish residents in the Camden region, they are not all Jewish and the Jewish residents in Regent Street will not forget what was proposed by theses men without any justification.

    What also needs to be clarified is that at least 50% of the residents in Regent Street are Jewish and they did not support this development! There is no RACISM as is implied, the remaining residents are either greek or Italian migrants.

    The reality is that Regent street is a very NARROW street and the proposed property was not suitable for ANY school catering for 325 students and 14 teachers! For goodness sake the children were to play in the car park!

    How could any parent even send their kids to this school.

    Mr DEVELOPER and supporting councillors if you had the decency to look into the history of this property you would know that the current permit for 10 units was granted with VCAT intervention, the original proposal was for 11 units! How would VCAT possibly consider this pathetic proposal knowing the history.

    Furthermore Mr Lipsultz I found you to be an extremely RUDE and ARROGANT man and next time you support something, get YOUR FACTS right. The proposed development site, 46 Regent St sits on the narrow part of the street, not the WIDE part as you confidently stated.

    I hope for all involved that this matter does not progress any further because the residents will fight this and they will WIN, just like the residents won in ST KILDA!



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