First Greens councillor to serve at Monash Council
In an historical shift, Monash Council has welcomed its first Greens party councillor, Josh Fergeus.
A lifelong local to Monash, Cr Fergeus grew up in Mount Waverley and has remained in the area since.
Cr Fergeus said that he has an established family history in Oakleigh, too.
“My great grandparents built one of the first houses on Drummond St, I think before it even existed as Drummond St!”
Representing the Oakleigh Ward, Cr Fergeus said he was engaged in the area he represents and plans to hold monthly open meetings to discuss key issues for local residents, commencing in January 2017.
A leader in social services and youth work, Cr Fergeus is also an advocate for foster care and for delivering positive solutions for young people and families.
He began working at a local level in social youth services from the young age of 19. His career has taken him across various roles in policy development, research and academia, while also serving as President of the Foster Care Association of Victoria.
Asked how this interest was sparked at such a young age, Cr Fergeus said: “My mother was a foster parent since I was 12 years old so I saw the impact that this can have.”
Cr Fergeus has been a Greens Party member for 12 years.
His work in the social and youth sectors marks him as a uniquely qualified local representative for families and youth.
“I have a passion for evidence-based policies,” he said.
“Local government is the level of government that works the closest with the non-profit sector and is intricately involved with these social issues. We share a common purpose.”
On key local environmental matters, Cr Fergeus listed a variety of issues within Oakleigh, an area that he views as “made up of distinct communities”.
The issues for locals that he’s focused on include heritage and a lack of playgrounds and open spaces. He particularly wants to focus on maintaining and expanding open spaces where possible.
“We have only 9.9 per cent open spaces in Monash Council, that’s very low… one of the lowest areas in the state.”
Discover Meat Me Souvlakeri in Oakleigh
If the savoury sizzle of chargrilled meat and crispy hot chips is your idea of heaven on a plate, it’s time you visited Meat Me Souvlakeri in Oakleigh.
For four years, this busy dine-in and take away souvlaki hub in Oakleigh’s Eaton Mall has been making both locals and visitors salivate with their simple take on the humble ‘souv’.
At Meat Me, bustling weekday trade and busy weekends has proven that business is booming.
Busy periods can mean a short but worthwhile wait for a classic souvlaki. A choice of lamb, chicken or pork ensures there’s something for every carnivore. Fresh pita and home made traditional tzatziki rounds out the flavour experience.
Michael Horomidis is part owner of the souvlakeri with his partners, brothers Theo, Chris and Paul Paboukis. Combining their Greek heritage with many decades of hospitality experience, the owners are part of a new wave of businesses turning Oakleigh into a true Melbourne food destination.
More than just a take away stop, Meat Me, as its name suggests, also provides a fantastic setting for casual dining both indoors and outdoors.
Fully licensed, the venue can seat groups large and small for a meal of gyros, burgers, and appetisers or even a banquet and mixed grill.
Manning the front-of-house, Horomidis has hosted everyone from local workers and students, to visitors from around Melbourne and interstate.
Horomidis is pleased to be part of the buzzing action in Oakleigh.
“It’s a great local area, with all different cultural backgrounds and a good social atmosphere,” he said.
Looking ahead to summer, Horomidis is expecting a “crazy busy” trade – up to a 30-40% increase.
He’s keen to ensure that customers still experience a quality dining experience and is excited about the energy that comes with summer time.
Plans for live music events at Meat Me are in the works, as they also get set for a season of private functions and Christmas events.
Visit Meat Me Souvlakeri
24 Eaton Mall, Oakleigh
Phone: 9568 5555
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm.
Demand for property in Oakleigh strong and steady
Low stock levels in the Oakleigh property market and rainy days aren’t set to dampen the spring season.
Steady and growing demand continues across the entire Monash area but is particularly strong in Oakleigh, with key amenities including schools and parks continuing to strengthen its appeal to families and investors, both local and foreign.
This quarter, competition for quality property in top areas remains extremely high. Houses, units and townhouses continue to reach high sales prices, with above expected figures.
According to data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, this quarter’s median house price in Oakleigh was $965,500.
Woodards Oakleigh property consultant Frank Scalise said the local property market had made a positive start this spring.
“Despite an overall low stock level, in the last 12 days we’ve listed five premier homes, at values of $1 million plus. There are huge demands across the market,” he said.
Asked whether many Oakleigh residents were selling and looking to remain within the area, Mr Scalise noted a general trend of families moving back into Oakleigh to be closer to their ageing parents and grandparents.
These new residents with existing Oakleigh ties are likely to add energy to the already thriving retail and dining precincts of central Oakleigh.
As an area with a strong demographic of second and third generation Australians, Oakleigh is traditionally a strong family area. The move back into Oakleigh by younger generations could see a more youthful trend across the suburb.
On the other hot issue in local property, foreign investment, Mr Scalise was optimistic of the outlook for local property buyers, noting that the government’s recent reforms to banking laws had made it “a little bit harder” for overseas investors, thereby opening up new opportunities for local buyers.
New valuations highlight Oakleigh property prosperity
Independent valuations have shown a 28% growth in property valuation for residential properties in Oakleigh between 2014 and 2016.
This year’s re-evaluation took place across every suburb within Monash, measuring average property value growth for each suburb and the location as a whole. The exercise has shown that growth has been strong across all suburbs.
The Monash Council’s independent valuation was in line with State Government requirements for a re-evaluation every two years. This helps ensure that the amounts charged to individual ratepayers by the council are accurately proportioned across suburbs.
Recent strong investment activity in the Oakleigh area, as well as strong sales spread across units and houses, has supported growth.
With a great proximity to schools, public transport, Monash University and a thriving retail community, it’s little wonder that Oakleigh’s property market continues to strengthen despite a national trend towards slower growth.
The median house price in Oakleigh currently stands at $975,000, while the median unit price is strong at $572,000.
At 28% value growth for the year, the Oakleigh area is proving to be a robust and highly-competitive property market. Its neighbouring Oakleigh East and Oakleigh South enjoyed 33% and 34% growth respectively.
Much of this growth can also be accounted for by the very low interest rates that are continuing through 2016.
As a result of the re-assessment, and in view of Oakleigh’s 28% value increase, the Monash Council has approved a 2.5% increase in rate income for the year.
On a positive note for Oakleigh residents and property owners, the Monash Council has the lowest average rates of all 79 councils in Victoria.
Ratepayers have a chance to appeal against this valuation within two months of the date of their rate notice, which will include further details on the value and rate reassessment on how to apply in the event that an appeal is sought.