Council Meeting Tuesday 25 July

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Image: Google Maps

July’s Council meeting will consider Buckley Street level crossing, Strathaird Reserve, a 10 storey application in Puckle St and a confidential Councillor Code of Conduct matter. ‘The blog’ will be there from 6:30pm Tuesday.

And we are here – with lots of people from Strathmore, and a few Moonee Ponds traders.

Opening  The Mayor welcomes us all, acknowledges traditional owners, and pays tribute to Jonathon Tarscio, MV Citizen of the Year, who sadly passed away recently. The Mayor has read a tribute, extending wishes to his family and unborn child. There is a poignant minute’s silence.

Apologies Cr Marshall is an apology.

Cr Gauci-Maurici seeks a leave of absence – carried.

Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Moved Cr Sipek, Seconded Cr Lawrence.  Carried unanimously.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest

Cr Sharpe has a COI in footpath trading policy.

Cr Gauci-Maurici has an indirect COI re Puckle Street.

Cr Nation has a COI in 12.1 – Windy Hill

The CEO has an indirect interest re Buckley St level crossing.

Presentations Nil

Petitions and Joint Letters

Cr Lawrence presents a petition for Buckley Rd re a development at 65 Aberfeldie St

Cr Sharpe has a petition signed by 465 residents about item 9.2.

Public Question Time

I have asked a couple of questions tonight:

1) At the Council meeting on 28 March 2017, Council voted to support the Minister for Planning to be the Responsible Authority for the Debneys Precinct throughout the planning process. The precinct envelope includes Council owned land including the entirety of Debneys Park.

a) Given that no plans have been presented for Stage 2 of the process, which will involve works on the Council land portion of the precinct, will Council reconsider this request and its implications for consultation, with park users and community members, about future plans for the parkland? 

b) At the Council meeting in December 2016, Council voted to request DHHS for Council to be the lead stakeholder responsible for community engagement for the duration of the project. To what extent is this request affected by the subsequent request for the Minister for Planning to be the Responsible Authority for the project site? 

2) At the Council meeting in September 2016, Council voted to relocate a junior playground and construct a new fence in Debneys Park. How is this decision affected by the Debneys Precinct redevelopment? 

Mr Lancaster (CEO) reads an answer (which I might have to post in later as he is reading quite quickly!!). There will be an opportunity for Council to have further input regarding infrastructure at Debneys Park . The Planning Minister will expedite approvals and his role won’t affect Council being the lead stakeholder. Council continues to work with DHHS, but is waiting for the Standing Committee’s recommendations.

Re question 2 – it has become apparent that the Flemington redevelopment might have an impact on the school and surrounding areas, and so will require more consultation to decide on permanent solutions. A temporary fence will be constructed (in consultation with the school).

Edward Ho, Ascot Vale, has asked a question re an item on the agenda tonight (C148).  (It’s quite a complicated Q regarding DDO13 and Newsom St). The question is about the heights and other aspects of the amendment – which will be considered by Council tonight.

Sharon, from Strathmore, asks about the Strathaird Reserve: why did Council not consult with the community when it knew about VicRoads wanting to sell the land several years ago?  Council says it has been consulting with VicRoads since 2014, advocating for VicRoads to transfer land. VicRoads agreed to an earlier deferral, but ultimately decided it would only sell at market value. Council decided it would not consult with residents as this would not change VicRoad’s decision. There is reference to other parkland in the area including the land along MP Creek – the nursery land (but I hear someone behind me comment that it’s “not even in the area”).

Sharon is sitting next to me.  She lives opposite the park. She had no notice from Council about VicRoads’ intention to sell the land. She tells me about the games that take place in the space, the beautiful trees, and the long walk/drive to the nearest play space for kids. She says the play equipment has already been removed.

Reports by Mayor and Councillors

Councillors are giving their reports … but I am still catching up on public questions … Cr Nation talks about the Indigenous Art exhibition at the Incinerator Gallery; Cr Byrne speaks (fittingly) about Maternal and Child Health services; Cr Cusack talks about “making a quid” from tours watching eagles flying early in the morning at Afton Street – and how people are “nuts” if they don’t go along to the Winter Music Festival events; Cr Gauci-Maurici talks about Flemington Rotary giving books to children from refugee backgrounds; Cr Lawrence talks about local parks that everyone enjoys …. topical; Cr Sharpe talks about a “world class event centre” at Essendon Fields; Cr Sipek talks about going to Canberra for the ALGA conference with Crs Cusack and Lawrence – and getting “goodies bags” (I think he mentioned some funding … but it’s still a secret). Now he’s talking about a footy match with players’ WAGS in which there was “not a lot of tackling”.  Hmm …. !  Carried

The Mayor brings forward Notice of Motion about the Strathaird reserve.

10.2 Notice Of Motion No. 2017/19 – Strathaird Reserve

Cr Sharpe reads her Notice of Motion:

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Image: MVCC, Agenda Ordinary Council Meeting  –

Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds, but Cr Lawrence foreshadows a motion.

Cr Sharpe says she has received a lot of feedback from residents.  It is quite a complex issue, but Cr Sharpe would like the purchase to be reinvestigated

In favour – Crs Lawrence, Gauci-Maurici, Sharpe, Nation

Against – Crs Cusack,  Byrne, Surace & Sipek  – Motion is lost on the Mayor’s casting vote

Crowd is very upset. “No screaming from the gallery,” says the Mayor.

Cr Lawrence reads a foreshadowed motion – seconded by Cr Cusack –  which is about Council continuing to advocate to the State Govt for it to give the land to Council (possibly at a reduced rate – I will have to check the wording in the minutes…).

Cr Lawrence speaks to his motion saying that the park has existed for more than 50 yrs with Council maintaining and looking after it for that time. “What have we got for it?” “We have put all our heart and soul into it – but the [Govt] is being greedy”.

“Let’s remember that the State Govt owns the land – it is not owned by council – it never has been.” “We have looked after it – doesn’t that count for something?”

“We need real leadership in the Victorian State Govt.  MV is being persecuted by this State Government for no reason – other than they are being greedy. First it was copping…” the tower in Moonee Ponds – “now we have this up in Strathnaver…” – the crowd is not happy about this wrong description of location – “…what should be gifted”.

“It begs the question: what is our local state member doing to have this land gifted to the MVCC?”  The crowd is not happy.

“On the local member, he needs to fight for our … community members, and to stand up for our members he represents.” Some crowd members clap.

Cr Cusack speaks saying the park should be ceded to Council. Cr Cusack refers to the MAV  (Municipal Association of Victoria) motion and the need for State Govt land “all over the place” to be dealt with. “It’s clearly a role the local member can take up” to get the MAV decision picked up and worked on across the rest of Victoria.

Cr Nation speaks about residents losing out while levels of government argue. Crowd claps.  Cr Sharpe rises to support.

The Crowd wants to know why, if Council will advocate further, why the playground was removed?

Cr Lawrence says hopefully the play equipment can be returned.

Carried unanimously.

A poll on the Moonee Valley Leader’s website illustrates the views of residents:

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9.1 31-43 Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds (Lot 4 LP8142 and Lot 1 TP531726B) – Construction of buildings and works comprising a 10 storey building, demolition and external alterations in an Activity Centre Zone and Heritage Overlay, a reduction in car parking requirements and waiver of loading bay requirements

Cr Cusack moves the motion – Cr Nation seconds.

Cr Nation says he “feels sorry” for Moonee Ponds. He says the height “is not that ideal” but that 17-23 storeys have been approved next door and so contesting at VCAT would come with a sizeable bill for Council and no change to the result. Further comments about traffic movements around the development and the reduced car parking.

Cr Cusack closes debate picking up on the comments about parking.

Carried unanimously. Cr Gauci-Maurici returns (having left because of a Conflict of interest).

9.2 166 The Boulevard Aberfeldie (Lot 11 on PS 015933) – Development of a four storey building comprising three dwellings

Cr Sharpe reads an alternative motion for a refusal due to bulk, scale, layout, limited landscaping (Cr Sharpe comments it is a long motion and checks she has to read it all – the Mayor says she does have to read the entire motion…) car parking, traffic impacts, Clause 55 (ResCode) – multiple sub-sections.

Cr Sharpe points out that the proposal does not comply with many Clause 55 criteria without conditions applied by Council. She would like the guidelines for the river precinct to be strengthened – “we can’t let it be destroyed”.  She asks councillors to support her.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says that any development in the area needs to “respect and complement the parkland and the environment” and the guidelines for the character of the area.

Cr Lawrence says the proposal will “modify and change” the environment along there. He says it doesn’t meet car parking requirements. And that “you drive down the Boulevard for the pleasure of driving down it”.

Cr Byrne says she “loves the river” – although “we love Steele Creek” in Rose Hill Ward. She speaks about the beauty of the Boulevard for people running the ‘Nong’ or walking, or playing cricket… “We don’t need something this high and this extravagant in Moonee Valley”.

Cr Cusack says Myrnong Ward has some horrible examples of what has happened to the Maribyrnong River and doesn’t want this to happen to other areas. “We have a  responsibility as a Council to maintain the Maribyrnong River.” “You still can’t swim in the bloody thing.”

Carried unanimously.  One gentleman claps.

9.3 Combined Planning Scheme Amendment C148 and Permit Application MV/900/2015 at 9 Newsom Street, Ascot Vale – Post Panel adoption and approval

Cr Cusack moves the recommendation. While he is speaking, Crs Lawrence and Sipek both leave … Cr Lawrence returns in time for the motion to be carried unanimously by those present.

9.4 Buckley Street Level Crossing Removal Update

The CEO leaves (conflict of interest).

Cr Lawrence moves the recommendation, but then reads the wrong thing.  He starts again. Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds.

Cr Lawrence doesn’t speak to the motion. Cr Gauci-Maurici says it is unfortunate that Council has to engage consultants – not LXRA – to fill gaps regarding the impact of the proposal on the area.

Cr Nation says one of the big things picked up in the report is the LXRA’s attempt to lodge a planning scheme amendment, and that this should be circulated with any material to people affected. He says that the circular that has been distributed is an A4 double sided – that gives MVCC legal grounds to start legal action … that legal advice received by Council says that notices weren’t properly circulated – giving Council grounds to take action.

Cr Nation says the planning controls will be turned off in a huge area until 2029. “Should the LXRA apply to the Planning Minister for an Amendment, then Council believes that due process was not followed.” He hopes that people understand what the LXRA is trying to do with this planning scheme amendment – see if you can get the incorporated document and the map with the red border with the entire area marked.

Cr Sharpe says there is an urgent need to notify the community about the large area being affected.

The Mayor says the issue is transparency and communication.  She met with the LXRA this afternoon. “They have an agenda.” “They’ve been set a task.” “We’re saying, do this properly.”

Cr Lawrence says “this is a trench that will cut Essendon and Moonee Ponds in half”. “You may as well stick a freeway through there.” “We’ve gone backwards from the 1970s.” “We haven’t had consultation – we’ve had manipulation.” He talks about the consultative committee being a secret. “It’s not a project for the next election.  It’s a project for the next hundred years.” “Why are we being treated like a second class citizen?”

Carried unanimously.  Clapping.

9.5 MV2040 Engagement Program Phase 1 Outcomes

Cr Sipek asks if Council can move 9.5 – 9.7 en bloc. He obviously hasn’t seen the SES folk in the gallery who have been sitting patiently waiting for item 9.7.

But Cr Gauci-Maurici asks to speak on 9.5.  She points out that people responding to the survey pointed to the desire to protect open space – as well as other things.

Cr Byrne speaks about the process being undertaken. And comments on the answers to “what do people love” – and she also points out the residents love open space; as well as appropriate development and limiting subdivisions; and that cycling ranked in the top five in some areas.

Cr Cusack is pleased the Council is doing such a thorough job on MV 2040.

Carried unanimously.

9.6 Proposed Relocation of Axicom Pty Ltd Telecommunications Facility at Walter Street Reserve to Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre, 50 Newsom Street, Ascot Vale

Cr Cusack moves this one. Cr Sipek.

Carried unanimously.

9.7 Victorian State Emergency Service – Lease Renewal

Cr Lawrence moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Sipek.

Cr Byrne speaks briefly about the value of ‘peppercorn rents’ and she commends the SES and the support Council gives the SES as a “valued part of the community”.

Carried unanimously.

Notices of Motion

10.1 Notice Of Motion No. 2017/18 – Wi-Fi in Activity Centres

Cr Lawrence wants free Wi-Fi in Activity Centres. He refers to a 2013 white paper assessing Australia’s take up of free Wi-Fi as slower than other regions including Europe.

Carried unanimously. The patient SES folk depart leaving four of us in the gallery.

10.3 Notice Of Motion No. 2017/20 – Smart City

Cr Cusack says he hasn’t written the motion in Swahili  (why not?!). “There isn’t a template for what a Smart City is.” It’s to do with the “digital-age”, and Moonee Valley catching up!  Cr Cusack talks about setting targets (although I thought he said “setting tarts”). 

Carried unanimously.

Mayor Surace has received some sad news and excuses herself while Cr Nation takes over.

10.4 Notice Of Motion No. 2017/21 – Electric Car Charging

Cr Cusack speaks about the number of electric cars coming on to the market and the need for charging points around the municipality.

For – Crs Lawrence, Gauci-Maurici, Cusack, Nation, Sipek, Sharpe,

Against – Cr Byrne


The Mayor is back and Cr Sharpe leaves due to a conflict.

10.5 Notice Of Motion No. 2017/22 – Footpath Trading

Cr Cusack speaks. Cr Nation runs out. There is a lot of coming and going tonight – but four of us are still sitting here listening…

Cr Nation and Cr Cusack speak about the need for the policy to continue to improve and respond to practical realities are dealt with in achieving the intended goals.

“A tweak is timely”, says Cr Nation. “We want to ensure the policy doesn’t hinder their chances of having a successful business in Moonee Valley.”

Carried unanimously.

Urgent Business Nope

Confidential Reports

So we are all evicted. And that’s all folks.

12.1 Windy Hill – Update

12.2 Councillor Code of Conduct

Close of Meeting


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