Council Meeting 8 August


Image: Rose Iser

Can you see anything wrong with this picture? It’s either a slalom course, or it’s missing the 0.5m clearance for the humble cyclist trying to get home to Flemington Hill from Debneys Park. Sometimes it’s the small things….

Tonight there is a meeting at MVCC to consider Kindergartens in Moonee Ponds, lane closures, and live streaming of Council meetings – although nothing re slalom courses. Strathaird Reserve will be a topic under discussion during question time.


On another matter, readers may be aware that a candidate in Myrnong Ward election, Mr Benjamin Smits, was challenged (by me) last October. I alleged he was ineligible to stand as a candidate given that his enrolment address had not been his principal place of residence for the required time prior to the election (i.e. he was living elsewhere – and, by the way, was travelling in Portugal). A declaration that he was ineligible was handed down in March by the Magistrates’ Court.

The VEC challenged this decision and there was a hearing at VCAT in June.

A decision was handed down yesterday:

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 12.13.18 pm

Image: Rose Iser

You can find the decision here.  The VEC has 28 days to seek leave to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.

Tonight’s meeting – live streaming or not, ‘the blog’ will be there.

And here we are. Crs are heading in – a couple of absences it seems.


The Mayor conveys condolences for the passing of community member Kay Feain.

Welcome, including the acknowledgement of the Traditional Custodians of this land and the recital of the Councillor Creed

Apologies: Cr Nation is an apology. Cr Gauci Maurici is also an apology.

Cr Sipek requests leave of absence from 29 August to 15 Sept. Carried.

Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Carried unanimously.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest  None tonight

Presentations Nope

Petitions and Joint Letters

Cr Byrne has a petition from 34 residents from (Riverview Ave?) in Avondale Heights.

Public Question Time

One question from Ian Woods – re Strathaird Reserve.

CEO advises that a letter was sent to MAV requesting update on outcome of MAV advocacy.  Also wrote to State Government but yet to receive a response. No response received as yet.

(I am slightly distracted b/c other residents from Strathmore had asked questions that have apparently not been received by Council. Some concern about this. A resident is told by the governance officer that her questions have been ‘lost’ in the system. She soon leaves – not very impressed that sending in a question and turning up at Council to hear the answer has not been a productive use of her time – and has not produced any answers.)

Reports by Mayor and Councillors

9.1 Kindergartens in Moonee Ponds Update

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Sharpe seconds.  The motion is for noting.

Cr Marshall says this is about being ahead of the game – so that the next Council does not find itself unprepared.  She says it is also an issue of equity – that parents and children in Moonee Ponds do not have a Council run kindergarten – and have to travel far to find a Council kindergarten. She says all families should be able to access Council kindergartens.

Carried unanimously.

9.2 Ministerial Correspondence Resulting from Notices of Motion – Quarterly Report

Cr Sharpe moves, and Cr Lawrence moves officers’ recommendation.

No one speaks. Cr Sharpe says it is procedural. Carried unanimously.

9.3 Proposed Discontinuance of Road Abutting 11 South Road, Airport West

Cr Sipek. Cr Byrne seconds.

“Procedural,” says Cr Sipek.

Cr Byrne says the land is already being used as lawn.  Carried unanimously.

9.4 Proposed Discontinuance of Road abutting 18 Bayview Terrace, Ascot Vale

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says this is a small parcel of land.  Carried unanimously.

9.5 Endorsement of Interstate Travel for Council Representative for the LeadWest Delegation

Cr Cusack moves officers’ recommendation. Seconded Cr Lawrence.

Cr Marshall says she has previously been scathing of interstate travel but the Leadwest is strategic and Council will get value out of councillors travelling to Canberra to attend meetings.

Carried unanimously.

This meeting is proceeding rapidly without much being said about matters.

9.6 Proposed introduction of live streaming at Council Meetings

Cr Marshall moves with an addition of point 3 – that officers look into making the audio equipment available for hire by community groups.

Cr Marshall says that people like to sit in the comfort of their homes and still be able to see and hear what is going on at Council. Cr Marshall wants Council to improve its transparency, and also look into how meetings can become more participatory – with input from people in the gallery. “We’ve got the equipment here.  Let’s uses it as much as possible.” “This is a promising step forward … and is a good thing for democracy.”

Cr Sipek says most council’s are transparent.  He says this might make it possible for Crs to “skype in” when they are overseas – or live-stream from overseas to see what colleagues are up to.  He also claims that it may also be a “tax break” because now we have to wear make up. Apparently Cr Sipek’s accountant had advised him that being live-streamed  might provide an opportunity for him to claim his make-up.

Cr Byrne thanks staff for moving quickly on the issue. She says the streaming will need to be of decent quality.

Cr Cusack says “we can have a lot of fun with this” referring to the way people could be engaged in Council meetings.

Carried unanimously.

10.1 Notice Of Motion No. 2017/23 – Skateboard Park at Fanny Street Reserve

Cr Cusack moves. Cr Marshall seconds.

Cr Cusack says this came out of discussions with local young people. The Skatepark policy is apparently ten years old. Cr Cusack is asking for a report to look into developing a small skatepark at Fanny Reserve, and a destination on the bike path.  He says it is an initiative of young people in the community who are trying to use the democratic process.

Cr Marshall speaks about the importance of keeping kids active.

Cr Byrne talks about the Rosehill skatepark and the use of the park by young people.

The residents from Strathmore behind me wonder if they need to have a skatepark or dog park on the Strathaird Reserve ….

Carried unanimously.

Urgent Business Nope

Confidential Reports And that’s the end of our time here.

12.1 Road & Asphalt Footpath Maintenance Contract

Close of Meeting

Following the meeting, the Strathmore residents expressed their unhappiness that their questions, sent in to Council via email as required by 12pm today, were not answered. The CEO offered to email answers to the residents tomorrow – and to make sure the answers were incorporated into the minutes of the next Council meeting. The system sounds like it didn’t work they way it is supposed to – and residents in Strathmore are the ones who have lost out.

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