Council Meeting Tuesday 12 December

The Agenda can be found here.

The ‘blog’ will be running from home today via the streamed version of the meeting – partly to see how the streaming is working, and partly because of some domestic duties that need attending to while blogging!


The Mayor reads the customary meeting and advises re recordings.

Apologies – one apology from Cr Surace

Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 28 November 2017.

Moved: Cr Lawrence, Cr Byrne

Carried unanimously.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest 

Cr .. .. couldn’t hear.

The CEO has a conflict re Buckley St items.


Cr Byrne has a certificate from the SES re passing audit on municipal safety.

Petitions and Joint Letters – nope

Public Question Time – Three questions

  1. Rose Scott re underground disposal infrastructure for some streets. What systems does Council have in place to assess the capacity of the streets to deal with storm water?  Answer: building permits require new buildings to assess and provide. Not all street have underground systems – and those that do only cater for 1/100 year storms.
  2. Neill Furlong re solar energy systems. How are developments assessed with respect to solar energy? Are panels protected from overshadowing? Answer: Council encourages people to install solar panels, but there are no statewide rules to protect panels. Solar panels on new developments add to the energy efficient assessment. Clause 55 does not describe what unreasonable impact on existing solar panels would be. VCAT decision (1258) defined reasonable as including some overshadowing
  3. Gino Portenzo re LXRA and detailed traffic study report, safety etc so it can make an informed decision? If not, how can MVCC make an informed decision. Answer: Council’s role is not to make decisions about the project, but only decisions about advocacy. The information has not been received. The recommendation in the reports tonight is officers’ recommendation.

Reports by Mayor and Councillors  – not dealt with??

9.8 and 9.9 are moved up the agenda

Cr Marshall excuses herself.

9.8 Buckley Street Level Crossing Removal Project Update

Cr Nation moves an alternative motion including a whole lot of detail that I can’t capture from the live streaming and which I would normally read from the screen, except I am not there … (Maybe council can find a way to make this available for those watching from home!!).

Cr Lawrence seconds.

It appears that the Crs don’t have a copy either and it is not on the screen – so the meeting is adjourned for five minutes.

And now we have lost streaming vision. I am somewhat regretting my decision to try this from home. 

6:47 We are still without vision at home. 6:48 we are on ….

 Cr Nation speaks to the motion – he says he will say more for item 9.9 which details “where to from here”. Cr Nation says that officers now say legal action would not be appropriate as traffic problems have now been largely addressed, and community benefits have been included in the project: “in moving and noting this report, I do disagree with that particular aspect of the report,” says Cr Nation.

Cr Nation says he categorically disagrees that the work has been done to bring the road under “to optimal design” (not clear exactly why he has moved the motion with all of these disagreements…).

Cr Nation says there “is such a lack of information and so many issues that need to be addressed”, Council needs to continue to make a statement that Council is not just “rolling over” and that we need either rail under, or crossing staying as it is. Cr Nation says he will say more in 9.9.

Cr Lawrence says 9.9 is “the main game”. He supports the changes made to tighten up the motion, and says the motion reiterates Council’s position under a new Mayor.

Cr Cusack says he is not fussed by the amendments, except that a fair few answers are residing in Appendix A. He says there is not much to be gained by writing to the head of LXRA as a response is unlikely at this time of year. He says the questions are reasonable, but don’t add a lot to the motion. He says it is “a level of grandstanding that doesn’t take us anywhere” and that the advocacy in outlined in the Appendix.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says she will make more comments re 9.9. She says the signals are not funded, and that bus stops are not funded, and that the impacts will remain and be felt by people into the future across Essendon.

Cr Nation closes – sometimes you need to write to people because they won’t engage in communication. It may seem ‘tokenistic’ to pen a letter, sometimes you have to. He says the motion asks for traffic impact report and final report that the community “is crying out for” and what will happen  to the car park site. “There are a lot of unknowns.” “It is important for us as a Council continue to ask questions.” There we can support our community.

For: Crs Sharpe, Nation, Sipek, Byrne, Gauci-Maurici, Lawrence

Agst: Cr Cusack

9.9 Addendum Report – Buckley Street Level Crossing Update – Additional Detail Requested

Cr Lawrence moves an alternative motion, the gist of which is to ask the State Government to halt the project via various strategies and actions, and have monthly reports to Council, and a special council meeting to consider what legal action can be taken.

Cr Lawrence says there are issues that need to be addressed. “There is more to be done.”

Cr Nation has seconded. He says that it is important that the community knows where we stand. He says it is not the right time to give up. he says the government is struggling to get a design that works, there is a pending election and potentially a change in government. With all these unknowns, Council should keep fighting, he says. He is concerned about the plan to switch off planning controls, and disability access. He says Council won’t be putting up the white flag. “To think a signal at Shamrock and Grice will solve the problems is ludicrous.”

“This is a flawed proposal.” “This motion hopefully gives our residents and the State Government. We need to point out flaws.”

Cr G-M says she has received dozens and dozens of emails against the road under, and only a few email in support. She says she is concerned about the impacts on residents and pedestrians. She says there is still no information about the actual design. She says the LXRA have put the “con” in “consultation”. And then we lost sound for a bit.

She says the three crossings in close proximity mean that the design should consider all of the three crossings together. “I encourage the government to hit the pause button…. and until they have communicated this to our community through genuine consultation.” Claps.

Cr Sharpe supports the “alternative recommendation” (motion, actually). She congratulates the letter droppers in the community. She has received hundreds of emails in the last few days. She says it is clear it is not going away.

Cr Byrne says she is torn. She says all three stations should be under road (Essendon, Park St, Puckle St). But that it is a State Government project. “I don’t want to miss the boat.” “I’m taking all the political who-ha out of it. The community will miss out if we don’t work with the government.” “If it is going to be road under rail, we need to work with them.”

Cr Cusack says he doesn’t support the motion. He says the notion of deferral until everything is right is “alarming … you might be arguing tiny points forever”. “We need to be working consistently and constructively with the LXRA.” “it is Council’s job to advocate. This is a state government project.” it would have been better if it had considered all of the elements, but it doesn’t have another Port of Melbourne to sell off. “Where do you find that kind of money?”

Cr Cusack says the complication with the car park as it is VicTrack land. He says there is no hope of seeing a comprehensive and coordinated plan. It never happens. Council’s priority is our residents and how traffic travels through our neighbourhoods. “The sky is not going to fall in if it goes road under.” He flags an alternative motion if Cr Lawrence’s motion fails. “It will drag on forever.” “All the traffic issues are upstream ones.” “We need an integrated and strong traffic policy.”

Cr Nation asks whether the Appendix A is publicly available. A Council officer says a redacted advocacy plan has been made available.

Cr Byrne asks whether there can be a change to the motion. Cr Nation and Cr Lawrence say no.

Cr Lawrence closes. He says residents are not being listened to. He says he has received hundreds of messages. They are all saying “Why won’t Danny Pearson listen to us and why won’t Bill Shorten say something?”

“Deferring the project is a better solutions because it gives us time to look at better options.” He says there is an imbalance in the funding available to the Eastern and Western suburbs. He says transparency has not been part of this government’s consultation process. “This decision is not for our future.” He refers to the school children, PT load in the area.

For: Crs Sharpe, Nation, Sipek, Gauci-Maurici, Lawrence

Agst: Crs Byrne, Cusack


9.1 3 Sussex Street, Moonee Ponds (Lot 1 on Title Plan 256351) – Construction of two double storey dwellings

Cr Cusack moves the motion with some amendments – but again I’m not quite sure what they are which is clearly a benefit of being in the chamber.

Cr Cusack says this is not an overdevelopment.

Cr Marshall seconds the motion. She says there was understandably a lot of concern around the proposal. She says it is fair to say that she would not have supported the original plans, but the amended plans are better.

Cr Cusack and Marshall raise storm water issue. But she says the conditions and the plan can’t make the stormwater management issue worse. She says the setback has been conditioned; and privacy screens; and landscaping. She says the rest of it meets the ResCode requirements.

Cr Marshall asks for another extension of time, to discuss access. She says on balance this is an application that should be supported.

Carried unanimously.

9.2 24 Dover Street, Flemington (Lot 1 on TP693901C) –

Partial demolition of the existing dwelling, buildings and works including the construction of a first floor, front fence and external painting to a dwelling in a Heritage Overlay and on a lot under 300sqm

Cr Marshall moves the officers’ recommendation. She says it is essentially a renovation of an existing property, on a small block. She said emotions were running high at the consultation meeting and the applicant submitted new plans, including changes in the front fence and materials. She says VCAT would be likely to pass a plan like this and that it is better to negotiate for a few better features than to “take the VCAT gamble” (which really shouldn’t be a gamble!!).

Cr Cusack says it is challenging to take heritage stock and renovate it for 2018. He says this development gets this balance right. He says the renovation shows a high degree of sensitivity.

Cr Nation speaks in favour saying that the advice given by heritage advisors is for  renovations in Flemington heritage areas to not replicate, but to contrast the old and the new. He says it is important to allow people to renovate buildings so that the older heritage buildings are retained rather than demolished.

Cr Byrne says she does not support the application given the excessive site coverage. She says if people want to live in a bigger house… she couldn’t support something that had such impacts on neighbours.

Cr Nation asks whether the site coverage for the application is 62%, whereas it should be 60%? And this is confirmed.

Cr Marshall closes saying “we rarely get everything right for everyone”.

For: All except Cr Byrne

Agst: Cr Byrne

9.3 Capital Works Update

Cr Nation moves the motion. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Nation talks about the schools shared facilities fund of around $4.2M to allow recreational spaces through shared use of schools. Council’s funding proposals were not successful, so money has been reallocated to other projects including Queens park change rooms and the Cross Keyes redevelopment.

He talks about some saving, projects being completed and things running under, not over budget. He says this is one of the main reasons for getting a Chief Financial Officer at Council.

Cr Cusack says there are a number of projects that have been moved forward and some new funding has been acquired.

Cr Marshall and Cr Byrne talk about putting money into women’s sport.

Cr Nation says he likes seeing the words “delivered early”.

Carried unanimously.

9.4 Biannual Grants Process

Cr Cusack moves the motion. Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds.

Cr Cusack says there have been changes in the grants process. And that the process has been evolving – with this motion making further changes.

Cr Cusack says there are also other ways Council can assist groups and he encourages groups to think about ways Council can help them other than through cash grants.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says an additional $8.5K has been included in the grant money as a result of Councillors not taking an increase in their remuneration.

Cr Marshall says that it is unnecessary to… ??? I missed it I’m sorry. She says there have been some changes to insurance requirements. She is happy about the reintroduction of the social support stream for funding.

Cr Byrne agrees.

Cr Nation says there has been an evolution and … says something else which I missed.

Cr Cusack says the return to the community is $1:4-5 through improvements to community. he says sometimes the acquittal is difficult for some groups.

Carried unanimously.

9.5 Response to NoM 2017/18 – Wi-Fi in Activity Centres

Cr Lawrence/Cr Gauci-Maurici.

Cr Gauci-Maurici reminds people there is one more week to respond to MV2040.

Cr Marshall says it’s important to support shopping strips, but she has some concerns (security? downloads?) about whether there will be a real impact on expenditure in the shopping precinct. She said Yarra pulled the pin as the initiative did not serve a purpose of business activation. Although Cr Marshall says she may be the wrong demographic.

Cr Nation says he hopes business owners will be able to harness the data to communicate with the shoppers (I think he meant after they had logged in… so is this about giving up email addresses and other data to the businesses??? Who owns the privacy risk here?? Or have I misunderstood???).

Cr Cusack talks about ‘Smart Cities’.

Cr Lawrence also talks about ‘Smart Cities’. Don’t they watch Utopia?!!! He refers to a University of Melbourne study. Meanwhile I am having trouble listening to this at home with an IT expert in the background having conniptions about the misuse of terms and misunderstandings about security, privacy … and how everyone carries a smart phone with existing data ….

Carried unanimously.

9.6 Update to NoM 2016/11 – Plastic Bags and related waste at events on Council owned or managed land

Cr Byrne is in the Chair.

Cr Marshall moves and Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says there is a discussion about banning lightweight plastic bags in Victoria. And that major supermarkets are also seeking to phase out bags. She also looks forward to soft plastics being included in recyclable materials. She also mentions a number of waste reduction programs going on including ‘Bubbles not Balloons’ and “Watch your waste’ – and she is encouraged by the awareness kids have regarding the reduction of waste.

Cr Cusack says something too … but I was distracted by wrapping Xmas presents (in recycled paper … WHICH IS VERY VERY HARD TO FIND! Could Moonee Valley commit to selling only recycled Xmas paper??!!).

Cr Nation calls for internal reflection – including the fact there are some balloons in Chambers while Council is supporting bubbles not balloons … and singly wrapped mints on the table (OMG … I recall saying EXACTLY the same thing 9 years ago!!!).

Cr Sipek (not from the Chair) says the balloons are reusable!

Cr Marshall says she supports bubbles in the chamber.

Carried unanimously.

9.7 Update on Notice of Motion No. 2017/25 – Reinstatement of Roads

Cr Marshall moves the officers’ recommendation with a point about the CEO providing a report about damage during developments.

Cr Sharpe says this issue is a massive issue for her. She refers to a point in the background paper the opportunity to recoup the costs of roads where damage can be attributed the a particular development. We are being inundated with development, she says, and roads are generally the responsibility of Council (except for major roads looked after by VicRoads). She says the report focuses on service authorities, but we need to actively address repairs by developers. She says the ‘bond’ system that used to be in place (when did that go???) used to ensure damage was not a result of private developers. She is concerned that we don’t have the correct mechanisms to deal with damage to roads from developers. She says the roads in Maribyrnong are noticeably better than roads in Moonee valley at the moment.

Carried unanimously.

9.10 Mobile Food Vehicles – Policy

Cr Cusack moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds.

The report is going out for exhibition and for comments.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says there should be more food vans for events in parks during warmer months. She is looking froward to community feedback.

Carried unanimously.

9.11 Establishment of a Land Acquisition Committee

Cr Marshall says there has been significant money accumulated through the Open Space development fund from developers’ contributions.

She says that when looking at purchasing property there is a deftness is required to respond quickly to opportunities. There are checks and balances to

She says she has a number of regrets about not purchasing sites – including across the road – and that a committee would be able to do this.

Cr Byrne is excited by the prospect of Council being in a position to buy more open space. The land is not being compulsorily acquired – but when suitable land comes onto the market.

Carried unanimously.

9.12 IT Transformation ERP Platform

Cr Gauci-Maurici says there is a need to update MVCC systems – including data management across all teams in Council.

Cr Cusack and Cr Marshall also speak.

Carried unanimously.

9.13 Report on Assemblies of Council

9.14 Ministerial Correspondence relating from Notices of Motion – Quarterly Report

Cr Nation asks for 9.13, 9.14 and Reports of Crs to be moved en bloc. Cr Sharpe seconds.

Carried unanimously.

Notices of Motion

Notice Of Motion No. 2017/27 – Interim Heritage Control on 148 Ascot Vale Road, Flemington

Cr Marshall moves a motion.

Cr Marshall talks about the history of the home – as told to her from someone who formally owned the home – with a balcony that was used to call the races at the track that was adjacent to the Flemington race track. John Wren frequently visited the home. When the home was sold it was largely in tact. Cr Marshall talks about the colourful history of the area, and the importance of the stories attached to different homes. She wants to be able to do everything she can to stop the property from being demolished.

Cr Cusack says the racecourse has been lost now. He wonders whether the fact the house is now opposite public housing is the reason it has not been given heritage protection. He says the temptation for developers is high at the moment.

Cr Marshall says Council needs to use what tools it has to protect homes filled with history.

Carried unanimously.

Urgent Business Nope.

Confidential Reports

Cr Sharpe interjects with an indirect conflict for 12.1

Cr Nation/Marshall move/second.

Merry Christmas. And good night!

Tender Evaluation for Parking Monitoring and Infringement Management System

28-30 Young Street, Moonee Ponds (Lot 1 on TP321545C and Lot 1 on TP423800U) – Buildings and works to construct two additional levels and reduction in parking associated with an office

Close of Meeting




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