The first MVCC meeting of the year is kicking off with the Buckley St Level Crossing issue at 6:30pm tonight. Given the officers’ report recommends no legal action, and residents are outraged at the road-under-rail option, it should be a fiery meeting. (Picture: Donna Marco-Newlan, Facebook).
A full house at Council tonight. Extra chairs put out and all filled. presumably most are here for the first item on the agenda – although it is a long meeting with a backlog of planning issues to be decided.
The Mayor opens the meeting with the usual spiel – including the announcement re streaming of meetings.
Tribute is passed to a former Mayor of Essendon Alan A (?).
2 Apologies – NIL
3 Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Moved: Cr Nation/Cusack – Carried
A gallery member yells out that “we can’t hear you.”
4 Declarations of Conflict of Interest
Cr Surace item 9.2 indirect conflcit
Cr Nation item 9.2 indirect conflict receipt of gift per the LGA – attended race evening asked whether it would create COI re planning decisions; was advised that reasonable hospitality in capacity as a Cr did not give rise to COI under s78C; further reinforced last year; now advice has changed and COI may be applicable
Cr Sharpe 9.2 indirect conflict and 9.13 direct due to workplace
Cr Byrne 9.2 applicable gift; 9.9 workplace
Cr Cusack 9.2 attended Race Day stakes
CEO – Bryan Lancaster – 9.1 – owns a property
Cr Sipek item 9.2
Cr Marshall – won’t be participating in 9.1 for reasons previously mentioned
Looks like item 9.2 won’t have quorum.
Carols in Queens Park – Make a Wish Foundation
6 Petitions and Joint Letters
7 Public Question Time
Question from a gentleman in Ascot Vale: how can Council decide in favour of planning permits where heights are not consistent with planning scheme?
Answer: Very few things in planning that are black and white. Crs are required to decide on all planning application and balance views – including net community benefit. As responsible authority, must have regard to whether the proposal will produce acceptable outcomes. A proposal may not meet the expected height, but it may meet other objectives. Exceeding preferred building heights may not be fatal to an application. Each application is assessed on merits.
8 Reports by Mayor and Councillors – Nil
9.1 Buckley Street – Level Crossing Removal Update
The CEO and Cr Marshall depart.
Two Crs compete to move a motion – Cr Byrne wants to move the officers’ recommendation; Cr Gauci-Maurici wants to move an alternative motion.
Cr Byrne and Cr Cusak move the officers’ reccomendation.
Cr Byrne says she has supported actions to get the best outcomes for the community. She says the officers’ recommendation will get the best outcome for the community.
Cr Lawrence coughs hard.
Cr Byrne says being at the table will influence the outcome. She says the project will go ahead. She says that even if successful in Court would not necessary lead to rail under road. An unsuccessful declaration would cost council hundreds of thousands of dollars – potentially millions.
Cr Cusack says the motion has four parts. The first part recognises need to get to the table again to reignite discussions. The Council has been seriously hamstrung by a spectre of taking legal action. Whether we think that is childish or ridiculous or whatever it is what the fact is. Our capacity to work effectively has been stymied.
The second part of the motion recognised that the landscape has changed. There will never be a rail under road resolution. It is just not only we have to take on board what that will mean for legal action – including costs. Our capacity to negotiate to stop through legal action is now shot to pieces. The capacity is highly questionable. Should a negative outcome occur we would be open to significant costs.
The third part is about stakeholder communication. “We have to be able to go and have that consultation with all of the stakeholders.” Getting down to serious consultation gives us the opportunity to put Qs community has to the govt. The issues are about safety – some are red herrings. Some constraints are for short term and some for long term. This motion is about getting a decent plan B in place.
We have been limited by lack of knowledge. If we are at the table, we will be able to speak much more frankly on our website and provide updates through Council.
This decision has implications for people further afield. The requirement to knock down houses would have had greater implications.
We need to be able to talk seriously with government. It has implications for our access to govt and capacity to raise funds outside rates.
Cr Nation says he categorically disagrees. He says he is in favour of Council pursuing legal action. The crowd cheers. He says the government has treated the community with disrespect and disdain. The project has been rolled out without any sincere consultation. Council has not even been afforded the courtesy of being advised – ie the move to declare the project under the MTPFA without telling Council at the time was a demonstration of this. Declarations of this type are for significant projects such as EWL. The declaration removes some forms of consultation. The govt failed to inform Council. Council only discovered the declaration themselves.
Similarly, Council was only notified on 18 Jan that the Minister had approved the Amendment in late December.
Cr Nation says he cannot close the door on legal action. He says Council has not yet received a response to Council’s request for documents – “that residents deserve to see”. Council can consider taking legal action wrt the documents that have not been handed over and that action would not lead to the highest costs of legal action.
Cr Nation says he represents residents in a number of streets in the area which are in the Myrnong Ward. He says he will do his diligent best to get the best outcome for Moonee Valley.
Cr Gauci-Maurici foreshadows an alternative motion should this motion be lost. She says there has been no response to a letter from MVCC on 20 January. She says the process adopted did not allow for all options to be considered by residents and Council. She says it is understandable, given the lack of detail, and conflicting detail, that Council and community members hold concerns about the safety of school children, cyclists, buses and residents wanting to make particular traffic movements. And plans for the car parks are unknown.
She refers to the ‘Reasons for Decision’ wrt to the Minister’s decision that outlines many of the concerns and the indication that these have been addressed by the LXRA. She says the project does not meet the LXRA’s own framework. Discovery was necessary for Council to obtain all of the necessary information.
Cr Surace says the process has been flawed from the start. She says it has been a predetermined option based on cost. She says the govt doesn’t care what happens to the future of the area. She criticised the decision to declare it a Major Project. She also says Council “had no hesitation” taking legal action on EWL and Flemington Hill and the Moonee Valley Racecourse. How can three lanes provided better access and safety for the community over four legs. “you may’s well have cut off the arms and legs of the community when you cut off those trees.” The govt have taken all planning authority from the Council and declared this a major project based on what?
Cr Lawrence speaks. He asks why the community is not allowed to know who is on Danny Pearson’s “secret community”? Why is the project being forced on to MV residents. If this is the way the govt treats the residents, then the state has a major problem. (A resident murmurs “Stalin”). They tried to silence me. “But I will not be silenced by this treachery.” What we get is a local member who looks after his Labor party interests before the interest of the community he is meant to represent. Where are the engineering reports? The modelling for school access?
He says the issue has been one of secrecy. He refers to the amounts Council has spent fighting other proposals – between $700-800K for each of the EWL,
Cr Sharpe says MVCC has been briefed by legal counsel. She says it was clear that the govt was going to build road under rail. She says that right now, Council can’t stop this project being built (but Council can take the matter to the Supreme Crt – if they file by Thursday!!). I am not going to endorse Council spending more funds.
The Mayor asks the gallery to be quiet.
She says residents should not be mislead that it can be stopped.
The gallery is very vocal – and not happy.
Cr Byrne says we have to work with the government. She wants to be able to tell her children that she did as much as she could
For: Bryne, Cusack, Sharpe, Sipek
Agst: Surace, Nation, Lawrence, Gauci-Maurici
Passed on the casting vote of the Mayor.
The gallery is extremely unhappy, yelling at the Council. “You’ve got no balls.” “State the facts.” You’ll spend money on the racecourse but not transport.”
“Sack the Mayor.” “Disgusted.”
“Keep smiling Cusack.” “Where was Nicole Marshall?” “Boo Nicole.” “Labor’s not going to win again.” “Change your vote Narelle.”
“Labor party legal opinion.” “I cannot begin to articulate how wrong this is on so many levels”.
Councillors leaves and the meeting is adjourned.
The Councillors have now returned but the crowd is heckling so much that the Council cannot continue.
“Shame Mayor.” “You’re gone.” “Resign.” “What’s your reason.”
The meeting is adjourned again.
“Vacate the chair.” “You’re a disgrace” “So are you Narelle.” “Look in the mirror.” “Disgusting, Dishonest. Going to wreck Moonee Valley for generations. Bring Andrea back get out and stay out.”
The Mayor says he will adjourn the meeting to a later date.
Most gallery members keep chatting with each other. There is bewilderment and disappointment.
Officers start to pack up the meeting.
9.2 2B McPherson Street, Moonee Ponds – Partial demolition, buildings and works, display of business identification signage and removal of vegetation within a Heritage Overlay (HO379) associated with a childcare centre
9.3 74 Pascoe Vale Road Moonee Ponds
9.4 14 Cheffers Street, Moonee Ponds – Construction of two dwellings
9.5 421 – 431Mt Alexander Road, Ascot Vale – Construction of a multi storey mixed use building, use as accommodation, reduction in car parking requirements, waiver of loading requirements and alterations to access to a Road Zone, Category 1 road in the Design and Development Overlay Schedule 3
9.6 Planning Scheme Amendment C182 Update – Heritage Overlay 62, 64, 66 and 68 Buckley Street, Essendon
9.7 Planning Scheme Amendment C186 Update – Heritage Overlay 5 Alma Street, Aberfeldie
9.8 Proposed Activities & General Amenities Local Law 2018 – Update
9.9 Community Facility Management Policy Update
9.10 Council Plan 2017-21 progress report for July-December 2017
9.11 Niddrie Business Precinct Special rate and Charge Declaration
9.12 Flemington Business Precinct Special Rate and Charge Declaration
9.13 Union Road Business Precinct Special Rate and Charge Declaration
10 Notices of Motion
10.1 Notice of Motion No. 2018/01 – Transparency Measures
10.2 Notice of Motion No. 2018/02 – Establishment of Working Group with City of Melbourne
10.3 Notice of Motion No. 2018/03 – Request for reintroduction of the Moonee Valley City Council Waste Calendar
11 Urgent Business
12 Confidential Reports
12.1 Highball Strategic Directions
13 Close of Meeting