Council Meeting Tuesday 8 May

Racecourse Rd North

Image: Rose Iser


Council approved a building at 95 Buckley St Moonee Ponds with a reduction from five to four storeys (Surace, Lawrence agst).

Council deferred consideration of new planning protocols which would remove the requirement to hold consultation meetings in certain circumstances, and not count objections over 500m from the subject site,  multiple objections from the same household, or objections not on planning grounds. The matter will be considered again once Council has surveyed attendees of consultation meetings. (Lawrence agst).

Council will seek interim heritage protection for 148 Ascot Vale Rd after a favourable heritage report – but councillors queried why the house had been missed in previous heritage studies. (Surace abst).

Council unanimously approved the public screening of Australia’s first game for the FIFA World Cup on Sat 16 June at 8pm at Centreway shopping precinct at a cost of $17.7K, and up to $17.7K for events on 21 June and the Quarter Final dependent on the success of the first event.

Council approved changes to the LATM process removing the existence of ‘study groups’ which have allowed for discussions on important traffic issues, but have been deemed inefficient. (Sharpe agst).

Council approved the attendance of three councillors at the annual ALGA conference in Canberra at a cost of $3000. (Marshall, Byrne, G-M agst).

Council is asking for discussion with VicRoads about safety on the English Street bridge and traffic sequences at Bulla Rd.

The Financial Performance Report, Council Plan, MAV positions, Report on Notices of Motions and Progress report on PACs were carried unanimously.


Cr Byrne opens the meeting in the Mayor’s absence.


Mayor is away. He may arrive later on. No other apologies.

Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 24 April 2018

No opposition – minutes confirmed.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest

Cr G-M has an indirect COI re 12.1 re residential amenity of family members

Presentations Nope

Petitions and Joint Letters 

Cr Marshall presents a petition from Robert McDonald re traffic changes into … Wilson St?

Public Question Time

Questions from me  🙂

Which of the actions listed in the MVCC Community Facilities Plan 2011 have not bee completed as of May 2018? Which of these incomplete actions from Q.1 have not been included in the Draft MV2040 Action Plan – Community facilities?

Answer: Actions identified in plan are either complete or underway except for one toilet block which will be picked up under small infrastructure program.

I also not with gratitude that I have been provided with a three page A3 document listing all of the items in the 2011 Plan and their status. I assume this is a public document but will confirm. More on this later …

Reports by Mayor and Councillors – Nil


9.1 95 Buckley Street, Moonee Ponds (Lot 1 on TP371488E) – Construction of a multi-level building, use as a food and drink premises, reduction in car parking requirements, and alteration to access to a Road Zone, Category 1

Following the meeting, I was alerted to this write up of the property by the Essendon Historical Society noting that the home was built in the late 1800s and was used as a hospital during the first half of the 20th century. 

Deputy calls for a motion twice.

Cr Nation moves the officer’s recommendation. And then apologies to read an alternative motion with additions:

  • new condition 24 re church bells
  • new condition 1(u) requiring deletion of fifth level
  • commemoration plaque re St Helen’s private hospital previously having existed on the site

Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Nation speaks. He says the proposal was a five storey development. He says there are sensitive interfaces – particularly to church next door. The church had objected, but have mediated agreement re the removal of the fifth level. Setbacks have also been conditioned to conform with standards.

Cr Cusack said the recommendation did pick up on some of the issues and inconsistencies with the Structure Plan. A s.173 agreement resolves some other issues with the church. The change to four levels is consistent with the structure plan.

Cr G-M speaks about the history of the site as a hospital.

Cr Marshall speaks about the importance of removing the fifth storey. She speaks about the properties nearby, and the commemoration plaque, and the potential usefulness of a depository (corrected to repository) of images of historic buildings demolished.

Cr Surace is concerned about the traffic an vehicular access. She refers to access being left in and left out – they will then need to travel around the new Buckley St treatment. She asks for clarification regarding whether cars would be able to make a right hand turn.

The planner’s microphone is not working – so it is hard to hear the response, but I think she confirms that 64 car spaces will only be accessed left in and left out.

Cr Surace says she cannot support the item for this reason.

Cr Lawrence agrees the transportation is an issue for people heading west – the trench will prevent them from heading west. He hopes people purchasing the properties area aware of the access difficulties.

He refers to the recently approved developments in Russell St – compounding transport issues.

Cr Nation closes addressing condition 1(u) will also impact 1(c) which references the fifth levels – and checks this doesn’t need a formal amendment. He says Council often complains when applicants don’t provide the amount of car parking required. He says there is criticism when the full quota of parking is supplied – and when it is not supplied.

He says it will be impossible to do a right hand turn in and out because of the new turning lane that will be in place with the road under rail.

The Deputy Mayor checks the seconder is OK with the small change.

FOR: Sharpe, Nation, Marshall, G-M, Byrne, Cusack

AGST: Surace, Lawrence

9.2 Financial Performance Report March 2018

Cr Nation moves. Cr Marshall seconds.

Cr Nation says it is a straight forward report detailing variations in Council’s figures – this time $3.2M favourable due to increase in planning fees and rate revaluations.

Some unfavourables re Hopetoun (?) and funds re Overland, EKLC, Ormond Park will be carried over.

Also the Cr expenses will be brought up to date online and Cr Nation hopes they are not buried in the future.

Cr Marshall says the report shows MVCC is in a strong position. “I’d encourage people to actually read these – they tell a story.”

Cr Marshall says the Cr Expenses are done on a quarterly basis – and that the report should note this.

Cr Marshall says the Grant applications show the successes of Council’s advocacy (although Council’s advocacy was called into question at a recent meeting).

Cr Lawrence says contributions are down $1.5M (?). He says he is worried about annual forecasting – “this is a dangerous practice … what happens in the past is no reflection of what might happen in the future”.

Cr Cusack says it shows Council is travelling well – to the extent that larger capital works projects can be taken into the future (but isn’t that b/c three major projects are being carried over???).

Carried unanimously.

9.3 Reviewing Statutory Planning Protocols

Cr Marshall moves the motion that this report be deferred, and that previous attendees of consultation meetings be surveyed before changes are made to consultation meetings.

Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says Council is considering changes to consultation meetings without asking the attendees of planning consultation meetings.

Cr Marshall says there are other issues she is also concerned about.

Cr Cusack says the proposal needs to be deferred for further consideration – and consideration for how people can be involved in planning in their neighbourhood. “Many of our community have devoted many hours of time to planning issues.” He says MVCC has been good at honouring the role of community, and that he would be concerned if changes tipped the balance.

Cr Cusack says the trigger was previously lifted from five to ten objections, and that while efficiency in decision making is important, he also says it is important to consult with community.

Cr Cusack says previous attendees of consultation meetings should be surveyed – possibly by ‘Survey Monkey’.

Cr Lawrence asks how many people would be surveyed.

The acting CEO asks if the motion can read ‘a representative sample’.

Cr Marshall says she’s happy to leave it to the officers to provide a report with a representative sample of those who have attended consultation meetings.

FOR: all except Cr Lawrence

AGST: Cr Lawrence

9.4 Council Plan 2017-21 progress report for January-March 2018

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says the report indicates Council is tracking well. As of 31 March, 81% of actions are on track – and there are explanations for actions not ‘on track’.

Draft developer contribution plan has been completed. It needs to go through planning amendment processes.

Stage 2 works for Union Rd streetscape plans undertaken.

Solar systems have been installed across the municipality. Lots of plantings taking place with the assistance of ‘Friends of…’ groups.

“We are delivering”, she says.

Cr Cusack says MVCC is “now juggling a huge number of projects”. “The reality is all projects are bing looked at over a period of time … we have to think about the long haul for all of these projects. We are spending more money on getting things done in the municipality than we have ever done before.”

Cr Nation notes the Walk with Wurundjeri initiative, and that this is feeding into MV2040; the aged mobile clinics; and the community funding program review.

No one else speaks.

Carried unanimously.

9.5 Progress Report on Portfolio Advisory Committees 8 May 2018

Cr Surace moves. Cr Lawrence seconds.

Cr Surace reports on her Transport PAC including plantings at Travancore Park as an example of works being undertaken, as well as the Essendon Fields Shuttle Bus.

Cr Lawrence says the PACs have some good and bad aspects and that some PACs have lost their momentum. He says the Business Promotions has been a good ‘pac’

I am on the Leisure and Active Communities PAC and have only been able to attend one meeting – and have not been that clear when other meetings are being held. Maybe this PAC is one that needs some rebooting. Or maybe it’s me.

Cr G-M says Future Communities PAC is a really active group of 10 members.

Cr Surace notes that some PACS don’t have terms of reference. She also notes the suggestions that have come from the PACs for MV2040.

Carried unanimously.

9.6 Response to NOM 2017/27 – Interim and Permanent Heritage Controls -148 Ascot Vale Road, Flemington

Cr Marshall moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says the report is a fabulous read about the physical heritage integrity of the building, but it also goes through the history of the property with photos provided by the families.

The report concludes the building is worthy of heritage controls. The request will be to the Minister for Interim controls while permanent controls are sought. Differences of opinions will be dealt with by a panel through an Amendment process.

Cr Sharpe is supportive of the motion and echoes concerns made by Cr Cusack regarding how the property may have been missed in previous heritage studies. She asks community residents to let Council know if properties have been missed in heritage studies.

Cr Surace has a question regarding the costings of the process.

Cr Marshall says the community expects council to spend the  money to preserve heritage.

FOR: Sharpe, Nation, Marshall, Byrne, Cusack, G-M Lawrence.

AGTS: None

ABST: Cr Surace

9.7 Response to Urgent Business 24 April – FIFA World Cup

Cr Sharpe moves. Cr Surace seconds.

Cr Sharpe says Council does need to try new things – she is unsure of Windy Hill being considered as a location.

Cr Surace says the community values council funded public events. She says it is a trial.

Cr Lawrence says numbers could be low at the first event given it is in winter. He suggests Council look at private sponsorship for the event to bring the cost down. If 1000 people attend, it will cost Council $17.50 per person attending.

Cr Lawrences says Buckley Ward might miss out on a match, and that Windy Hill is probably not the best venues for business promotion and Lincoln Park or Leake St might be better options.

Cr G-M says she sees both sides of the event: $60K for three events that has come out of the blue, but she is a huge advocate for community events. She will be interested to see how the first event goes. She says some of the suggested venues are private benefits. The numbers would be low if the time of the events was in the early hours of the morning. She has concerns about whether it is value for money.

Cr Cusack says if it worked properly it could be a windfall for neighbourhoods and traders. Cr Cusack says the Ascot Lot is not an appropriate venue, but the Pridham Plaza could be perfect. he says the people “down in Flemington” won’t mind the weather – with some blankets (to then be given away “to the homeless”). He says the Dumpling man would be ecstatic. he says it’s worth taking a risk to see if it works.

Cr Nation says he is the party-pooper – not because he disagrees with the concept. He says he watched the 2010 World Cup in Prague (and I watched it briefly with the Eiffel Tower in the background in Paris – amazing atmosphere). He’s worried about the cost and thinks it could be done more economically.

Cr Nation says Council can’t have sponsors or a supplier under the public viewing policy – FIFA fine print.

Cr Marshall says she thinks this is a good idea. She shares concerns about the costs – and recommends Council not supplying beanbags. People turn up with their own blankets and chairs. “Get rid of the added extras.” Rethink the extra toilets. Pare back the budget.

(I’m not sure why Debneys Park is not suggested as a possible venue.)

Cr Marshall asks for clarification of costs. The officer says the first one needs to be run to know what cost is.

Cr Marshall is pleased Council’s approval is being sought prior to the money being spent.

Cr Nation asks for clarification about spending on the second event when the motion covers off the expenditure, but not necessarily Council approval for the second event.

Cr Sharpe suggests an amendment to the motion to try to deal with the fact there is no Council meeting between the first and second events (the gap is five days). The Acting CEO checks whether the intention is to have a Special Council meeting in those five days to approve the second match.

Cr Lawrence checks whether the intention is to cancel the second one if the first one is unsuccessful – bookings and promotion will be tricky if the event may then be cancelled.

Cr Cusack suggests an amendment to 3(a).

Meeting protocols are out the window at this point it seems! Maybe Standing Orders need to be suspended while the motion wording is debated!

Cr Marshall is now seeking a point of clarification.

There is confusion while Cr Cusack’s suggestion is discussed.

Cr Sharpe says she is reading the motion to say if the first event is successful, then the second and third events will continue. Cr Surace is happy with that.

Cr Nation suggests the motion needs to have a qualification regarding the time of day.

Cr Marshall seeks clarification – but actually suggests rewording.

Cr Lawrence asks what time the first match is.

Cr Byrne re-reads Point 3 – she asks whether Cr Marshall is suggesting a formal or informal amendment? Cr Marshall says she is suggesting new wording for Cr Sharpe’s informal amendment.

Cr Byrne asks whether Cr Sharpe is happy. The motion now suggests the issue comes back to discussion (I’m confused as to when or where this discussion may take place and can’t see the amended motion as I’m now at home).

Cr Byrne says this event will appeal to disengaged young people. She hopes there is a contingency if too many people turn up!

Cr Sharpe now wants to add something to point b – regarding “playing at a suitable time”.

Carried unanimously.

If councillors were concerned about cost, not sure why they didn’t cap the expenditure in the motion to $10K per match – or less.

9.8 Attendance at the 2018 ALGA National General Assembly of Local Government

The Mayor is back with no conflicts of interest.

Cr Cusack moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Lawrence seconds.

Cr Cusack says the conference is important for local governments across all Australia. He says he would expect the Crs who attend to report back on messages from keynote speakers and discussions with other Crs.

At this point I note that eleven people are watching the Council meeting. It’s competing with Masterchef. 

Cr Lawrence says things too – something about monasteries. He says he will pay his own way – and stay with his daughter.

Cr Surace says the theme is ‘keep it local’ and she expects to learn from other councils – as well as putting forward MVCC as an important municipality. She is happy to give a written report. She mentions that savings from costs could pay for another councillor to go.

Cr Marshall (sounding cross) says that community members would probably prefer money to be spent on heritage rather than “flitting around” with federal politicians. She doesn’t support it and has seen nothing useful has come back from the conferences each year. She says she can “go on the internet and get the information for vive cents”. She “could not point to a single thing this Council has got out of sending councillors to ALGA.”

Cr G-M is concerned that the payments were made before the motion was brought to council for approval.

Cr Byrne says the debate tonight is similar to that 12 months ago. She, like Cr Marshall, has no issues with the Mayor going, but thinks the benefit for other councillors is individual. She doesn’t think MVCC saw a return on investment last year.

The Mayor says he understands Cr Marshall’s point, but that he went to see “Minister Fryburg” last year (I think he means Minister Frydenberg) and got some funding for solar panels. An officer says there is no confirmation that any funding has been received. The Mayor says that someone has to be there to speak on the ‘Bee motion’.

Cr Cusack says conferences can be of variable quality. He says people can “get carried away with headlines”. he says this is “part of the legitimate process of local government in Australia”. “This is not a conferences that goes up and down various tributaries of the Amazon”. he says previous conferences have brought back information on digital and environmental improvements.

Having attended one such conference in 2009, it can be useful for Crs – but perhaps councillors paying their own way out of their councillor stipends might be better … Or just rotating the attendance such that two different councillors can go each year. There are other ways to learn about local government.

FOR: Sharp, Nation, Surace, Sipek, Lawrence

AGST: Marshall, Byrne, G-M

9.9 MAV State Council motions – 18 May 2018

Cr Sharpe moves the recommendation. Cr Byrne seconds.

Cr Byrne thanks the governance team for putting together MVCC positions.

Cr Cusack says there are a number of motions on which MVCC does not yet have a position – this will be delivered to Crs by the end of the week.

This is the first time the MVCC rep has had a list of MVCC positions before attending and voting on motions on behalf of the Council. Which has always been really poor form.

Carried unanimously.

9.10 Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) Plans – Study and Consultation Process

Cr Surace moves – but Cr Marshall asks if an addition can be made to the motion regarding a review process afterwards.

Cr Marshall says they take a long time and conditions can have changed by the time actions are actually implemented.

She said LATM meetings are useful for thrashing out issues. She is also concerned about the low level of return for consultation surveys. And that concerns are often raised after actions have been implemented.

Cr Nation comments that LATMs have dragged on for many years.

Cr Lawrence says that it took five years to get some speed humps in the street he now lives in.

Cr Sharpe has a different view and thinks the LATM meetings have been useful because they draw together knowledge from a range of views. She doesn’t think surveys can replace discussions and that the changes lose an important part of the process.

Cr Surace says community consultation is not excluded from the new process.

FOR: all except Cr Sharpe

AGST: Cr Sharpe

9.11 Notices of Motion Quarterly Report

Cr Surace moves. Cr Sharpe seconds.

Cr Surace queries whether a NoM back in April last year has produced a report – she can’t recall seeing it.

Cr G-M notes that NoM 17 re Buckley St from a year ago has been updated – and there are still key documents and information outstanding that LXRA has not yet produced.

Carried unanimously.

9.12 Report on Assemblies of Councillors – March to April 2018

Cr Sharpe moves. Cr Surace seconds.

Cr Nation points out that the report has a formatting problem and there are items cut out from the items considered.

The Mayor suggests deferring.

Cr Nation moves to defer. Cr G-M seconds.

Carried unanimously.

What happened to the first motion!!! MAYOR!!! 

10 Notices of Motion

10.1 Notice of Motion 2018/11 – Improved signage and line marking to the English Street Bridge

Cr Byrne moves. Cr Sharpe seconds.

Cr Byrne says she has been waiting since January last year for signage to improve safety on the English St Bridge.

Cr Sharpe says there are issues at the Bulla Rd end. Works haven’t yet been finalised, but the traffic lights that have been installed have affected traffic queuing badly. She hopes that at a minimum the traffic sequence can be improved.

Cr G-M also comments that both connections are problematic.

Cr Surace asks whether these issues were raised when the works were planned and commenced (a good question). The officer says that the English St bridge issue was raised. He says the Bulla Rd area is still a construction zone and that discussions are ongoing.

Cr Surace says she hopes the NoM is more successful than the ongoing discussions.

The Mayor says the line marking on the English St Bridge needs to be colour-coded.

Carried unanimously.

11 Urgent Business Nope.

The Mayor farewells the nine people watching on the live stream.

12 Confidential Reports

12.117-23 Puckle Street and 6-14 Young Street, Moonee Ponds (Lot 1 on PS055118, Lot 2 on PS055118, Lot 3 on PS055118, Lot 4 on PS026936, Lot 1 on TP128317T, Lot 1 on TP338734E, and Lot 1 on TP319757Y) – Partial demolition of the existing buildings and development of the land for two mixed use, multi level buildings, a reduction in car parking requirements and a variation in loading bay requirements in a Heritage Overlay

12.2 Shareholding in Regional Kitchen and Community Chef

Close of Meeting


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