Council Meeting May 22

Starting on a happy note (because I’m afraid this meeting might get ugly).

This Friday I’m walking 30km to raise $$ for The Fred Hollows Foundation to restore sight to people who don’t have to be blind. If you’re in a position to donate to the cause, my team and I would be very grateful:

Now for the Council meeting …

Opening The usual – which is a nice acknowledgement of the Traditional Custodians of the land.

Apologies Cr G-M is on leave from 22 May until 24 June (must have been previously approved)

Confirmation of Minutes Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 8 May 2018 No opposition

Declarations of Conflict of Interest None


Cr Byrne presents five books from a resident in East Keilor, Margaret Lonsdale, who received an OAM this year.

Petitions and Joint Letters

Cr Marshall presents a petition from 17 residents of Princes St in Flemington re parking restrictions and bollards in the street.

Cr Cusack presents a petition from 13 residents in Francis St Ascot Vale re speed in the street.

Cr Cusack also mentions the tragic death of Aivy Nguyen, a student of Mount Alexander College in Ringwood last week. Cr Cusack asks that Council acknowledge Avi’s passing through a motion of condolence and a letter of condolence to Mount Alexander College.

Public Question Time No questions.

Reports of Mayor and Councillors

Carried unanimously with one small amendment from Cr Lawrence.

9.1 30-32 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds (Lot 1 on TP 340369N and Lot 1 on TP 387755T) – Partial demolition, external alteration, external painting and construction and carrying out of works for a multi-storey building within a Heritage Overlay (HO233), use of the land for dwellings and a reduction to the car parking requirement

Cr Nation moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Marshall seconds.

Cr Nation says the height complies with Council’s preferred heights for the site. He says the inter-war building will be maintained. “It ticks most of the boxes, and has been conditioned to make sure it is even further compliant.”

“It’s near a train station.” “According to our officers, this is an appropriate development for the site.” “It would be pretty futile going to VCAT because we have set the rules for this site and it complies.”

Cr Marshall says “if you don’t want a site to be developed, don’t include it in the activity centre zone.” she says the heights now comply at four storeys. She had some concerns about the internal amenity, but there have been dealt with by the conditions.

“On balance, this is in an area for which Council has says there should be high density development … this should be approved.”

Carried unanimously.

9.2 184 Maribyrnong Road, Moonee Ponds (Lot 1 on Title Plan 232844M) – Construction of four dwellings

Cr Marshall moves a motion to refuse the application on the basis of:

  • neighbourhood character and urban design in surrounding context
  • Cl 55 – building height, walls on boundaries, storage
  • does not respond to street-scape of Latrobe St and Maribyrnong Rd
  • overdevelopment
  • adverse impact on neighbouring lands

Cr Nation seconds.

Cr Marshall says it is not a big site. The proposal is for four units totalling ten bedrooms on 400sqm. It is not close to the Moonee Ponds AC. She says the report curiously refers to the site being close to numerous parks.

“There is a reference to the height of the development with developments in the area. This is the part I have an issue with.”

“If you look on one side of Maribyrnong Rd it is very different to the other side … If you are on the Moonee Ponds side, you have to walk up the road a bit to reach multi-unit development … They are totally separate neighbourhoods divided by a very busy road … There are real differences between the two sides of the road.”

“It comes down to it being an over-development of the site.” “To me it is an awkward looking building.” “The windows on the adjoining building will be affected by the proposal.” “The development fails to mitigate the significant impact on the neighbouring property.”

“Corner blocks present opportunities … but you have to be mindful of how it presents from both sides.”

Cr Nation concurs. “It is not a large block at all.” “On that stretch of Maribyrnong Rd, you have to go from 140 to 226 before you see another set of flats.” “This presents as a high density block of flats.” Cr Nation says he disagrees with the walls on boundaries being a “satisfactory non-compliance.” “Too much on a site. Too small.” He urges his fellow councillors to consider refusing.

Cr Cusack agrees. He mentions the impact of the large development on the side street, especially where heritage is also relevant – as in the site on the corner of Lucknow and Mangalore Streets in Travancore. He says a development of lower height would be more respectful.

Carried unanimously.

9.3 Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Cr Byrne moves an amended motion with a few additions –

  • iv) the letters specifically address amenity impacts on affected suburbs including the activation of the Flemington Spur line

Cr Byrne says some residents will be disadvantaged by the rail link. She says she has learnt many things while being on Council. She says she would have voted differently on Buckley St – “by being so against the Govt’s road under rail design,” we lost out on things like the beautiful palm trees We don’t have an effective relationship with the state govt on Buckley St anymore, she says.

So on this issue, MVCC should be at the table with other stakeholders. “We need to be at the table to maximise the positives … There is no perfect link and there will be pros and cons, and the design will be contentious, but MVCC needs to be at the table.”

“This report is not choosing a preferred route … We are looking forward to a feasibility study.”

Cr Cusack says he supports the motion. He says the issue is being played out in the media without necessarily attention to facts. He says we are talking 60 odd million people in the future. “There is a desperate need for this.” “What I am looking for is the most practical and straightforward” design. And to put clearly in our advocacy to government what impacts there might be for residents.

He says it will work for much longer than clogged up freeways.

Unlike Cr Byrne, he says the motion is “stating our case” – which is not to use the Craigieburn Line. He agrees that if MVCC had been more proactive re Buckley St, we might have had a less toxic atmosphere re Buckley St.

Cr Lawrence says he prefers the Flemington Link with two stations in Milleara and Airport West. Cr Lawrence says the Buckley St issue is a failure of the State Govt to consult and govern properly.

Cr Nation says when you look at the project from a state wide perspective it has a great deal of merit. “One thing we need to be cautious of, is exactly how this proposed project will impact our municipality in 10-20 years.” Cr Nation says the activation of the Flemington Spur Line will incentivise development in Ascot Vale and Flemington.

He says the Milleara Station may require land acquisitions (even if underground?). Cr Nation mentions the need to duplicate the tracks – for any of the routes. Cr Nation says Council has recently appointed an advocacy coordinator.

Cr Marshall talks about the ability of Council to influence outcomes. “You can’t just go in there yelling and screaming … you need to be more subtle.” “We need to see the data,” she says.

She says this has the potential for MVCC to experience all of the downside and none of the upside. She has reservations around the Spur activation.

“It needs to be an honest conversation with residents … based on what comes out of the business case.”

“I reserve the right to change my views.”

Cr Sharpe says she is reserving her opinion on this issue.

Cr Byrne says MVCC is not preferencing any route. Cr Byrne says it is a disaster for Rosehill ward to have a train station running through the area but not to have a station.

“We need to make sure it does happen. … We need to make sure our residents are looked after.”

Carried unanimously.

9.4 Flemington Housing Renewal Project – Planning Scheme Amendment Update

Cr Marshall moves a motion – which is too long for me to have any chance of capturing so I will need to grab it from her later – or wait for the minutes to be released.

She has asked for MVCC be the Responsible Authority until the Development Plan has been satisfactorily prepared.

She asks that car parking be equitable and that further conversations take place on developer contributions, access to Flemington Bridge Station.

The motion captures many of the points put forward by MVCC at the hearings that were not ultimately included in theMinister’s Amendment – including open space, affordable housing …

Cr Marshall says there were many submissions to the Advisory Committee hearings. She says the Amendment took on board the Committee’s recommendations (not all!!), but did not take on board all of MVCC’s recommendations.

She talks about the parking rate as an issue of equity.

She says the Reference Group will be tasked with the job of consulting with the wider public (which is a concern! Consultation should be Council’s responsibility, not outsourced to the members of a group to do the job of Council!!)

She says there is a lot of work to be done.

Cr Cusack supports everything Cr Marshall has said. He says there are concerns in the community about what is meant in the Amendment about the development that will take place on Flemington estate.

No one else speaks.

Carried unanimously.

No – Cr Surace abstains – as she has just arrived – but there was no apology noted earlier …?

The Mayor asks Cr Byrne to take over for a minute.

9.5 Land Acquisition Policy

Cr Byrne asks if Cr Surace has ay conflicts. she doesn’t.

Cr Marshall moves an amended motion.

The Mayor is back, but takes another seat.  The motion is passed – unanimously.

The Council has a policy for acquiring land. I hope they acquire land. Like 177A Mount Alexander Road. And a site for a community theatre in Flemington 🙂

9.6 Open Space Master Plans (Clifton Park and Draft Montgomery Park and Bradshaw Street Reserve)

The Mayor returns. Cr Lawrence moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Sharpe seconds.

But there is an amendment – from Cr Sharpe – who asks if a point 3 can be added about not demolishing the Scout Hall until there is consultation.

Cr Nation queries whether the seconder can amend the motion. She can’t. Cr Byrne says she foreshadows an amendment.

Cr Nation helps out by moving the amendment for Cr Sharpe. Cr Surace seconds the amendment. The amendment is carried unanimously.

We go back to the substantive motion – but there is some uncertainty about who is the mover of the motion – I will need to check. In fact the meeting protocols are not clear on that. They just say that the amended motion becomes the substantive motion.

Cr Sharpe and Cr Lawrence talk about the merits of the plans and the work stakeholders have been doing – and the importance of keeping the Scout Hall until there is further consultation.

Cr Lawrence refers to the Clifton Park Advisory Group and the role they have played.

Carried unanimously.

9.7 Moonee Valley City Council Highball Stadium Feasibility

Cr Byrne moves the officer’s recommendation with an amendment to refer to future users including gymnastics.

Cr Byrne says there is a need for a highball stadium in MV. The report says Quinn Grove should be the site of the stadium – which is behind the East Keilor Leisure Centre.

Cr Marshall says there is a demand. The catchment data said the data showed the location should be Essendon, but there is limited land available. Cr Marshall says the community consultation will need to be extensive.

Cr Lawrence is concerned about the cost. “The dollars start to mount up and I don’t see the income.”

Cr Cusack supports the motion. He says that MVCC only gets money coming in through rates and that other revenue streams are needed.

Cr Sharpe says she has been advocating for this for some time. But is concerned about costs and the consultation around Quinn Grove.

Cr Surace asks about how the consultants are working together.

Cr Nation says he was “somewhat naive” about the need for a highball stadium, but is concerned that the community is on board through the formation of a reference group.

Lots of talk of engaging the community. But how??? I’m the only one here, and I’m heading home because it’s just not that exciting :0

The debate has descended into general chit-chat about basketball teams.

$30M for six highball courts – that’s $5M per court.

FOR: all except Cr Lawrence

Abstaining: Cr Lawrence

9.8 Fairbairn Precinct Sports Court Development

Cr Marshall moves the officer’s recommendation with two additional points – something about courts being compliant for both netball and tennis; and the creation of another Community Reference Group.

Carried unanimously.

9.9 Response to Notice of Motion 2017/20: Moonee Valley as a Smart City

Cr Cusack asks for an additional point to have a report back to Council.

Cr Lawrence talks up the tech. He endorses the need for a report back, and review.

Cr Cusack talks about the ‘Smart City’ is about taking us forward.

There are many phones going off from the Crs tonight. They are smart phones.

Apologies – I had to leave. I was the only one watching and I was too lonely … and I had to help with homework. Back listening to the recording, but notes will be brief.

Cr Cusack is still talking about smart cities … “we should be looking at all of the clever” ways forward.

Cr Marshall says she is not sure what she expected from the report. She says there are some good ideas, but is not sure the report makes her see MVCC as a ‘smart city’ rather than an ‘average IQ city’. “It seems like it’s not forward thinking technology.” I have to agree with Cr Marshall!

Cr Lawrence says MVCC’s computer systems are archaic.

Carried unanimously.

9.10 Response to Notice of Motion 2017/21: Council’s role in the provision of Electric Car Charging Units in Activity Centres

Cr Cusack moves the motion with a sixth point asking for another report which incorporates advice from the report due to Vic Parl in mid-2018. Cr Marshall seconds.

Cr Cusack says he has reservations about the report. He refers to major car manufacturers who are committed to converting to electric cars. Those who want to flog petrol are attacking the electric car industry, he says.

Cr Marshall says we will all be caught flat-footed if we don’t pre-empt infrastructure for electric cars.

Cr Sharpe says the MAV State Council voted to lobby the state government for ideas for car charging infrastructure.

Carried unanimously.

9.11 Report on Audit Committee

Cr Byrne moves. Cr Cusack seconds. Carried unanimously.

9.12 Report on Assemblies of Councillors – March to May 2018

Cr Lawrence has left.

Cr Nation moves with amendment to p.163 re Cr Byrne having a COI but didn’t state whether she left the room – as required by Local Government Act. Cr Byrne says she left the room during the COI item.

Cr Surace seconds. There is discussion.

Cr Sharpe says an officer has not been included as an attendee at a PAC meeting.

Carried unanimously.

Notices of Motion

10.1 Notice of Motion No. 2018/12 – Disclosure of Political Party Membership

Cr Marshall moves her motion.

The Mayor asks whether it refers to political parties in Australia or the world. Cr Marshall says the universe.

Cr Surace seconds.

Cr Marshall says the idea came from Cr Surace but needed some fleshing out. Cr Marshall says it is important because councillors may be influenced by political interests. But she says it goes to the bigger issue of how decisions are made: some people are not party members, but act in partisan ways. “They may engage in personal attacks.” She says political party membership is not the only concern.

She says her membership of a political party informs her values, not her decisions.

Party membership “should never dictate what you do”. People who are not members of political parties also “need to reflect on” what is influencing them, and not be influenced by their political views.

“You should not let your personal feelings [about other councillors] dictate the way you vote.”

‘influencing your decision making by factors that aren’t relevant”, we need to be careful, she says.

Cr Surace says she supports the motion, but the important part of the motion is about the community knowing party membership. “That community out there in Moonee Valley voted us in to make decisions … I for one am not aligned to any party … it’s a perception some people may have.”

There are perceptions about who is aligned with a party, she says. It’s good to be open and transparent about it.

“Social media is a very dangerous thing.” “It can be distressing.” The Mayor calls time.

Cr Cusack says he doesn’t believe anyone when they say they are totally independent. He says everyone has their frames of reference. “I’m a joiner,” he says. “I do need to talk to people and share views and have the contest of ideas.”

“We may disagree, but we have a role to fulfil.”

This is sounding like some form of group therapy!

The Mayor calls time.

Cr Sharpe says she is true independent councillor. She says she has never enjoyed the party politics. She says playing party politics is disingenuous, and is a dis-service for the community.

“I’m proud of [not being a member of a political party].”

Cr Nation says the transparency page has been uploaded on the website – I couldn’t find it last Friday. It is there now.

Cr Byrne is happy to have it on the record that she has never been a member of a political party. “I’m all over the shop!”

The Mayor says he is currently an independent but growing up in a Croatian family was a political affair: “My father was the government, and my mother was the leader of the opposition.”

Cr Nation clarifies that he has been a member of the Liberal party on two occasions.

Cr Marshall says she is fascinated by the notion of being an “independent”; “my thinking is independent” … “the idea that someone could influence me … or that I’d be caught up in anything un-toward … it seems really bizarre to me.”

She says councillors should be judged on whether they put in the work and make considered decisions.

Carried unanimously.

No urgent business.

The Mayor realises that he didn’t hold a vote on Cr G-M’s leave.

Cr Cusack says something inaudible.

And that’s the end of that harmonious Council meeting. So harmonious, it was … boring!

Oh the Mayor has just blessed us all. Good night.

Confidential Reports

12.1 Report on Land Acquisition Committee

The artwork featured is by a student from Flemington Primary School in 2016.



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