Council Meeting 10 July 2018

dog in park

Image: Rose Iser

To make it easier to follow, I’m trying a process of summarising the Council agenda the day before the meeting, and adding to this with reporting on the actual discussion and decision at the meeting.

The post below has been updated with a record of Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

A tech-hitch in the streaming meant a quick car trip to Council – but I amde it half way through the first item.

There is a full gallery with people holding signs asking councillors to say ‘no’ to the food truck application in Racecourse Rd.

School holidays have reduced both the number of friends in the park for my puppy (see pic above) , and the number of councillors at tomorrow night’s meeting. Both Crs Surace and Marshall have registered apologies.

There are some important planning matters on the agenda, so the number of councillors present may (or may not) make a difference.


The Council meeting …

Except having sat down to watch the streaming, it seems the streaming is not working. If it’s not working in a few minutes I’ll have to abandon tonight’s blogging via streaming.


So having quickly made my way to MVCC, have missed the opening etc.

Confirmation of Minutes: Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 26 June 2018.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest


Petitions and Joint Letters

Public Question Time

9.1 454-470 Racecourse Road, Flemington – Use and development of the land as a food truck park, sale and consumption of liquor, access to a Road Zone, Category 1 road and advertising signage

45 residents from nearby streets have objected to this proposal for a food truck venue in Racecourse Rd opposite the Flem/Ken Bowls Club.

Council has recommended tight restrictions on the hours of operation (closing by 9pm and 10pm on weekends), complete restrictions on outdoor music, an exit from the site to Clarence St and “at least one bicycle space”.

Objectors are concerned about Council permitting another licensed venue in Racecourse Rd, and amenity impacts including noise, traffic, lights, antisocial behaviour and odour.

The applicants probably want to open this before the Spring Carnival, but I imagine this application will make its way to VCAT.

Cr Cusack is moving an alternative motion – a refusal. Cr Nation seconds.

Cr Cusack says: “Yes this is in a commercial zone, but while it has been actively used for commercial activities, they have been of a 9-5 sort of nature … they weren’t of the magnitude of the type of issues that will arise from this application.”

“100 patrons are planned for this site on a regular basis. You’re going to have a turn over of patrons … you’re getting people every half hour. Some will hang around.”

“People will be living cheek to jowl with this neighbourhood.” “Everybody parks on the street.” “The proposed hours are quite a problem – seven days a week. no body gets any respite.” After an extension of time, Cr Cusack refers to experiences of Top Cuts and the Showgrounds and the impacts of these activities on residents.

He also mentions the effort in MV2040 to build 20 minute neighbourhoods. “This doesn’t contribute one iota to the notion of liveability.”

Cr Nation says there are “critical flaws”: “it is out of character with the area.” “This is not the entertainment end of Racecourse Rd.”

“The businesses operating west of New Market Plaza are daytime businesses.” “It activates this end of Racecourse Rd.” “The categorical difference is the amount of residents who live around this site.”

“The walls on the edge of the lane-way border the properties – the idea that the lane-way provides a satisfactory buffer are not appreciative” of the close proximity of the residents to the site.

“After 5 o’clock at night, these streets can be extremely difficult to navigate.” “The staff won’t even be able to get a park on site.” He says there will be traffic implications from people trying to look for parks.

“In my opinion it is a completely flawed application.”

Cr Lawrence says is a messy application. He says the 13 car parking spaces are inadequate for 100 patrons. He also mentions a “party atmosphere” and light spill which will have an impact on the local residents.

Cr Sharpe concurs with other councillors and says she has “been swamped” with emails. She thanks residents for contacting her.

There is much clapping for all councillors.

Cr Cusack says he’s disappointed that the applicant hasn’t sat down with Council and residents to talk through options. “The community benefit is marginal at the very best.”

Cr Cusack says the food truck park in Mt Rd has created some problems for residents, but that some problems have been solved through conversations.

Carried unanimously. Crowd goes wild. People in the gallery thank the council (“thanks for listening”).

I’m the only one left in the gallery. And apparently the streaming audio is now working – I think.

9.2 492 – 494 Pascoe Vale Road, Strathmore – Use and development of a multi-storey building containing dwellings and a food and drink premises, buildings and works within a Land Subject to Inundation Overlay and alteration of access to a road in a Road Zone, Category 1

I don’t know whether this proposal might be a tad big for the surrounding residential area. It is within walking distance from a train station, but, possibly more significantly, is on land affected by an overlay connected to Moonee Ponds Creek: the land is subject to inundation – that is, flooding.

Melbourne Water has given its approval subject to a permit condition. But, really, what’s the point of an overlay that’s ignored …

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 11.08.54 pm

Image: State Government of Victoria, Moonee Valley Planning Scheme

We’re onto the second motion – Cr Gauci Maurici moves the officers’ recommendation with a small addition to make sure the cafe is not a restaurant.

Cr GM says she had some concerns about hours of operation of the cafe. “It’s a really nice way to be able to activate the bike path.” “Seeing something other than a vacant block is a good outcome.”

Cr Lawrence says it is a big site and a big development. “It is in a dead space.” “It will bring employment benefits” – including at the cafe. “It will be rejuvenated.”

Cr Lawrence says the permit is heavily conditioned – and has substantial setbacks.

Cr Sharpe says she supports her fellow ward councillors. “It will become an asset in the area.” “I like how the actual building tapers around the creek. It will look very nice.”

Cr Cusack says he is pleased there are significant landscaping and other environmental conditions applied to the development. He says the cafe will add to the bike path. “We might have got ourselves a model in this space.”

Carried unanimously.

Someone in the gallery wants a clarification. The Mayor shoots him down (verbally) – there are no questions.

9.3 Reviewing Statutory Planning Protocols

Cr Byrne moves that the matter be deferred. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Byrne says the PAC meeting hasn’t considered it, and there are two councillors away.

The deferral is carried unanimously.

This item has returned from a previous meeting when it was deferred for a survey to see if people who attended planning consultation meetings at Council valued them.

Sixty-three people answered the survey (including me) and 92% said they Council should continue to hold consultation meetings.

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 11.17.25 pm

Image: screenshots of survey – Rose Iser

However, the changes proposed to the planning protocols include:

  • exclusion of objections that only relate to an as-of-right component or are clearly not based on planning grounds
  • exclusion of objections received from properties outside a radius of 500 metres measured from the centre of the application site – for residential applications.

And a new protocol to deal with a loss of quorum due to conflict of interest:

“a request be referred to all Councillors for majority support requesting the CEO to finalise relevant planning application/s under the Instrument of Delegations.”

I’m not sure whether the request will be made at Council meetings so that residents know about it.

9.4 Events and Festivals Review

This review, with a focus on 20 minute neighbourhoods, contains some major changes that are recommended for endorsement by Council without any further consultation, including:

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 11.32.24 pm

Images: MVCC, Agenda Ordinary Meeting of Council, p.75 –

Moonee Valley Festival will be not be held at Queens Park next year, under this proposal.

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 11.38.21 pm

Images: MVCC, Events and Festivals Review p.12 –

I was part of the Portfolio Advisory Committee that were asked what sorts of events we valued in Moonee Valley. There were three of us present. The discussion was informal and general, and at no point was there any mention of the festival being abandoned.

Cr Byrne moves the officers’ recommendation.

Cr Byrne says that Moonee Ponds has 38% of all events. “No civic events were held outside of Moonee Ponds.” She says Niddrie has only 2% of events.

Cr Byrne says the changes won’t be loved by all. She refers to “decentralising the Moonee Valley Festival”.

Cr Byrne says there was consultation (on ending the MV Festival at Queens Park??). She says it came to the PAC group (as part of the group, ending the festival was not put to the group).

“I recommend everyone have a bit of a look at the events and how much they cost.” “It might ruffle a few feathers” to move the MV Festival from Queens Park.”We have to give some things a go some time.”

She mentions the festival will be transitioned towards the river (???).

Cr GM says that the Strathmore Street party showed that people want to engage with their local communities. She says she wanted to run for council to have more small events with a few food trucks, music.

She says MV festival is great, but “it’s not working at the moment”. (I wonder exactly what that means?).

“I look forward to seeing all of the different local events that happen.”

Cr Cusack says that “festivals grow in local places and become major movements … driven by what the community wants.” “And we have a wonderful example of that in the Flemington-Kensington Arts Festival.”

Cr Cusack talks about the literary festival in Hobsons Bay.

(But can’t we do these – as well as the MV Festival that brings us all together?? And have community members been asked about this???)

Cr Lawrence says we have had the MV Festival for forty years. “Sure it’s got its drawbacks, but it’s a focus for the entire municipality. It draws everyone … it is a great festival. I’d hate to lose it.”

“A lot of people in MV look forward to the festival every year.” He also refers to something developing along the Boulevard – I’m not sure to what extent this is detailed int he report.

The Mayor says he remembers the MV Festival many years ago: “it has been running along quite well. But sometimes you have to try something new.” “We’re going back to the future.” “It’s something new; it’s something innovative.” He says

Cr Byrne says we are spending $250K on the festival. We are not getting rid of MV festival – we are decentralising to having three events over three days … with one event at the Maribyrnong River.

She says there will be an event in each ward. “Let’s spread the love.” “If it doesn’t work out we always .. go back”.

She says we are not ending the MV Festival, we are holding it across three days in different locations.

Carried unanimously.

The streaming is back up – I’ll complete later. I need to reflect on the unanimous vote to scrap the Moonee Valley Festival as we have known it for 40 years.

9.5 Community Funding Program Review and Policy

This is a long report that I haven’t had time to read 😦

9.6 5 Alma Street, Aberfeldie – Interim and Permanent Heritage Controls

Seems self-explanatory – hope I haven’t missed anything.

9.7 East Timor Program review consultation findings and future program options report

This is a long report that I haven’t had time to read 😦

9.8 Special Charge Scheme for a Right of Way in Tennyson Street, Essendon

This affects about 14 properties who are subject to the process regarding special charge schemes for the construction of a Right of Way.

Confidential Reports 12.1 Proposed Lease ??????

Questions put to councillors regarding the MSS approved last meeting

Council approved a new MSS at the last Council meeting – that’s a whole new local planning policy for the planning scheme. It needs to be exhibited and approved by the Planning Minister, but it sped through Council with no specific consultation.

I put a series of questions to the councillors following the meeting, and (nearly two weeks later) I’m still waiting for a response (although ten days ago an officer did tell me a response was on its way).

My questions included:

  • why references to the DDO3 for Mt Road the DDO 7 for Keilor Rd, or the DDO10 for Nth Essendon have been removed;
  • whether the removal of the reference to the Racecourse Rd, Essendon Junction and Union Rd Structure Plans means Council is no longer intending to develop these plans; and
  • why the housing policy has been altered to remove the categories of High-Substantial, Moderate-High, Slight-Moderate housing intensification?

I’ve also asked why the emphasis on higher density housing occurring within Activity Centres has been replaced with a reference to development where there is good public transport or open space.

A full list of the questions can be found at the end of this post.

1. 21.01 – says in the past decade MV has been subject to significant major projects including the Ascot Vale housing redevelopment and the East-West Link – neither of which have occurred, and developments at the racecourses and Flemington housing estate which have been planned, but have not taken place.

Should this be reworded to indicate that these projects are still only anticipated, or proposed, and that the impacts have not yet been felt or measured? It seems odd to include a mention of the East West Link given this project is currently not a government project.

2. 21.01-1 Should there be a reference for the anticipated population increases as per previous MSS?

3. 21.01-2 Should there be a definition of a 20-minute neighbourhood – even though this is part of Plan Melbourne?  Do you think there should be a reference to MV being part of a pilot program for the development of 20-minute neighbourhoods?

4. 21.01-4 The Strategic Directions are not detailed in the same way the previous MSS set out detailed descriptions and visions for key strategic planning themes (21.01 – 03 of previous MSS). Should this section include greater explanation of these strategic directions and how they are relevant to planning decisions (given the purpose of the MSS is to guide planning decisions)?

5. 21.02-6 does not include the DDO3 for Mt Road or the DDO 7 for Keilor Rd, or the DDO10 for Nth Essendon, but does include the DDO for Airport West. Why is that?

6. 21.02-7 no longer includes reference to preparing a Racecourse Rd Structure Plan. Does this mean MVCC is no longer intending to develop a Structure Plan for Racecourse Rd despite the increasing pressures on the area, its designation as an Activity Centre and VCAT’s statements about the lack of strategic guidance for the precinct? The same applies to a SP for Essendon Junction and Union Rd.

7. 21.05-4 have the Urban Design guidelines been watered down or are you relying on cl 15 to capture all of the previous references to on and off site amenity impacts, developments above five storeys, and developments near Essendon Airport?

8. 21.05-5 Have the guidelines re signage along freeways, main roads and in commercial areas been watered down?

9.21.06 The Housing policy has been altered to remove the categories of High-Sub, Mod-High, Slight-Mod housing intensification. In particular, the emphasis on higher density housing occurring within Activity Centres has been replaced with a reference to good public transport or open space. Why is this?

10. Additionally, references to the height, scale and massing of new high-substantial development has been removed. Why is this?

11. 21.06-2 The Housing Diversity clause no longer refers to ‘adaptable’ or ‘accessible’ hosing or catering for people to work from home – and no longer specifies that developments with 10 or more dwellings should cater for different demographic groups. Why is this?

12. 21.06-3 The Affordable Housing cl no longer encourages affordable dwellings in developments of 10 or more dwellings. Why is this?

12. The Affordable Housing cl “supports voluntary agreements in large scale developments”. Why is MVCC relying only on voluntary agreements?

13. 21.06-4 Have these requirements – particularly re waste collection, noise and restaurants been watered down?

14. 21.07-2 Is MVCC no longer advocating for improvements to PT to industrial precincts? Or is this covered elsewhere?

15. 21.07-4 by removing two of the Strategies wrt the operation of licensed premises, is MVCC watering down restrictions on licensed premises? (eg the ref to LP operating after 11pm only within AC’s has been removed.)

16. 21.08 Why is freight on road higher on the transport hierarchy than private or shared cars? (just a general query – thinking about all of the efforts to get freight off residential streets and whether this should be more nuanced wrt freight on major roads/freeways etc).

17. 21.08 Why has the application requirement for new developments with 100 cars to have a green travel plan been removed? Is this captured elsewhere?

18. 21.08-5 Why has MVCC changed the objective from reducing private vehicle use to managing car use?

19. Why has the objective to encourage residents to use alternative transport been removed?

20. A series of excellent actions directed towards cycling and walking previously in 21.09-8 have been removed from the MSS. Why is this?

21. In advocating for the activation of the Flemington Spur Link, has MVCC undertaken any assessment of the impact this would have, and the infrastructure required, on Newmarket Station, the Craigieburn line and surrounding residential areas?

22. Has MVCC compared the Local Areas under 21.10 with neighbourhood plans developed by other councils such as Yarra and Port Phillip? MVCC’s approach seems more focused on specific capital works rather than strategic planning guidelines and directions that characterise the neighbourhood plans of other councils.

23. The Local Area plans don’t include strategic planning notions of development intensity and heritage protection. Is there an intention to provide this strategic planning through the MSS?


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