Council Meeting August 28

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Here’s a brief summary of the Council meeting this week.

Open – the meeting is open

Apologies – None. Cr Surace has requested another leave of absence, which is unanimously approved.

Confirmation of Minutes – Unanimous

Conflict of Interest – Cr Byrne 14.2 Direct COI re confidential item

Presentations – Cr Jim presents a book by Jose Ramos-Horta, Words of Hope.

Farah Warsame presents a thank you plaque to MVCC for their support to the Somali community and the Somali Independence Day Festival.

Cr Byrne presents a book about 60 years of service by the CWA (Vic).

Joint letter -A joint letter signed by 10 residents of Sydney Street, Ascot Vale, requesting parking spaces on the north side of Sydney Street, are resident only parking will be presented with a recommendation for further investigation. Carried unanimously

Petition – A petition signed by 43 residents, who do not support the Level Crossing Removal Authority’s right hand/U- turn at McPhail Street, Essendon, will be presented with a recommendation for further investigation. Carried unanimously.

Another petition is presented with 127 signatures regarding ongoing issues with drainage in Houston Ave, Strathmore. Carried unanimously.

Public Question Time – None

Reports by Mayor and Councillors

The Mayor skipped past this. But a Cr asks if they can be moved. Cr Lawrence says he wasn’t at the 50th Birthday at the Library. Carried unanimously.

Cr Lawrence asks to make an announcement that he will be running as an independent candidate for Essendon in the upcoming state election.

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59 Rose Street, Essendon Construction of a multi storey building and reduction in car parking requirements

This proposal is for a four storey building with six dwellings, one shop tenancy and a reduction of six car spaces. There were only two objectors and the officers recommend approval. I suspect the locals have some other issues pulling focus from proposals like this.

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Cr Sharpe moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Lawrence seconds. Cr Sharpe says she is dismayed about the demolition of the house currently on the site, but she says the proposal complies with the relevant setbacks, the layout of the building works.

She says there is no reduction in car-parking (the reduction is actually for four commercial car parking and one for residential, one for visitor). She reluctantly supports the proposal.

Cr Lawrence says it is “not an over-development height-wise”. He says the proposal is close to transportation and the impact on local neighbourhood is not unreasonable.

Cr Gauci Maurici says it is reasonably compliant, clarifies the car parking reduction, and is only four storeys and is not that bad. Cr Sharpe corrects her comments re car parking.

Carried unanimously.

Planning Policy Framework for the Moonee Valley Planning Scheme

You may recall me being a bit cranky about Council approving a new MSS to go to the Minister for exhibition without any consultation with residents. My view is that the new MSS makes some significant changes to the local planning scheme – particularly with respect to housing density – and that residents’ views should have been sought by Council.

As it turns out, the Planning Minister made some changes at the state level which has meant MVCC has had to resubmit its MSS – now called the Moonee Valley Planning Policy Framework (MVPPF).

Again, views of residents have not been sought. I haven’t had time to look through it, but if it is the same as the previous MSS, my concerns still hold and can be read here.

Cr Marshall moves that the matter be deferred. Cr Byrne seconds. She says there have been some significant changes at the state level and Council needs the time to do that properly. Carried unanimously. (I now have time to read it.)

Reconciliation Policy and Action Plan update

A few weeks ago, MVCC made changes to its annual festivals and events. At the time, I was concerned about moving the Spirit of Moonee Valley to 26 January given the meaning of this day for many Indigenous Australians.

In recommending this update, it is noted that officers propose changing this:

“The Spirit of Moonee Valley awards ceremony had been scheduled to be held as part of the 26 January Citizenship Ceremony, but in light of these other activities, this report proposes that the awards ceremony be held in mid to late 2019.”

The report proposes a Healing Ceremony including an Acknowledgement of History to be performed by an Aboriginal Elder’ on 26 January 2019. I’m assuming this is the result of genuine consultation with affected residents, and that other consultation supports this detailed and thoughtful plan.

Cr Nation moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Cusack seconds. Cr Nation says he is “excited” to move the update. He says “all of the actions have either been completed or are on track to be completed”. He says consultation has taken place regarding the actions – including the “award winning” rock circle, a children’s book called We Walk Together, and ‘the little long walk’. He mentions the work being done for an appropriate event on 26 January.  Cr Cusack also speaks. Cr Byrne speaks about the work in Rosehill ward. Carried unanimously.

I wonder if MVCC could invite an Indigenous member of the community to be part of the approval of plans like this at Council next time.

Council Plan 2017-21: progress report for 2017/18

This is a detailed and positive summary of actions arising from the Council Plan, but I haven’t been able to see clearly whether this is the revised Plan or the older plan and how this connects with MV2040. I think it’s just a report card on last year’s work in line with the plan – and it’s probably worth a read through if you have time.

Cr Cusack move the officer’s recommendation. Cr Lawrence seconds. (His microphone isn’t on so I can’t quite hear what he is saying.) He says he is “skipping a few gears” and that he is “not that well”. He says Council is moving the plan along. There are a few issues, but “wise ones” that “need to be addressed in other ways” regarding the adoption of IT.

Cr Lawrence speaks. Cr Byrne speaks about the EKLC, and other projects in Rosehill ward. Cr Marshall speaks about her portfolios, being strategic planning and environment – she says she copped scorn for the developers’ contribution (I don’t recall any scorn at Council). Cr Nation talks about his portfolio actions – a gender diversity statement, an LGBTIQ youth group, and paid traineeships for people with disabilities at Crown St Stables. Cr Sharpe also speaks. Cr Gauci Maurici speaks.

Cr Cusack asks if he can speak about his PAC – even though he has no right of reply because there is no dissent. (Sorry I haven’t been able to capture everything). Carried unanimously.

Essendon Gem and Lapidary Club – Location Options

“The purpose of this report is to seek endorsement to commence detailed work to pursue the relocation of the Essendon Gem and Lapidary Club (EGLC) from their current premises at Cross Keys Reserve to a new facility to be built adjoining the Strathmore Men’s Shed at Mascoma Street, Strathmore.”

I have looked through the MV2040  document again and the Community Facilities Plan again to try to find the plan in MV2040 for the relocation of the Essendon Gem and Lapidary Club. The report to Council doesn’t seem to make this clear – so I really welcome councillors setting me straight at the meeting.

I do hope the Club can be happily housed in an appropriate place – and that the alignment with MV2040 is made clear.

Cr Lawrence moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Sharpe seconds. Cr Lawrence says the current location is dangerous, fast decaying and risky for Council. He says the report proposes a move to adjacent to the Men’s Shed in Strathmore. He says it has been a long and drawn out process. he thanks the Club for their patience.

Cr Sharpe says it has been difficult to decide on the issue. She says that the Cross-Keyes Masterplan were forgotten about and not provided for in the adopted Masterplan. She says the group is very rare and it is important to make sure the club can continue, and Council needs to make amends for omitting them from the Masterplan. She says the costs of relocation equate with the maintenance costs. “Although it might seem like a small matter, it’s a big issue.”

Cr Marshall now moves an amendment to remove point 4 from the officer’s recommendation  … Cr Sharpe calls a point of order … point 4 and 5 have been confused … Cr Sharpe says it’s her mistake.

Cr Gauci Maurici seconds the amendment.

Cr Marshall says it goes to one of the life lessons she has learned from Council about “going out too early” and “raising expectations that may not be met” (but that’s a central concern re MV2040???!!!!).

Carried unanimously.

Back to the substantial motion. Cr Gauci Maurici says the club is a “gem” pardon the pun. she never knew it was there until she was on Council.

Cr Byrne says she is not supporting the motion because there wasn’t proper consultation with the Masterplan, but now there has not been consultation re the use of Nursery Corner.

Which is a good point given MV2040 highlighted the following re Nursery Corner:

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I’m still not sure what MV2040 proposed re the relocation of the Club – which was referred to in the Long Term Capital Works Plan – with no clear details.

Cr Cusack says moving the Club to the Men’s Shed area is a good one. “It makes good sense… the Men’s Shed is extending,” he says.

Cr Marshall says Council “is between a rock and a hard place” because a consultation process had not been done properly involving miscommunication with the Club. “We build a pavilion that is not fit for the purpose of a long term tenant on site. We rely on officer’s advice and where advice is incorrect or incomplete …” She refers to incorrect advice re Buckley park pavilion.

She says the cost will probably blow out and that there is “slavish adherence” to the Masterplan and that this is an instance where the Masterplan may need to be revised.

She agrees with Cr Byrne’s concern that there has been no consultation re the use of Nursery Corner. She is also concerned about transport and security – and that there was a break in at the Men’s Shed.

She says that if the Club had their way they would stay on site. She is worried the Club was backed into a corner and told “it is either this or nothing”. here is a long term tenant, a non-sporting club … and it appears that their interests have been secondary.” She says she won’t support the motion. (But she moved the amendment … I am a bit confused). 

Cr Nation speaks about how a Masterplan process can forget about a tenant of 30 years. “No reason they shouldn’t have been engaged and considered.”

But Council has also moved in their Long Term Capital Works Plan to relocate the EGLC. Who knows!

Cr Nation says “through our own incompetence we now have to spend half a million dollars”. “We seem not to learn from our mistakes. Every time we have a Masterplan something goes awry.”

Cr Lawrence says the cost is $323-$400K. The Cross Keyes Pavilion was handed a $250K grant and this money means less need be spent on the new building for the EGLC.

Cr Marshall asks whether this grant can be redirected to the facility.

The Mayor says “I think I know what he meant”. Cr Marshall continues. She asks an officer who says the grant will have to be used for the pavilion at Cross-Keys.

Cr Lawrence says the facilities are all on site at the Men’s Shed. The Masterplan will be completed.

FOR: Lawrence, Cusack, Sipek, Sharpe

AGST: Nation, Marshall, Byrne, Gauci Maurici

Carried on the casting vote of the Mayor.

Domestic Animal Management Plan Progress Report

Cr Cusack moves the motion. Cr Sharpe seconds. Cr Sharpe talks about the ability of officers to scan micro-chips, and the Lost Pets page on Facebook. Cr Byrne and Cr Lawrence both speak about Council services re dog-poo bags, barking, dog attacks and de-sexing services. Carried unanimously.

Delegations of Council – Review 2018

Cr Nation moves. Cr Lawrence seconds. No councillors speak to the item. Carried unanimously.

Councillor Expenses Report – 1 April 2018 to 30 June 2018

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Nation seconds. Cr Marshall refers to the delay in having the reports made accessible. She says there was no discussion about fleshing out the costs. She says this would add to transparency. Cr Byrne says she feels she should speak about her expenses – phone and iPad and a year long training for Women in Leadership ($470). She invites questions from residents. Carried unanimously.

Assembly of Councillors

Cr Sharpe moves. Cr Lawrence seconds. No one speaks to the item. Carried unanimously.

Notice Of Motion Report – Council use of herbicides

I’m really pleased to see this!  Hopefully we can find alternatives to the use of Round Up in all of Council’s weed management actions.

Cr Lawrence reads his motion in part. Cr Marshall seconds. Cr Lawrence says glyphosate has been used since 1974 and that the key ingredient is a non-selective herbicide so it kills most plants it comes in contact with. WHO declared it a carcinogen in 2015. There is an ongoing debate, but people working with the chemical are at some risk. He says there is no question about the safety of the use by Council workers, but there are alternatives.

Cr Marshall supports the motion referring to trials in other councils. She says she has to raise the importance of distinguishing between scientific and legal processes. She says a jury is not making decisions based on scientific evidence. She sys red meat is also classified by WHO as a carcinogen. She says “we need to make sure we don’t scare people”.

Cr Nation supports the motion. He speaks about what Round Up can do to surrounding vegetation. He says residents have contacted councillors about it.

Carried unanimously.

Notice Of Motion Report – TPG Small Cell Installations

I think many of the submissions were due last week (21 August) but maybe Councils can make late submissions to the proposals for TPG cell installations.

Cr Marshall moves her motion. Cr Nation seconds. Cr Marshall says she has received emails from concerned residents. The consent of Council is not needed for the installation – only the consent of the asset owner. She refers to concerns about heritage overlay. “It’s actually quite difficult at time for lay people to interpret these reports” so council should analyse and make a submission.

Cr Nation says the waves only travel 300m for 5G. “That probably gives you a snapshot of how many are going to go out.” Carried unanimously.

Notice Of Motion Report – Commercial Car Hire

This motion proposes the restriction of commercial car share vehicles in residential streets where there are no parking restrictions. This seems counter to all moves to try to minimise car ownership and maximise the use of share car schemes. Maybe there’s more to it, but providing car spaces for car share schemes is an important part of transport planning.

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Nation seconds.

“This came out of some discussions I had a while ago … they weren’t actually people from Shield St.” “I’d like a dollar for every minute I have been dealing with parking issues.” “Here we have a commercial operator who is plonking a car…” “I will await with interest the officer report.” Cr Marshall compares the matter to O-Bikes (not sure I have seen any cars in the river….).

Cr Nation says this is looking at an issue that is starting to grow and we need to understand how we can address the issue and make sure the impact is not on the residents.

Carried unanimously.

Notice Of Motion Report – Occasional care in Moonee Valley

This motion asks for a report on occasional care in Moonee Valley including, but not limited to, information on current utilisation at Shuter Street Occasional Care. Officers support this motion.

Urgent Business

Delegates Reports

Confidential Reports – Possible Property Acquisition

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