Council Meeting Nov 13

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Image: Google Maps

And it’s meeting time. Except there is no quorum. So waiting …

Opening – the new Mayor takes the chair.

Reconciliation Statement

Apologies and Leave of Absence: 

Cr Lawrence is on approved leave of absence for this meeting.

Cr Surace and Cr Nation are also apologies for tonight.

Confirmation of Minutes:

Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 23 October 2018 and the Statutory meeting.

Carried unanimously.

Declarations of Conflict of Interest

Cr Byrne declares an indirect conflict re 10.7 due to conflicting duties (which means there won’t be quorum for this item as Cr Sipek has disappeared – 10pm note – It turns out Cr Sipek suffered an allergic reaction over dinner and was rushed to hospital! Fortunately, he has recovered.)

Presentations – Nope

Petitions and Joint Letters – None

Public Question Time

Question from 4 people (the first two people are here from the Women’s Leadership Program who are watching the process):

  1. Deirdre asks the first Q: What strategies and programs are in place over next two years to tackle gender equity in Family Violence? The officer summarises some of the strategies in place and explains that a campaign featuring orange is coming up.
  2. And for women in sport? Various Council strategies are explained including media coverage and working with clubs to encourage female participation.
  3. Helen asks Q2 which is about large families – how is Council planning for programs and accessibilty for these families? Council provides a wide range of educational and developmental programs.
  4. What is Council doing to address loneliness and mental health for people aged 50+? (Is 50+ older???) Council is providing funding specifically targeting people in older communities.
  5. Edith asks a question about what Council is doing about public transport. Council is pretty much limited to advocacy re PT.
  6. Luke Cherry from the ASU has the final Qs: re the proposed relocation of the Depot – if a family were looking to rent a home, would they be happy to spend such money on a leased property (I am paraphrasing). The officer says he is unable to comment on the situation, but, he says, re the proposed depot site, the $2.5m is not an unreasonable amount to invest. He says it includes improving staff amenities. “It is normal practice for a tenant” to make alterations. He says if this site were not to proceed, other sites would need investment ti make them fit for purpose. This is not an unusual situation in a commercial property market, he says.
  7. When roughly 70 depot staff were asked if they support the move, they all said ‘no’, and a resolution has been passed by worked not to move to the proposed site, so how will Council respond? The officer says feedback  from the site can be summarised as a) lack of infrastructure – this will be addressed through the $2.5m investment, the officer says; b) the location of the site and impact on productivity – unknown. There will be no job losses and no impact on service standards, he says. c) Impact on staff personally and families. The officer says there will no doubt be an impact on staff. 18% of staff are worse off. 67% are better off. 9 staff will have no change, he says (I think these are the figures – will have to check).

Reports from Special Committees Nope.

Council  Plan  2017-21 Quarter One progress report July – September 2018

Council reporting back on the work it has been doing: I didn’t see anything particularly extraordinary in this report.

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says the report is clear and Cr Cusack compliments the 80 depot staff standing and sitting behind me and talks about mental health and reconciliation. And the Winterfest. And community funding.

Cr GM mentions the neighbourhood initiatives in MV2040 which are listed in the Appendix. Cr Byrne talks about capital works.

Carried unanimously.

Financial Performance Report September 2018

Council reports that it has a “[f]avourable variance relat[ing] to higher than expected revenue primarily from parking fines” but lower than expected revenue from long day care and kindergartens.

The East Keilor Leisure Centre is now priced at $51m and the Flemington Hub $40m.

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

Cr Byrne says “we are in a great position”.

Carried unanimously.

Increasing open space on the Maribyrnong River: Option to relocate Depot operations

Cr Marshall moves that Council ceases negotiation with the owner of the proposed site, and note that any future site must provide a community benefit. There are a number of other points: requests further reports, commits to Transfer Station remaining in place …

Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall said Council had recently approved a high level plan re the Cultural Precinct. It is a high level plan, she says. It set up a process for consultation. It is a process that is in its infancy, she says. She says she cannot recall the Depot relocation being mentioned to her as a Councillor. She says the Cultural Precinct Plan only came to Council a few weeks ago (must have been while I was away doing the FTC – 25 September).

She says there is a broad understanding that the Depot site is likely to be moved at some stage. She says there are issues with the current proposal, but there is doubt about whether a large enough site will be found in Moonee Valley.

She says she was concerned about the amount of money being spent to make the site fit for purpose. She’s concerned about the safety of workers on site. She’s not convinced this is the right site. She also draws an analogy between the current proposal and transferring all staff from Kellaway Ave.

Cr Cusack says he supports Cr Marshall. He says he supports the Maribyrnong precinct totally (although there are currently no plans!). But he says the Depot is not the only piece in the puzzle. “There is a question about time.” “Why does it have to be so quick.”

“We’re not here to tell the CEO how to run his staff,” he says. But he notes that the depot staff have voted that their concerns have not been sufficiently addressed to support the change. Cr Cusack says technological changes may also impact future decisions.

Cr GM says she is supportive of the motion but says that the Depot should should not remain in its current location. She is supportive of returning theDepot site to “community use”. She says she understands the concerns about leaving the current location, but she says it would be foolish as councillors to say to depot staff that the site will not be moved, and that it will probably be to a larger site outside the municipality. Or whether multiple smaller sites is preferable.

She also shares concerns about the process. She says the EBA allows for staff participation in workplace changes and the Advisory Group can facilitate that. What would our rate-payer want and expect? She says most rate-payers would want the site opened up for community use. (Do they?? Have they been asked? Personally, I like being able to access the Transfer Station. I think there is a lot of public land in that area, and I would like to see arts facilities to be spread across the municipality – but maybe I am in the minority).

Cr Byrne says a large site is likely to be outside of Moonee Valley. She would prefer Council buy land rather than take out a long lease. She is wary of the long lease signed for Windy Hill – which she says is an underused site in the municipality (perhaps it could be a cultural precinct??!!). “I don’t think it should be used as a Depot.”

Carried unanimously. The Depot workers applaud.

And the notes I wrote earlier …and I will head home at this point and complete this from home later.

This is a very contentious report. It was initially classified as confidential, but I’ve been told this was an error. The report recommends MVCC takes a 30 year lease for the Depot operations at a site in Tullamarine so the current Depot can be transformed to public open space.

Union representatives have conveyed concerns about this proposal.

As previously noted, while MV2040 highlights the current area as a place to “create a vibrant events destination” around the Incinerator Gallery/Maribyrnong River precinct, there is no mention of the depot moving.

The Maribyrnong River Master Plan included in MV2040 includes the Depot in its current configuration.

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Image: MVCC, MV2040 Strategy, p.123  

It may be a terrific idea to convert the land to public open space, but it is disingenuous to say this has been through the MV2040 consultation process, or that there is a clear plan for how the land would be used.

The report also states:

“The Moonee Valley Planning Scheme clause 21.04 – 10 Further Strategic Work
includes an item to “Undertake a feasibility study to examine the possible rezoning of
the Council Depot (when the depot site is relocated), the Rezoning should include
some Public Park and Recreation Zone”. It is now proposed that the entirety of the
land is retained for public use by being returned to open space.”

 

However, on September 11, MVCC endorsed a new draft clause removing reference to the relocation of the depot. It states:

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Council has told the MVBlog: “the work on the Maribyrnong River Cultural Precinct is expected to mean the land will remain as PPRZ and as such, this ‘further strategic work’ will not be required”. 

However, the land is currently zoned PUZ6 – so I am confused.

This has now been clarified: “we do not need to rezone the land to deliver the cultural precinct/open space uses expected”. 

But there is no clear public plan for the use of the land or how this would benefit residents across the municipality in line with the 20 minute neighbourhood concept. A highly centralised sports, culture, arts precinct here won’t benefit Strathmore, Airport West or Flemington. What is Council’s plan?

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Image: Moonee Valley Planning Scheme Local Provision, State Government of Victoria

Council would need to spend $2.5m on the site to make it suitable to be leased (please spend that money buying 177A Mt Alexander Rd instead!). There’s no indication of whether comparable spending is needed on other potential sites.

The future of the Transfer Station is not clear with the recommendation that the Transfer Station remain at the site for the foreseeable future “with options to be explored to improve its services”.

Health and Wellbeing Action Plan – progress report

An important plan and report – wish I had more time to read.

Updated Waste Management Plans – Guidelines for planning applicants and schedule of fees

Quinn Grove Reserve Synthetic Soccer Pitch

The fees currently charged for this pitch are higher than fees for comparable grounds – mainly inflated for local clubs and school groups. Belgravia Leisure currently manages the bookings. MVCC is proposing to adjust this when the EKLC closes for redevelopment in February 2019.

Update on Response to Notice of Motion 2016/15 – Sporting club or community organisation leases

This has been deferred due to lack of quorum.

Response to Notice of Motion 2017/09 – Crown Street Stables – Social Enterprise Review

Cr Marshall says “we have a beautiful facility” – “an incredibly valuable asset”.

Carried unanimously.

Response to Petitions – McPhail and Sherbourne Streets Traffic Issues and Buckley Street Level Crossing Notice of Motions 2018/234 and 2017/12

Some interesting traffic counts here for the increase in traffic on Sherbourne and McPhail streets following the opening of the Buckley street crossing.

According to Council figures, traffic has almost doubled in the AM peak in Sherbourne St and halved in Leslie. Traffic in McPhail street has jumped from 50 vehicles to almost 200 in the PM peak.

Cr Marshall says she won’t be participating so there is no quorum (quorum is 5 – that means 5 councillors are not here for this important item) and the matter is to be considered at the next available meeting.

Proposed discontinuance of road abutting 7 Etzel Street, Airport West

Carried unanimously.

Report on Audit Committee

Cr GM moves. Cr Cusack seconds. Nothing is said. There are giggles, however.

Cr Byrne says there were a number of items considered. She says she loves Audit Committee – though not as much as Cr GM.

Carried unanimously.

Purchase of eductor truck

Does this need to go through the Tender process?

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Marshall says it is a significant amount of money but that residents often make inquiries about drainage issues. A business case has shown that if Council buys its own truck there will be savings made. Cr Cusack says Council will be able to respond to issues more quickly.

Carried unanimously.

Notices of Motion Nil

Urgent Business Nope

Delegate reports None

Confidential Reports

And the meeting is unanimously closed.

Report on the Land Acquisition Committee

???  Please buy 177A Mt Alexander Rd. That is all.

 

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