Council Meeting 27 November

Rose St

Intersection Buckley St and Rose St, September 2018   Photo: Rose Iser

Back to business: MV Council meeting tonight.  MVBlog won’t be able to be there in person, but will report from the recording post-event.

The MVBlog has now had a chance to listen to the recording and update the report below.

Crs Surace and Lawrence are apologies.

Three Crs have sought leave from Council for the final meeting of the year (11 Dec) and for the weeks before the summer break:

  • Cr Nation 1 Dec to 21 Dec,
  • Cr Marshal 4 Dec to 21 Dec,
  • Cr Sipek 8 Dec to 25 Dec.

Carried unanimously.

Note: This will leave Crs Byrne (who is 34 weeks pregnant), Cr Gauci-Maurici, Cr Cusack, Cr Lawrence and the Mayor. If anyone has a conflict of interest or is unable to attend the final meeting, or has a baby, MVCC will not have quorum (5) for the final meeting of the year.

It’s a bit unclear why three councillors need to take leave from now until Christmas – to be followed by a month of leave over summer. Maybe some explanations from councillors would help residents understand why leave has been sought.

Minutes are confirmed.

Conflict of interest: Cr Byrne has an indirect conflict in item 10.7.

Presentations: None.

Petition: 190 petitioners re TPG installation asking that it be located in an area away from homes. Cr GM says there has been some widespread community concern about TPG installations. Cr Marshall says there is need for greater oversight on the installations.

Questions: None

Reports:

  1. 15 Talbot Road, Strathmore – Construction of three dwellings

Cr GM moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Sipek seconds. Cr GM says the objections related to number of units and the height. She says the proposal still has some flaws, but it addresses the height and number of family-sized units. Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

The original proposal for four 3-storey and one 2-storey dwelling has been reduced to three 2-storey dwellings. There still seem to be some set-back, overshadowing and overlooking matters for these three bedroom homes. It’s not clear how the private open space requirements have been met, but arguably an improvement on the original plans, as shown below.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 9.59.47 am

Images showing original and final design, and final proposed footprint.  Screenshots taken from Moonee Valley City Council’s website – Council Meeting Agenda, Tuesday, 27 November, Appendices C & D – link: MVCC Agenda – Ordinary Council Meeting 

 

2. 2018 – 19 Capital Works Program Update

Cr Sipek moves the officer’s recommendation. Cr Marshall recommends he moves a slight amendment, but he reads the wrong one.

Take two – he adds resurfacing of Bowes Ave netball courts for $80K. Cr Byrne seconds.

Cr Sipek says MVCC has a comprehensive capital works program. “I think everyone knows what out capital works program has been so I will move the officers’ recommendation” – with the amendment.

Cr Byrne says MVCC has received $5.5m of grants. She says the netball courts in Bowes Ave are currently unsafe and need to be fixed. They will be “multi-lined” and will be accessible when not booked.

Cr Marshall says thing crop up outside of the budget process. She notes irrigation works in Rothwell Park and car park at Fairbairn. She mentions the CCTV installation at Flemington CC – she says this is primarily a staff safety matter (hmm, but the notes in the report suggested the CCTV was so that casual staff would not be needed out of hours. I will try to clarify as I’m not sure Flemington community will be enhanced by having no staff out of hours at the community centre. Does this then become a safety issue for users??). She also mentions that there was not enough support for the works in Princes St.

Cr Cusack says the capital works program is the biggest ever and that “spending a penny now” is important/ He thanks the officers for their expertise and oversight.

Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

This motion is for some additions to the capital works plan including:

  • $70K on Aberfeldie Park west oval to comply with Cricket Vic standards
  • $45K for new recycle bins for Queens, Woodlands and Riverside Parks
  • $10.8K on CCTV at Flemington Community Centre to replace casual workers for out-of-hours bookings because the rates of pay for casual workers have risen (hmmm…)
  • Drainage and safety works on several roads including Roberts Road , Essendon
  • $10K worth of solar panels at Clocktower
  • $20K on Fairbairn carpark
  • $35K for Rothwell Park irrigation
  • $53K on Bradshaw St community hall toilets
  • $20K for Riverside Park planting

It’s not clear why these changes were not included in the budget. Not sure about CCTV replacing casual workers at Flemington Community Centre.

In addition, $50K for street improvement in Princes St Flemington is being withdrawn due to lack of community support. I’ve put in a call to some Princes St residents to find out about the community consultation that closed on 5 October 2018 (in the middle of school holidays). Note: I’ve now spoken with three residents of Princes St, none of whom knew anything about $50K of street improvements. It was possibly a ‘threshold treatment’ at Racecourse Rd – but not sure.

3. Place Naming and Civic Recognition Policy

Cr Sipek moves an alternative motion with an amendment that all final decisions will be made by a special committee of Council. The Special comprises…

The Mayor calls for a seconder, but Cr Marshall asks for some explanation. She asks whether it is intended to be every single decision, and what will happen if Mayor and Deputy Mayor are from the same ward. The Mayor says there will be a report on Dec. 11 that will clarify this.

Cr Marshall suggests an amendment to deal with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. She says it “doesn’t make sense” otherwise.

Cr Marshall seconds. Cr Sipek says “I think the report speaks for itself that a report will be coming back, so happy to move the alteration for the report to be brought back”. Cr Marshall says it is important to have a Cr from each ward.

Cr Nation asks whether Council is adopting the policy but then a report is coming back re the procedure. He says this seems odd as the procedure is outlined in the policy. He says he is confused as to what Council is actually doing.

There is some discussion about this. An officer says the policy will be adopted, and then a report will come back so Council can decide the process. Cr Nation is not completely convinced. Cr GM weighs in and says she couldn’t find reference to the Special Committee in the policy either. Apparently this is in the wording of the motion. The officer suggests it all comes back in December. The Mayor is worried delaying it will hold up some decisions.

Cr Marshall suggests adding a point to deal with inconsistencies. But Cr Marshall has already seconded the motion. She can’t move an amendment – can she??? I will have to check the new meeting procedures. 

Cr Sipek says he is happy with the amendment. Finally someone asks whether it is a formal amendment. The Mayor says it is not a formal amendment.

No opposition – so the Mayor does not get to speak again. Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

The process and criteria for naming places are quite interesting – you can find the policy here.

4. Response to NoM 2018/17 – Commercial Car Hire

Cr Marshall moves the officer’s recommendation with an addition of point 6 to bring back a report to Council in 12 months, and include a review a of the parking permit policy with a revision of permits where they are used for car sharing. Cr Sipek seconds.

Cr Marshall says the original notice of motion originated from people being concerned about residents using their cars through car sharing platforms.  Cr Marshall says parking is at a premium so are concerned about cars being sued in this way. Cr Marshall says she was concerned about the O’Bikes and not wanting to be caught out on this issue. She thanks the officers for their report.

She says continued discussions are needed – and on a statewide basis. She says it is something that should be monitored, in light of the parking demands. She says it is similar to people selling their permit. And that sharing their car is part of people “abusing their permits through these sorts of platforms”.

She says we need to continue to reduce vehicle usage, but we also need to make sure people who are being opportunistic don’t reap financial reward at the expense of others.

Cr Nation says the report is different to what he expected. He says the report highlights the benefits of P2P and the way it can help to reduce car share. He refers to the way Moreland allows residents to apply for permits to participate in P2P car share. He says the information is useful to have. He also mentions O’Bikes.

Cr Cusack says “we don’t want to stop new initiatives”, so we can continue to address the number of cars on roads. Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

This report is in response to a notice of motion requesting “options to regulate and/or manage the issue of commercial car hire/share providers (such as Car Next Door) parking in residential streets”.

Car Next Door “enables cars owned by Moonee Valley residents to be used by ‘renters’ when the cars would otherwise be parked”. The report makes the good point that:

“The peer to peer (P2P) car share model … like Car Next Door, do not generally increase kerbside parking demand. An increase in parking demand would only occur when a resident’s car, that would normally be parked off-street, is parked on-street to make the vehicle more visible and accessible to renters.”

 

That is, the cars are allowed to be parked in the street by residents anyway, and the general business case for all car-share operators is that their existence drives private car-ownership down so fewer resident cars are in the street.

It’s just taking time for people to adopt new modes of transport. Traditional car-share operators require Council to provide spaces and there are a few around the municipality. The report is an interesting read.

5. Councillor Expenses Report – 1 July 2018 to 30 September 2018

Cr Sipek moves. Cr Byrne seconds. Cr Byrne says Crs also receive an allowance which can be used for conferences, even though the columns are looking empty. Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

Reporting councillor expenses may be driving down expenses, but this doesn’t necessarily make it easier for people of all socio-economic circumstances to take time away from work to be a councillor. The expenses policy is where changes can be made – and we saw a fair bit of debate about that (particularly regarding conference attendance) at a meeting earlier this year.

6. Proposed lease Strathmore Tennis Club Inc. over part of 44 Loeman Street, Strathmore

Cr GM moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Sipek seconds. Cr Byrne says community members might notice the differences between the rates for hiring different facilities, and that officers are working on this behind the scenes to improve equality. Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

This motion proposes the Strathmore Tennis Club be granted short term lease of the two new courts to align with their existing lease. Interestingly, the current lease is $288 per year for the existing four courts. I wonder if Council applies ‘peppercorn rates’ consistently across other sporting facilities?  And arts facilities??!!  And any other community facilities??!  Something to look into!

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

Cr Byrne leaves de to conflict of interest.

Cr Marshall moves. Cr Sipek seconds. Cr Marshall says the motion came out of discussions about a bowls club that has limited ability to do capital works. She says the tenancies in MVCC work in different ways with some having exclusive use, but obligations re capital works. She says the work being down to consider issues of equality and consistency are at the forefront of dealing with tenancies.

Cr Marshall says Council will need to think about how it deals with tenancies. The grants to do capital works are piecemeal. More work is needed.

Cr Cusack says some of the land leases are very old. He says this is important to making MV2040 work.  Carried unanimously.

Notes on the item:

And interestingly, the agenda item that follows does appear to present an opportunity to check in on the consistency of ‘peppercorn rents’. Although the report being presented on leases seems to focus on capital works and accessibility (also important!).

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.53.40 am

Screenshot taken from Moonee Valley City Council’s website – Council Meeting Agenda, Tuesday, 27 November, page 66 – link:  MVCC Agenda – Ordinary Council Meeting 

8. Proposed disposal of 27 Kittyhawk Court, Airport West

Cr Sipek moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Byrne seconds. Cr Byrne says it has been to Council before. $140K need to be spent to ready the land for sale. Residents can object in the process. She says it is an unusable piece of land. She promotes the Airport West rail-link. She says it is not an appropriate piece of land for Council to hold on to. The money will going to the open space fund.

Cr Marshall says she has reservations about selling open space. She acknowledges that this is not particularly usable, but she has reservations. She says Council has a large amount of money in the open space reserve which can be spent on buying open space. She says Council should probably have a position on not selling open space.

What do the local residents think???

Cr Cusack says the creation of pocket parks is important for the community. He says thank goodness for the strange little shaped parks. He says he will support the ward councillors, but that land can’t be got back. He refers to Strathaird Reserve.

Cr Sipek says he agrees with Cr Marshall but that the land would need a flying fox to be used. Not sure he is selling it well for residential use!!

Against: Crs Marshall and Cusack.  Carried.

Notes on the item:

Three years ago, Council resolved to rezone 27 Kittyhawk Crt, Airport West to residential (from open space). It looks as though it might have been part of confidential agenda items, although this might be incorrect:

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.59.51 am

Screenshot taken from Moonee Valley City Council’s website – Council Meeting minutes, Tuesday 24 November, page 37 – link: November 2015 MVCC Council Agenda

The report to Council notes that:

“A Planning Scheme Amendment was completed in August 2017, to rezone the Land
from PPRZ to R1Z. The statutory procedures in accordance with Act have not yet commenced, including the publishing of a public notice.”

 

It looks like residents will now be able to lodge formal objections to the sale of the land – but it has already been rezoned.

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

Cr Marshall says she won’t be participating for reasons previously disclosed.

Cr GM moves. Cr Nation seconds the following motion to propose mitigation measures and note note the issues that continue to be outstanding (the mitigation measures and the outstanding issues can be seen in Appendices to the meeting agenda or via links below):

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 2.04.21 pm

Screenshot taken from Moonee Valley City Council’s website – Council Meeting Agenda, Tuesday, 27 November, page 76 – link:  MVCC Agenda – Ordinary Council Meeting 

Cr GM says it is nine months since traffic reports were promised and these reports are still not available, and won’t be provided. “No one could tell our community how they would be impacted,” she said. She says MVCC has staff cataloguing problems, doing their own traffic report and doing the work the LXRA should have been doing.

Cr GM says she wants to see how other streets have also been affected. She says she is concerned about how Council can address the issues without funding. She thanks the Council staff for their work. She also thanks the residents for alerting Council to the issues.

The mitigation measures are subject to community consultation.

Cr Nation says he hopes the election does not mark the end of advocacy on the area. He says people in wheelchairs still can’t access the station properly and that trees might be lost.

Cr Cusack says he doesn’t see this the same way, however, the issue is the continuing process by which Council can get action. “I don’t think as a Council we can keep going through a history lesson. We need a plan that is proactive.” He says issues for people with disabilities exist across all trams and trains in the municipality.

Cr Byrne says she supports the motion, but there are also streets that have a decrease in traffic movements – including Leslie Rd. She says it hasn’t been a great process, but that Council is meeting fortnightly with LXRA. She says if Council had taken the State Government to court then these meetings might not be taking place.

Cr GM closes (even though I don’t think there has been any dissent), she says it would have been good if the project had gone more slowly and not been rushed ahead of the election.

Carried unanimously.

Notes on item:

This report was brought to the last meeting, but quorum was lost and the item had to be deferred to this meeting. The report contains interesting data about changes in traffic movements in the area: 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.

Locals in the area might like to have a look at the proposed traffic mitigation measures. I’m not sure what consultation has been undertaken with the petitioners about these mitigation measures.

10. Assemblies of councillors

Cr Sipek moves. Cr GM seconds. Carried unanimously.

Notice of Motion no. 2018/20 Immediate consultation with community groups, organisations and stakeholders regarding Council’s resolution to implement paid parking

 Cr Nation moves. Cr Marshall seconds.

Cr Nation says he acknowledges that the decision of Council was made previously, even though he voted against it. He says the problem with two of the sites is that paid parking at those sites doesn’t fall within the criteria set out for paid parking. Parking at the Boulevard is mainly for junior sporting events, not for public transport. Parking along Mt Road impacts the Moonee Ponds Bowls Club.

The paid parking in these areas does seem a bit odd.

Cr Nation refers to the section below about consultation. He says there was no mention in the reports about working with community clubs and organisations that might be negatively impacted.

Cr Marshall says there was some arbitrariness to the sites. She says it is hard to provide a clear reason for the choice of sites. She says the lack of clear strategic basis for the choice of sites is a problem.

Should paid parking ever be introduced near community facilities???

Cr GM asks whether she can add a point C. The Mayor says it needs to be a formal movement. Cr GM asks to asks to add a reference to Cross Keyes users.

Cr Nation queries the need for it to be a formal amendment.

The officer says the only way to make changes to the motion is to move a formal amendment (but what about earlier int he meeting???). Cr Nation raises the earlier amendment. The officer says this should have been a formal amendment.

Cr Nation says “we are inconsistently applying our meeting procedures”. Yes – says the officer.

Cr Marshall asks, as a point of clarification, whether Cross Keys could just be read into the motion.

Cr Sipek says there is a motion up there. (Why all the fuss??? Why not just move the amendment and get on with it???!!)

The Mayor says there is a Cr who has moved an amendment. Cr Sipek seconds the amendment. Cr Gm Speaks to the amendment. Cr Sipek says he is in favour of the motion, but he is concerned about the word “immediate” consultation.

Cr Nation asks whether the amendment is being debated or the whole motion.

The Mayor says the amendment is being debated. Cr Sipek continues to express his concern about immediate consultation before Christmas: “we might not get the right people”. Cr Marshall says the officers will be consulting in February.

Cr Sipek says he doesn’t understand why the consultation is being rushed before Xmas when the consultation is in February.

Cr Marshall asks for clarification on the meaning of “immediate”. Officers would send out letters immediately regarding consultation in February.

Cr Sipek says he is confused about when the consultation will be. The Mayor says it is immediate.

“So we’re going to have immediate consultation before Christmas?” asks Cr Sipek.

“Yes,” says the Mayor.

“Well that concerns me. Why are we rushing in to having paid parking straight away?” asks Cr Sipek.

Other councillors erupt with laughter: “Good question!”

Cr GM asks whether the immediacy concern is re Cross Keys?

Now there is great confusion. Cr Nation speaks to the point of immediacy. he says the CEO will write tomorrow to the clubs and community groups to make them aware of what is occurring – because there has been no communication about the paid parking since 11 September. “These clubs haven’t been notified.”

Cr Sipek says something … There is much discussion across the table – mostly about point of clarifications. Cr Cusack  drags debate back to the amendment: “we’re wasting time and energy”. Cr Marshall speaks but her microphone is off. She is concerned about whether other groups also need to be listed. She foreshadows an amendment to list other groups.

OK – this has got ridiculous and I’m not entirely sure my time is being well spent listening to this. Will finish soon.

I will endeavour to finish …

The amendment is carried unanimously. Back to the original motion. Cr Marshall is now moving an additional amendment which is a list of other groups and clubs including users of the playgrounds. (But I’m not sure she is allowed to as a the seconder of the original motion). There is now a long discussion where councillors are adding in about twenty community groups.

Now – the Mayor realises that Cr Marshall can’t move the motion … the Mayor suggests Cr Cusack moves the motion. Cr Marshall says it has already been moved. Cr Nation says the rules have already been ignored.

Councillors … this is looking really bad …

Cr GM asks if she can move the motion. The officer says she can. Cr Marshall says her motion is in the ether. Cr GM moves a motion including a phrase that would include everyone.

There is no seconder. Cr Sipek suggests it lapses. Cr Cusack seconds. Cr Marshall now speaks. She says it has been useful to go through all of the groups that might be impacted. She didn’t want any groups to feel they had been overlooked.

Cr Byrne says this is getting absurd and ridiculous. She says some of the groups are quite a distance from parking bays. She says it would almost be better to put in signs … (like the very original motion…. this really is absurd.)

Cr Nation speaks to the amendment (the clock says there is still 22 minutes … this can’t possibly go on for 22 more minutes…). He says consultation means formal discussions. “I think we are overdue in starting formal discussions with these groups.”

Cr Sipek says he is “flabbergasted”. “Consultation means speaking to people” – not “notifying”. “What is the push? The officers have a plan for consultation in February.”

Agst: Crs Sipek, Byrne, Sharpe. Carried.

Cr GM has not spoken to the motion and so speaks in support of paid parking in small pockets around shopping centres and public transport. She said council made a decision to improve turn over around some shopping areas. Some areas are different and may need to be considered differently.

Cr Cusack says that there are many examples across Melbourne where people use amenities and have to pay for parking. He cites a few examples of where people have to pay for parking: “If this is a Trojan Horse to throw out paid parking in these areas, then I am concerned,” he says. The hours for paid parking can be adjusted. “are vested interests turn around and say we don’t want it at all, it’s going to be difficult to go the other way.” he says parking needs to be shared and timing can be negotiated.

Cr Byrne says that when Council voted on paid parking, there were a variety of different types of parking and users that Council was trying to monitor and run some trials. She says there has been some angst. She says some people are just dead set against paid parking. She wonders why is can’t be notification before Xmas and then consultation in February. She would prefer paid parking along the Boulevard to be scrapped. Except that if there is a parking problem, there could be a trial. On Mt Road, the number of spots could be capped. This is only a trial, she says.

She foreshadows an alternative motion – she asks if she can do that on notice of motion. The officer says the best way would be to lodge a new notice of motion.

She asks if she can move an amendment to remove the Boulevard parking from the trial.

The Officer says she’s not sure what Cr Byrne is asking. Cr Marshall says she is asking to rescind a council motion.

Cr Byrne is told this would translate as a part recision. “I thought I’d try,” says Cr Byrne.

Cr Marshall asks a point of clarification: “there are a could of things that have made me concerned”. Consultation is a series of conversations.

The Officer says the intention was in February to start a range of conversations with the community. She says officers are often criticised if they conduct consultation over Christmas.

Cr Sipek asks a point of clarification: “what’s the likelihood of doing full consultation before Christmas”.

Clubs = easy. Users = harder, Says the officer.

“So there’s no likelihood of consulting before Christmas,” says Cr Sipek.

The Mayor says the question has been answered. “It would be challenging.”

Cr Nation asks a point of clarification about the consultation.

Cr Sipek is cranky “Madam Mayor can I please speak.”

Cr Nation calls a point of order. The facts Cr Sipek has outlined are incorrect, he says. “Can I say my point of order.” The facts are not that parking meters will be implemented by Christmas, says Cr Nation.

Cr Sipek disputes this saying the motion says it will be done immediately – before Christmas.

The Mayor notes the work the officers have done on this. She says she is not even sure the officers have earmarked all of the car spaces. She also says there was no need to spell out all of the users of the parks and areas in the motion.

Agst: Cr Sipek, Sharpe. Motion carried.

That motion took 50 minutes.

Notes on item:

At the meeting in September, Council approved a trial period of paid parking at various locations across the municipality. The September report noted, with respect to consultation, that:

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 11.17.10 am

Screenshot taken from Moonee Valley City Council’s website – Council Meeting minutes, Tuesday 11 September, page 77 – link: MVCC Agenda – Ordinary Meeting 11 September 

At the meeting in September, community consultation was not a big item of discussion or objection. Crs Marshall and Nation voted against the proposal after expressing concerns about whether the paid parking would have the desired effect of changing behaviour.

There should be an interesting discussion at Council tonight on this matter given the local MP weighed in on the issue (promoting a petition against the paid parking on Facebook), and the original proposal included a plan for receiving feedback during the trial, but proceeded without any consultation … which is sort of understandable given that no-one like having to pay for parking … which is meant to be the motivator for behaviour change.

Financial levers to change behaviour do need to be well constructed to achieve their purpose. It’s a difficult local issue.

Urgent Business

Cr Sipek suggests that as a matter of urgent business, Council consider writing to the newly elected government and representatives – but the Mayor says this is procedural, not urgent, and she letters ready to go on her desk.

Delegates Reports

Cr Cusack suggests an explanation regarding the orange shirts – the Mayor closes the meeting and explains the shirts are part of MVCC’s campaign to stamp out violence against women.

The end

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