Council Meeting 25 August

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Puckle St in 1906 from the State Library of Victoria

I wasn’t able to watch the first part of the meeting, and will catch up later. Someone else captured three of the questions from the public.

In answer to question a question about the Strathnaver carpark, it was noted that a revised capital works plan will be presented in early 2021.

Another question (from me!!) asked whether Council could include a report on removing barriers to uptake of solar in the scope of the Heritage Study 2020? The answer was, no, it’s outside the scope of this study.

A further questions was whether Council has economic modelling of the cost of climate impacts to inform decisions around whether it’s cheaper to prevent climate change or pay for the costs of adapting to it. The answer was that Council does not have economic modelling of climate impacts, however they have worked with Melbourne Water on rainfall modelling in relation to drainage infrastructure.

I missed the debate on 29-35 St Kinnord Street, Aberfeldie but was able to watch from the second agenda item below.

1/1 and 2/1 Melissa Street, Strathmore – Construction of five dwellings in a General Residential Zone and DDO8

Cr Lawrence moved a refusal speaking passionately about the negative impacts he believes will result from the application.

Cr Gauci Maurici referred to increased infill in the area, but the absence of 5 dwellings on any nearby sites. She said design features such as laundries upstairs indicated the development was trying to cram too many dwellings onto the site.

Cr Sharpe echoed criticisms of the “intensive use of the site” and concerns about traffic pressures.

Carried unanimously after no councillor spoke against.

121 Roseberry Street, Ascot Vale – two dwellings and alteration of access to Epsom Rd

Cr Marshall moved with some alterations to windows on the first floor – to be obscured – timber fence running the length of the site, and increased set back of the garage for dwelling two. Cr Cusack seconded.

Cr Marshall said three dwellings were proposed several years ago. The proposal has been redesigned that has reduced the bulk and provided 4 car parks on site. She said that officers had advised the access on to Epsom Rd would have improved sight lines.

Cr Cusack said he hoped the avoidance of an accident wouldn’t be a matter of luck. Cr Nation said the development was an acceptable balance.

Carried unanimously after no councillor spoke against.

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Image from MVCC Council Meeting papers

1 Mues Street, Keilor East – Construction of five dwellings

Cr Sipek moved an alternative motion to refuse the grant of a permit on grounds of overshadowing, overlooking, parking, and will be an overdevelopment. Cr Surace spoke against and the motion was carried unanimously.

Amendment C207moon – MPAC to 2040: Moonee Ponds Activity Centre Local Plan

Crs Marshall and Gauci Maurici declared conflicts of interest. Cr Surace moved a motion:

That Council resolves to:

  1. Note the Council officers’ responses to submissions received during the public exhibition period of Amendment C207moon (Attachment A).
  2. That no action be taken to make Puckle St one-way until the Puckle St level crossing has been resolved.

And then the rest of the motion as per the officers’ recommendation.

The Mayor says she does not have a written version of the motion and asks for an adjournment for five minutes. Cr Surace says it is only a change to Point A. Cr Nation says the stem of the sentence is just “noting the response” and he is not clear what the motion will achieve. The Mayor says governance officers do not have the motion and a vote is taken for an adjournment.

Unfortunately MVCC doesn’t seem to have a streamlined way of resuming the live Zoom streaming so I missed the beginning of the next section. Not sure what the motion is or whether it has changed.

Cr Sipek says he received phone calls from traders concerned about Puckle St being one-way. He says there are other solutions and the proposal has been rushed without a full analysis.

Cr Nation says he is confused about the motion and is concerned about a last-minute amendment to the motion that has not been reviewed by council officers and says this may jeopardise the process – because there has been no advice from experts. Cr Nation says “the bigger picture is that we as a council with state government fundings have done extensive work … we have the chance to develop a dynamic heart … worried with this last minute change … we may jeopardise the state government giving us the extension (on the height limits) … I don’t have a view on whether Puckle St should be one-way … we have had advice that a panel report … doesn’t make Puckle St one-way and that moving this motion doesn’t make Puckle St one-way … I’m really concerned”. Cr Nation doesn’t opt to amend the motion further.

Cr Cusack says the problem with the amended motion is that it is inconsistent with what is being proposed by the amendment. “The only reality we’ve got is advocacy … not to put the whole of the amendment of whether Puckle St is one-way to fold on whether … the level crossing is funded … failure of the Moonee Ponds Activity Centre plans since 2006 … the failure of the council not to purchase the market site (and then sell it) … we got a bucket of money from the state government to come up with a different way of thinking about things …. we’ve looked at building design and landscape design.” Cr Cusack foreshadows the officer’s recommendation and says there is a way to go forward with the level crossing within the officer’s recommendation. “We can’t tie Puckle Street’s development to one thing.”

Cr Sharpe asks how the addition to point A will impact the process. The Mayor asks whether the planning officer can respond. The officer says it would make the process difficult because many of the maps include Puckle St as one way. “It would affect the process.” Cr Sharpe points out that Cr Surace has not altered the maps – just noted it. The officer says the entire area would be impacted by Pucklet St remaining two-way.

Cr Sharpe says she understands Cr Surace’s intent and the concerns. She says that the motion does not intend to remove the one-at street from the proposal. She would like to see the plan widely communicated. She says it is the CBD (and Mecca) of Moonee Valley. She says the motion doesn’t change anything, just pauses it until it is proposed.

Cr Nation seeks a point of clarification given that his understanding is different to Cr Sharpe’s. Cr Surace says the intent of the motion is to address the bigger issue of the level crossing before dealing with the one-way aspect of the street.

Cr Surace says that the intention is to submit to the panel that Council would not take action on the one-way until the level crossing issue is resolved.

Cr Nation asks two further times what will be submitted to the panel. Cr Surace says the submission will be as documented with a note that Council will not act on the one-way aspect. Cr Surace says the matter should go to further consultation – which confuses Cr Nation further and he asks again about the intent of the motion.

He asks again whether the intent of the motion is to change the timeline and process of the Amendment to include community consultation. The officer says that the Caretaker period will stall any further consultation. If it is to go to the panel being two-way then documents being put to the panel would need to be changed. It would be delayed extensively.

The Mayor clarifies that that documents and reports have not been amended.

Cr Nation says that the officer has made clear the the amendment will push out the process. Cr Cusack asks a point of clarification about the implications of further consultation on the request for an extension of limits to the building heights.

The officer says the extension of the building heights can be dealt with separately, but also that there might be a chance that the Minister would refuse the extension.

Cr Sharpe clarifies that there is nothing in the motion seeking further consultation. She says she can understand the concerns, but she says that she sees the motion as not changing except that action would not be taken on Puckle St until the level crossing is resolved.

Cr Lawrence’s internet is unstable and it’s hard to hear him, but he talks about the difficulties for traders this year, and the impacts on traders. Cr Lawrence says delay is part of the democratic process.

Cr Nation now moves an amendment: “for the sake of clarity of process Council will still proceed to panel with the documents as per the attachments in the report”. Cr Cusack seconds. Cr Nation says he is most concerned about the entire process being abandoned.

Cr Surace says Cr Nation’s amendment repeats what is in her motion. the amendment is lost:  for, Byrne, Cusack, Nation; against, Sharpe, Sipek, Lawrence, Surace.

Cr Surace says she is concerned about the impact of the changes to Puckle St on traders in the centre.

Cr Surace’s motion is carried: for, Sipek, Lawrence, Surace, Sharpe; against, Byrne, Cusack, Nation.

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Amendment C200moon Heritage Controls – post-exhibition consideration of submissions 

Cr Marshall moved the motion as recommended by the officers. There were 120 submissions to the heritage controls. She says there are a range of things people can do to their properties without a permit. She says there are many requests from people to alter the status of properties, but that history has shown that it is advisable for the matters to go the panel who can then make recommendations about the heritage status of properties.

Cr Sharpe said that she acknowledges and respects the comments from residents who do not want their properties captured in a heritage overlay, and that these arguments can be put to the panel.

Carried unanimously.

Moonee Valley Heritage Study 2020

Cr Marshall moves the motion with a large number of additional properties in Moonee Ponds and Ascot Valet that have been nominated by Moonee Valley Heritage Action Group. Cr Sharpe seconds.

Cr Surace clarifies whether the nominations have come from community or from the owners. Cr Marshall clarifies that the nominations have been made by community members not by the property owners. “Who are these people to make comment about another person’s property?” she asks.

Cr Marshall says the heritage processes kick off rarely as the result of an owner’s nomination. She says it is usually the result of expert nominations. The owners will have a right to make a representation. The motion is carried unanimously.

There were a number of items that were passed unanimously.

Legislated Review of Delegation Framework and update to Authorisations 

This motion removes what I have called the ‘secret-land-purchasing-committee’, the Land Acquisition Committee, and, in the future, decisions on land acquisitions will be referred to the whole of council together with associated budget allocation requests.

Sport and Recreation Victoria Grant – Overland Reserve

Council was formally notified the Overland Reserve (oval 2) floodlight upgrade was successful in obtaining $130,000 through the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund. To deliver the floodlight and goal post realignment project in 2020/21, Council will need to bring forward $136,000 from the 2021/22 budget to 2020/21.

Notice Of Motion No. 2020/14 – Removal of Strathnaver carpark
from long-term capital works plan 

Cr Marshall moves her motion which was seconded by Cr Gauci Maurici. It has been removed from the developer contribution plan and the matter has been raised as one of concern for many years.

Cr Marshall says the removal of a green space for a hard surface is not something she can support, particularly so close to the creek facilitating further polluting run-off from storms. She also refers to the high cost and the need for sports teams to be supported to use sustainable transport.

Cr Gauci Maurici says that removing the car park does not impact on the growth of sport.  She says that asphalting a park is not a good use of money at this time. She also refers the Chain of Ponds Strategy. She says this should be done now because the long term capital works plan has not come back for revision.

Cr Cusack says the car park would be single use and the cost and water quality are important concerns.

Cr Surace says there needs to be a report on the usage and the alternatives – to consider alternatives for users. Cr Sipek says that COVID has prevented council from assessing whether the lower carpark is providing sufficient. He also says the money should be put into environmental plantings in the area.

The motion is carried unanimously.

Notice Of Motion No. 2020/15 – Refusal to participate in National Redress Scheme to support victims of child sexual abuse

Cr Marshall moves her motion – referring to organisations who were named in the Royal Commission and have not signed up to the Redress Scheme. State and federal sanctions have been flagged. Cr Marshall says we have organisations in Moonee Valley that have not signed up the the Redress Scheme. She says she saw this idea on Facebook – moved by a Councillor at Knox.

Cr Cusack says Council is the third level of government in the country and there is necessity to be consistent with the decisions of other levels of government.

Cr Surace seeks some clarification about how restrictions would be implemented. Cr Marshall says she hopes all relevant institutions do sign up and that the motion becomes redundant. it is carried unanimously.

Just a thought that maybe the grants processes at MV could make sure organisations have all of their Child Safe processes and practices in order. 

Appointment of Chief Executive Officer

The councillors closed the meeting to confidentially appoint the new CEO.

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