Council meeting 22 July 2019

Disclaimer
These are brief notes from the council meeting taken by myself quickly and are my interpretation, and are not an official record of the council meeting.

Council contracted TPG for optical fibre services after a competitive tender process. Officer reported that council uses optical fibre to connect council buildings and other remote council centres. TPG was considered the best value option for council that met council’s requirements.

Cr Tim Dark raised a question about TPG’s social services. The officer replied that TPG expressed interest in this and that the form of this would be clarified going forward.


The tender process for the reconstruction of Homeleigh & Chapel Rds, Keysborough. Cr Matthew Kirwan asked about the soon to be built Keysborough South Primary School and whether the work would be completed in time for the opening of the school.

The officer replied that the project is needed to make sure that all the required road and associated facilities are ready for the opening of the school. This includes earthworks, line marking, traffic markings. The selected contractor was experienced and had the best price for the works.

Cr Dark asked what type of concrete would be used for the kerb. The officer took the question on notice.

Cr Maria Sampey questioned whether the quality of the job is sacrificed for price. Cr Sampey was concerned that when contracts are subcontracted, the quality of the work may be inferior. Cr Sampey asked who supervises the work to make sure it is up to standard? The officer replied that a civil engineer supervises the contractor and makes sure that the quality is up to standard.

Cr Dark asked about the differential between the budgeted amount and the actual amount spent, as it appears that this project will be delivered under budget. The officer replied that if there is a surplus from the project, then the surplus is returned to the overall council budget.

Cr Kirwan said that this was a vital project for local residents. Cr Kirwan commended officers for the fast-tracking of the project. Lighting will be a separate project.


The council’s Freedom of Information Policy was readopted with a change moved by Cr Kirwan. Cr Kirwan explained that his alternate motion allowed for residents to see the number of FoI requests in the annual report.


Council refreshed its membership of the Multicultural and People Seeking Asylum Advisory Committee. Cr Kirwan explained that this has happened after the merging of two previous committees. Mayor Cr Roz Blades thanked Cr Kirwan and Cr Chea for their work on the committee.


Cr Dark asked about a correspondence item regarding dumping in the green wedge. The officer replied he will circulate to councillors correspondence between the council and the minister. The officer added that we don’t receive large-scale dumping. Some dumping is done by rogue builders with contaminated building materials.


Cr Dark asked about the packaged liquor policy. The officer said that the group of South East Melbourne councils will meet and confer regarding a new direction.

Cr Sampey asked why there is a delay on correspondence that is reported to council meetings. The officer said that the time delay was so that the correspondence could be collated and circulated to councillors prior to the council meeting.


Cr Kirwan spoke on a land swap in Dandenong with Development Victoria. This allowed Council to obtain both the Harmony Square and the Precinct Energy Plan site. Cr Kirwan said that these are key sites in Dandenong. Cr Kirwan said that the Precinct Energy Plan site has many opportunities for use, and could possibly be joined with the planned new art gallery at the prior Masonic Hall site.

Reports and questions from councillors

Cr Sampey mentioned that she had heard that people are getting injured at the Dandenong Oasis pool. Cr Sampey asked who maintains the pool. The officer replied that the YMCA is contracted for this. The Mayor replied that she and Cr Long are on the facilities committee and that these types of maintenance matters could be raised at this committee.


Cr Zaynoun Melhem spoke about the dog off-leash area at Tirhatuan Park. Cr Melhem asked about a “small dog” off-leash park and whether there is any progress on this. Cr Sampey said there had been a petition about this. The officer replied that he will recirculate the information he has regarding Tirhatuan Park to councillors.

Cr Melhem raised a resident’s complaint about a dumped car in the resident’s driveway. Apparently, Council can’t do anything until Tuesday. Cr Melhem said the children in the family are distressed by the abandoned car. Cr Melhem asked if there is anything that Council can do to assist this situation. The officer replied that there is a due process to be followed, that a sticker is placed on the car, and the car is then removed in 7 days. In extreme circumstances, Council can act more quickly.

Cr Melhem asked whether the resident could arrange for the car to be towed and for the resident to bill the council. The officer said this is not possible.


Cr Kirwan said that this year’s NAIDOC event was the best ever and thanked staff for their involvement.

Cr Kirwan said he attended the greenhouse alliance conference and that the conference was the biggest ever, with 300 councillors and council staff. Cr Kirwan mentioned that Bass Coast Council has zero carbon emissions.

Cr Kirwan said that he met with the Oasis Otters swimming club regarding their needs in the proposed new aquatic facility.

Cr Kirwan queried the free parking trial in Lonsdale Street, Dandenong. Cr Kirwan asked how do we determine whether the trial is successful, as we don’t currently have accurate data such as that obtained from parking sensors. The officer replied that parking observation studies are done, parking sensors once installed could provide more data. The officer said that some traders are actively promoting free parking which is a good development.

Cr Kirwan asked – when is the earliest that parking sensors could be installed? Also, do we have baseline data? The officer replied that the anecdotal data will need to be assessed along with future parking sensor data.

Cr Kirwan asked about future plans for Dandenong Park and the Woodcock Reserve part of the plan. The officer replied that there has been some success with negotiations with VicRoads and expects to the process to take 6 to 12 months. Hopefully, the Minister will expedite this as soon as possible. The officer listed elements of the plan and said that final elements will be determined once the impact of the level crossing removal is known.

Cr Kirwan asked about a second pedestrian bridge that would make access to the playground quicker.

Cr Kirwan asked when there will be community consultation on the Municipal Strategic Statement. The officer replied that each council will need to complete the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning led translation of the planning scheme. CGD is scheduled as part of the third group of councils. Officers are enquiring as to timing and to the form of the translation, but this has not been confirmed. The officer said that CGD was in a similar situation as other councils as to the level of details.

Cr Kirwan asked about whether electric vehicle charging will be available in the planned new Springvale Hub. The officer replied that there is currently a charging station at the Balmoral Ave carpark in Springvale. The officer replied that a draft policy will provide options on the types of charging stations and will be forthcoming to councillors.

Cr Kirwan asked when wattles will be planted along the railway line, and whether the level crossing removal project will delay this further. The officer replied that there has been meetings between the LXRA and council about when these will be planted.

Cr Kirwan mentioned the planning application at 39 Ellt Cres, Noble Park and the recent article about the VCAT decision. Cr Kirwan asked whether and why our lawyer did not put importance on the lack of a visitor car park. The officer replied that council’s submission was extensive, including the lack of a visitor car park. The officer did not necessarily agree with the VCAT member’s interpretation of council’s representation at the meeting.

Cr Kirwan asked about correspondence listed in the council agenda. Cr Kirwan also mentioned the joint council submission on packaged liquor outlets and said that this is an important issue. Cr Kirwan said the Minister’s rejection was a significant setback for the policy. Cr Kirwan asked the officer whether the Minister has rejected the direction of the policy outright, or whether we believe the Minister rejected the form that the policy was taking. The officer gave a history of the formation of the multi-council policy and meetings with the department. The officer said that all local members of parliament haven’t been briefed yet and that future direction options will be brought to councillors forthwith.

Cr Kirwan also asked about the delay for correspondence to be reported at council meetings, and whether correspondence could be treated as a late item.


Cr Sean O’Reilly said that the Municipal Association is front and centre representing our sector on the recycling situation, some would say crisis with hopefully more news to follow. Cr O’Reilly will be attended a MAV Board meeting Friday week with more news to follow on this and the reaction of councils to mandated single-member wards.

Cr O’Reilly asked that when parking sensors are implemented, that the Director also consider increasing time limits to mitigate backlash against parking sensor introduction. Part of the backlash against parking meters in Springvale was due to the more efficient enforcement of time limits.


Cr Loi Truong reported that the recent South Eastern Melbourne Vietnamese Associations Council (SEMVAC) function raised $43K for the community work that SEMVAC does, mentioned that SEMVAC does not receive public funding and that council should look at ways to advocate for more funding for SEMVAC. Cr Truong thanked Council for its support to date.


Cr Youhorn Chea reported that he also attended the SEMVAC fundraiser. Cr Chea said that it was a good night with great support from the Vietnamese and Chinese communities. Cr Chea suggested that organisations like this should consider buying their own office, and Cr Chea listed community groups that have bought their own office. Cr Chea said that community groups should plan to buy earlier rather than later due to land prices increasing over time. Cr Chea said that SEMVAC was well deserving of support.

Cr Chea attended an event celebrating the life and work of the late Dr Kem Ley, and gave a brief account of Dr Ley’s history and visits to Australia. Cr Chea said approximately 600 people attended.

Cr Chea asked why the underground passage (subway) at Springvale Road near Springvale Train Station has been closed for the last few days.

Cr Chea asked about Hillcrest Grove, Springvale and whether we need to restrict parking to one side only. Cr Chea said many parents of students at Killester College are blocking Hillcrest Grove during school pickup time. Another contributing factor is congestion being caused by the new library development. The officer suggested she meet with Cr Chea to go through the traffic changes, including signalisation, that is planned.


Mayor Cr Roz Blades mentioned past drug action committees in Springvale and requested a section of the new Springvale Community Hub be used to remember the work that these committees have done in the past. Many of these people are no longer with us and should be remembered for their service to the community. Cr Blades thanked people for their contribution to the Springvale Benevolent Society and asked that contributions continue.

Springvale North-East Quadrant

Affected area is:

Google maps link

What’s the problem?

Drivers living in this area that need to travel north up Springvale Road, have to turn onto Lightwood Road or Springvale Road. But there’s no traffic lights to help with these turns.

Resolution by Greater Dandenong Council

On 8 July 2019, Cr Sean O’Reilly moved the a motion at the City of Greater Dandenong council meeting. The motion was passed unanimously by council.

Councillor Sean O’Reilly at council meeting
Notice-of-Motion-No.71-Springvale-North-East-Quadrant

Media references

What does this mean?

It means that council believes that this area is a problem.

It means that council has officially adopted an advocacy position towards organisations such as VicRoads and the Victorian Government.

It means that council has committed to resourcing further evidence gathering to support council’s advocacy position.

Examples

Accident cnr Lightwood Road and Lindsay Williams Crossing – occurred on 15 July 2019

Kate Durham’s speech on Dandenong

Artist Kate Durham gave a speech strongly endorsing the City of Greater Dandenong’s support of asylum seekers and refugees.

Speech at the opening of Home Here and Now at Walker St Gallery, Dandenong, 2 July 2015:

By Kate Durham

Image may contain: 1 person
Kate Durham at Walker Street Gallery, Dandenong
Hello Dandenong. Defiant Dandenong, look at you, how you’ve grown. I remember you, but not like this. Dandenong you are like a council of nations. Here in this intricate city is an Ark, as if from the bible, representatives of every breed, clan or culture are assembled here, a gathering has taken place, Moses would be pleased. But what did this city know of the bewildering displacement, the loss of art and cultivation, the self-expression or the needs of the people of the world? Or how to welcome their tentative steps towards a cautious resettlement, in an often hostile terrain? 

What is the purpose of the shelter, the vessel, the shield you have made here? The purpose is a very human one: to allow people to represent and to reproduce themselves, and their lives; to find passage to future generations, to stretch their allotted time and space on this ground, to leave a sea of turmoil. Like those animals in the Ark, people seek, if not deliverance from a place of evil, then a place to stay and to be, the way a creature needs a habitat. 

The people of the well-named “Greater Dandenong” recognised as an opportunity, other’s need to find a resolution to the search, a nest, a home, a full stop. With them, they also knew those exotic people would bring their freight of ancestry, their knowledge, their joke-bags, their grievance and losses, fears and expectations. 

Their great enterprise will be to flourish, but also to pass on an indefinable essence, to pass it on, and to pass it on. Like the game Pass The Parcel: here is my gift, it may get smaller, but keep it, please keep it. 

I’m picturing Dandenong, twenty years from now. Take yourself there now, on a little mental voyage. You may discover, that for the first time in a long while, white people, and certainly white females like me, even with the price of a ticket, can no longer travel to more than a quarter of the world’s surface, it’s prohibited or at least risky. White people are astonished, they have been the ones fussing over, visas, tickets and border control. We, no longer rule the world. we start to experience ostracism, mistrust and boundaries, like those immigrants only a generation ago. 

The travel Industry has not shut down, a vast commercial machine like that won’t rest or die, it will simply restrict or invent our horizons in a manner that suits its business model. They are already doing it. Travel is re-focussing, its offering has changed. In the ’70s the idea was to experience otherness, other cultures, other vistas. Nowadays its imperative to experience more about YOU. You, trekking, you on a mountain. you, snorkelling, you chilling on a beach, any beach. You taking a short trip around Europe within the sanitary and speedy confines of an ersatz Las Vegas: Disneyland for grown-ups, time-poor and afraid of anything but the highlights…

Some of you and some of these artists will remain here in Dandenong. Most of you will possess far more than highlights, you will have the fine grain, the memory, the advice of your former politics and parents. You will have a culture that is not thin, not dilute, but strengthened by its hybridity. Dandenong will be well known for its cultural curiosity and learning. 

The artists in this show have something in common, mostly their otherness. In the future, artists like Valamanesh will not have such close, direct insight into Islamic Art and its cosmic gaze, but they’ll have this artist to guide them so the past won’t be so misunderstood. I’ve followed this artist for a while, admiring his cool austerity and wit.

I also know and have desired artworks by Guan Wei, also witty, with an outsider’s idiosyncratic eye in relation to Australia. 

Rhubaba Haider’s work spoke immediately to me of her feminine Hazara heritage. She has morphed that knowledge into something strong yet fragile and contemporary, and philosophical. Whilst retaining a great deal of a typical Hazara woman’s discipline and personal restraint. 

Khaled Sabsabi‘s work turns like a Dervish on Sufi themes, that strange metaphysical branch of Islam which is becoming endangered. Thank you Khaled for preserving it. 

Gosia Wlodarczak’s unsettled lines following and chasing life, restless and unfixable, charting her relationship to objects. She makes a cartographic record over time and space.

Kosar Majani’s work is highly symbolic and resonant. It speaks of unrelenting rituals and repetitions that we’ve never known or encountered, in our young country. 

20 years from now we may find ourselves grateful that Greater Dandenong ignored the “Team Australia” slogans of some of the worst leadership known in this country. That Prime Minister tried to frighten us about the living and cultural aspirations of others, demanding to know whose side we were on, challenging us to mistrust foreigners or the unfamiliar.

Fortunately, we barely remember that Prime Minister, he left no relics or artefacts. Unlike these artists who will again join us in a gathering just like this to fill this once slight and shallow space with all our lives, heredity, children, art, adventures and exploration on the vast subject of US and WE. Not THEM or THEY. 

Thank you Dandenong, dear Dandenong: you are the Ark. Pass it on, pass it on.

Taking photos of people in public

I regularly take photos at events I attend. Where possible, I take photos from the back so that people, particularly children, are not identifiable. The photos are for my councillor social media pages including https://www.facebook.com/councillorseanoreilly.

It is not always possible to seek permission for photographs. Legally, photos of anyone in public are allowable, as explained in the following links:

  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-16/what-law-says-about-taking-photos-of-people-in-public/9641488
  2. https://www.artslaw.com.au/info-sheets/info-sheet/street-photographers-rights/
  3. http://bit.ly/2OTVDWp

My commitment

As I respect that some people do not want photos published, I commit to deleting any photos of yourself or people related to you that you object to. Please let me know which photos you request to be deleted, and I commit to deleting all copies.

Please phone me on 0422 523 258 if you wish to discuss this further.

Official council photos

Council generally has a sign up at most events regarding official council photos and your right to object. If you wish to query a photo taken by the council photographer, please email council at council@cgd.vic.gov.au

Question: cars blocking driveways

The following is an edited summary of the response I received from the Director regarding parking issues.

While Stopping on or across a driveway (or any other access for vehicles to or from adjacent land) is an offence under the Victorian Road Rules (Sec. 198 (2)) there is however no distance stipulated in the Victorian legislation.

There are exceptions to this such as dropping off or picking up a passenger, ensuring the driver does not leave their vehicle unattended and moving the vehicle on as soon as possible or within two minutes afterwards.

This information is readily available on a number of websites should people seek it with examples provided below.
https://www.racv.com.au/on-the-road/driving-maintenance/road-safety/road-rules/parking-and-stopping.html

We do have a couple of brochures on Council’s website in relation to a couple of matters which have been ‘high profile’ of late. Please see the following link:
http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/63/parking

https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/parking

Can residents report an incident with a photo, and then an infringement be issued by council?

Council officers would not issue an infringement notice based solely on a picture attached to a report from a resident. The matter would , however, be rostered for a council patrol once a resident’s Snap Send Solve is received.

While the council could roster some shifts in the future to cover some of these times in the future, I would also encourage residents to contact Victoria Police should the matter fall outside of our council patrol hours. This information is provided to customers by the council’s after-hours service provider should they contact the council after business hours. Victoria Police are authorised to issue infringements for Victorian Road Rules offences.

Recycling locations

Frankston Regional Recycling and Recovery Centre
20 Harold Road, Skye
(off Ballarto Road, opposite the Skye Recreation Reserve)
Phone: 1300 322 322
Open: seven days a week, 8am-4pm
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day

Knox Transfer Station and Recycling Centre
George Street, Wantirna South (Melway reference 72 D3)
Phone: 9887 4222
Open: seven days a week from 7.30am–4.30pm (closed: Christmas Day, Good Friday)

SITA Australia / Outlook Waste Transfer and Recycling Centre
274 Hallam Road, Hampton Park (Melway reference 129 F1)
Phone: 9799 6277

Monash Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Centre
390 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill (Melway reference 70 H8)
Phone: 9518 3767
Open: seven days a week from 7.30am–4pm (closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Anzac Day before 12pm)

Question: Rubbish dumping

Good Morning Sean,

Having been a long time resident of Springvale, I have noticed that a lot of residents are treating certain areas as dumping grounds.

It appears that anywhere where there appears to be a higher density of people (i.e. flats/units), there seems to be more rubbish. The creek is always full of rubbish whether it be a shopping trolley, a tv, shoes, bags etc. So naturally when a downpour occurs, that all ends up being pushed downstream thus polluting our waterways. The fencing next to the railway lines (along Newcomen Rd) also seems to attract its fair share where I have seen mattresses, tyres etc. This is just one area – I imagine there are plenty of others within the suburb.

Ideally, as people seem to be lazy and find dumping easier than calling for a collection, the council needs to implement a regular inspection of the city and clean up as rubbish is just unsightly and an environmental issue.

Perhaps the free once-yearly collection on a standard date should be re-instated along with allowing each household one extra free collection a year (one that needs to be booked via the council). This could be more appealing to residents.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email and I hope something can be done to help rectify the situation.


Answer

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions.

The problem is quite well defined. Solutions are harder to come by. Rubbish dumping is quite hard to combat as the culprits do it out of sight.

Council recently discussed the cost and efficacy of once yearly collection. My recollection is that it wasn’t supported – it would cost the council an extra million dollars at least that would be passed on to ratepayers in the waste charge.

We have and are trying new initiatives such as in the following links. A surprising piece of advice when I asked the council officers involved was that these initiatives do not seem the impact rubbish dumping. The initiatives just make it more convenient for residents that are already doing the right thing.

Your suggestion of regular inspections & clean up is also something I’ve raised, but it was not supported due to the cost. We do have hotspots that are regularly inspected and cleaned up, but to inspect the whole municipality on a regular basis would cost a lot.

http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/30827/pop-up-drive-thru-recycling-days

http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/30826/homecycle-one-off-kerbside-collection

http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/25566/littering-and-illegal-rubbish-dumping

Regards

Cr Sean O’Reilly

Question: trucks parking on properties

What is the size limit for trucks, where they can or are allowed to have them on the properties? If they are bigger than 3 tonnes or 5 tonnes I believe they may be illegally parked on the street, is that correct?

The maximum weight for a truck to be parked in a residential street or on a residential property is 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or 7.5 metres in length.  A permit may be issued for a larger truck where it is parked on a residential property, however, permits are not issued for larger trucks to park in residential streets. As such, any truck exceeding 4.5 tonnes or 7.5 metres in length that is parked on a residential street would be doing so illegally.

Cars blocking driveways

Council issues parking infringement notices (fines) for vehicles parked over driveways, however, Council does not have the authority to issue fines for most other traffic offences. The Police may be able to enforce other traffic offences if resources permit. If there are particular locations of concern, the police generally recommend contacting Crimestoppers at https://www.crimestoppersvic.com.au/report-a-crime/ or on 1800 333 000.

Events

Following is info on running a community event.  Accurate as at 15/09/2017

All community groups, organisations or individuals that would like to host an event in our municipality would be required to submit an application if the event is held on Council land.

Please see below details outlining the application process including information, application forms and deadlines. This information is available on Council’s website http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/26140/events-in-council-parks-and-reserves

Events with more than 200 attendees

Events attracting over 200 attendees on Council land in the City of Greater Dandenong require an event permit.

To commence an application for an event permit, complete the intention to hold an event form and return to Council within the relevant application deadline. Once this is received, Council will advise the next steps of the application and whether any other relevant event application forms are required.

Event application deadlines

All event applications forms must be submitted by due dates outlined below, otherwise, the event will not be approved and may need to be rescheduled to a later date.

If the submitted event documentation is incomplete or requires additional work, the event may need to be rescheduled to a later date. If that is required, the later date will only be confirmed once all forms are completed correctly.

Important deadlines

60 days prior

Complete and submit Intention to Hold an Event Form online 

45 days prior

Submit the following:

  1. Event Application Forms Parts A and B (PDF – 689KB)
  2. Public Liability Insurance (minimum $20 million cover)
  3. Site plan
  4. Traffic management plan, if applicable

30 days prior

submit event on Council’s online event calendar

14 days prior

submit the following:

  1. List of food stalls
  2. Event emergency management procedure: Parks, Reserves and Open Spaces – Event emergency procedure template for events in parks and reserves (PDF – 678KB) or Harmony Square – Event emergency Procedure template for events in Harmony Square (PDF – 2.9MB)

5 working days prior

cut-off date for submitting a statement of trade for food (streatrader.health.vic.gov.au)