Council meeting 9 September 2019

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

Chair: Cr Youhorn Chea

Petitions and Joint Letters

Cr Tim Dark asked about a petition calling to re-establish the EasterNats at Sandown Racecourse. Cr Dark asked if there had been any prior conversations regarding this. The officer replied that the petition is noted by council, but would require a planning application, and then all the elements of the application would be assessed fully. The officer believes that there is no interest from the landowner in re-establishing the permit for this, and the officer believes the same view would be held by Victoria Police.

Cr Matthew Kirwan asked the other two petitions to be explained.

First petition:
The officer said one petition regarded a 50 metre pool at a new aquatic facility in Dandenong (the “new Oasis”), and that the petitions would be taken into account before finalisation of the aquatic strategy.

Second petition:
Wal Turner Reserve Masterplan: the officer said that council staff had consultations with the school and cricket club. There was some confusion as early plans were circulated, which were not the plans meant to be exhibited. The consultation period has finished, and all submissions and feedback are being assessed.

Town Planning Application
77 Clow Street, Dandenong

Cr Kirwan asked for a summary of objections, and responses to objections, to the application.

The officer replied that the applicant is applying for an additional storage room. Three objections were received about anti-social behaviour, congestion and car parking. The officer response to the objections can be found in the agenda papers. The building will have a maximum of 10 occupants. Boarding houses are a legitimate form of housing. Diverse forms of housing need to be supplied to meet community needs. The use is proposed in an existing building. There was a consultative meeting regarding the objections, but the objections remained unchanged. Anti-social behaviour risks are not a planning consideration. Evidence shows only one complaint about an untidy site – no recorded complaints about anti-social behaviour. The proposal complies with car parking provisions. The addition of one building is unlikely to have a detrimental impact. Rooming houses alleviate the homelessness problem. The application is recommended by officers for a permit.

Town Planning Application
No. 1/55-67 Frankston-Dandenong Road, Dandenong South

Application is for permit for an advertising sign.

The officer said that objections primarily relate the overshadowing of solar panels. The sign is not over the airspace of any other property boundary. VicRoads had no objection to the application. Council’s buildings department indicated no structural problems with the sign, and a certificate has been provided by the applicant. A gutter system will manage water flow.

VCAT said to the previous application that the proposed impact of the sign is acceptable.

If VCAT refused the application, council officers would move immediately to remove the sign. Council would probably lose at VCAT if the council refused the sign. The application meets all planning requirements.

Cr Sean O’Reilly asked about potential noise pollution from rain striking the sign, and how this is assessed in the planning process. The officer replied that there is no way of measuring natural elements such as noise due to weather and that this is not a planning consideration. Where noise is actually generated by the site, then guidelines can be put in place.

Town Planning Application
No. 1 The Glade, Dandenong

Cr Kirwan said that there some objectors are in the public gallery. Cr Kirwan asked the officer for a summary of the application, and the officers’ response to the objectors’ grounds about parking and noise. Cr Kirwan said the objectors had pointed out the narrowness of this particular street.

The officer said there were six objections. The officer said that the application complies with ResCode (Victorian Government planning provisions) and complies with existing neighbourhood character. The officer said that the size of the site was substantial. The officer said that there was no unacceptable overlooking. The officer said that as the subject site was located south-east, that it complies with planning guidelines. The development will not generate any more noise than normal.

Cr Kirwan said that although it is compliant to Victorian Government requirements, what was the assessment of traffic engineers, due to the street being particularly narrow? The officer provided details from the planning report and said that the application complied.

Annual Financial Statements and
June 2019 Financial Report

Cr Kirwan asked officers for a summary of this report and the following report.

The officer replied that the reports are prepared in accordance with Australian Financial standards. There was an overall deficit, however this is only an accounting result.

The second report is a management report and focus on variances to budget. This report reported a surplus to be taken to the mid year budget review.

Proposed Policy – Order of Precedence/Hosting Dignitaries

Cr O’Reilly asked whether the Mayor is the first citizen of the municipality. The CEO explained that the Mayor is the primary representative of council, and this is reflected in the proposed order of preference.

Community Response Grants Policy Review

Cr Kirwan asked for a summary of the review and key changes. The officer replied that the reviewed policy is informed by many inputs, including benchmarking against other councils’ policies. The review looked at increased funding, and supporting new and emerging community groups.

Cr Sampey asked about why the dollar amount caps for particular types of activities were not explictly stated in the policy. The officer replied that this had been moved to the policy guidelines, so that they can be more flexibly altered as time goes on, without having to be voted on at a council meeting.

Cr Kirwan asked about dollar amount caps for particular types of activities, and whether council was being overly generous to individuals. Cr Kirwan asked whether the caps would come to a council meeting. The officer replied that the caps will reflect with what has been discussed with councillors. The officer detailed the cap amounts for the different activities.

Cr Sampey asked that if we have a higher maximum level, then won’t the money go more quickly?

List of Registered Correspondence to Mayor and Councillors

Cr Dark said a Keysborough resident spoke about a residence at Piccadilly Crescent and that there was loud noise. Cr Dark was their any enforcement action about this?

Cr Dark said there was a unsightly property in Whitworth Ave, and asked for the officer to arrange investigation.

Reports from councillors/delegates and councillors’ questions

Cr Sean O’Reilly

Cr O’Reilly raised a question about library fees. Some libraries had scrapped late fees to encourage library usage. What did the officer think of this idea?

Cr Matthew Kirwan

Cr Kirwan visited Sagasco, and said that land, at the Spring Valley Reserve, gas is being collected.

Cr Kirwan attended the Art Advisory Board.

Cr Kirwan attended the South East Council’s Climate Alliance meeting at Safety Beach.

Cr Kirwan attended the Audit Advisory Committee.

On 6 September Cr Kirwan attended Cultural 21 Lab. Cultural 21 Lab is part of the cultural and sustainable cities program. It is about sustainability in governance. The results will be published and will inform future council policies around culture.

Cr Kirwan is excited about the progression of the Keysborough South Community Hub.

Cr Kirwan asked if there is any progress on a library in the Keysborough area? The officer replied that the study will be finalised by the end of the financial year.

Cr Kirwan said that two homeless people in Clow St near Robinson St and Lonsdale St. Is council going to have a homelessness action plan, like other councils? Why not? Cr Kirwan said that Greater Dandenong has the worst homeless problem in Victoria, and one of the worst for street sleeping. The officer replied that council does have a homelessness protocol, developed for Greater Dandenong. Under the Community Safety Advisory committee, a committee on homelessness has been set up.

Cr Kirwan spoke about criminal incidents in Dandenong. Cr Kirwan listed some examples. Cr Kirwan asked about insights into crime data – what are local police doing, are the offenders new people, or people released from juvenile detention? Are there changes in social conditions that are contributing to crime? Are the offenders from Dandenong, or are their suburbs that they hail from outside our local area? Is this related to the issues in the inner west that Cr Kirwan has been raising in the past? Will there be a drop in session regarding this?

The officer replied that the CEO and himself met with Victoria Police, Ben Carroll MP and Gabrielle Williams MP. Victoria Police advised of a decrease in crime, however one-off events tend to attract a high amount of media attention. A number of arrests have been made. Regarding the traders in Thomas St – no shops have been closed and it is business as usual. A meeting has been arranged with ward councillors and police. There will be a community safety night. There is no definitive explanation for criminal and anti-social behaviour. Victoria Police say that many offenders are not necessarily from Greater Dandenong, but generally from the south-east of Melbourne.

Cr Kirwan said that are the lower crime figures from the past? The officer replied that VicPol are saying that crime is down, and that he can provide the evidence base for this. Cr Kirwan said that when you look at the detail in the figures, it is not as good.

Cr Kirwan asked about the timeframe for the art project in Hemmings Street, Dandenong. The officer replied.

Dalgety St Reserve

Cr Kirwan asked about the Dalgety St Reserve and about the decision of Melbourne Water to sell land parcels. Cr Kirwan said that Melbourne Water sold land to other councils at public park rates rather than residential rates. What is the possibility of having a parcel sold to this council at public park rates? The officer replied that the Minister suggested that council re engage with Melbourne Water about this. The officer replied that he will update councillors when news is available.

Cr Kirwan asked whether the option of purchasing at a public park rate has been put to Melbourne Water? The officer replied that this has been done, and Melbourne Water said that this was not an option at this stage.

The officer replied that the Victorian Government has been active in the green wedge planning space and council is also engaged in future planning.

Cr Kirwan said that the Sandbelt Open Space development plan is relevant to the upcoming solar farm application. Will the council prepare a submission to the Sandbelt Open Space development plan? The officer replied that council has not yet been given an opportunity, but will now have an opportunity like other councils, to contribute discussion to the Sandbelt Open Space development plan .

The Glade

Cr Kirwan asked about the The Glade precinct, and said that while individual applications may be compliant to the planning scheme, the cumulative impact of several planning applications over time can be significant. Cr Kirwan asked whether it is possible to consider special planning rules for the Glade precinct. The officer replied that there is not strategic justification for such a small area of 16 properties to be singled out and be in a different planning zone.

Cr Kirwan asked in terms of a parking overlay option, how would this be against a strategic planning outcome? The officer replied that parking should not be applied in a patchwork across

Cr Zaynoun Melhem

Cr Melhem said a resident told him over Facebook she didn’t get a response from a letter to a council meeting. Cr Melhem asked for officers to follow this up and asked that he be copied into the response.

Cr Melhem also said a resident was driving past the old ambulance station in David St, Dandenong. Cr Melhem asked whether council could acquire the building?

Cr Melhem asked about whether the playground in Kreigel Way, Tirhatuan Park is owned by the council? The officer replied it is owned by Parks Victoria.

Cr Melhem asked about the response to the Future of Parks consultation. The officer replied that the consultation responses were being consolidated. Cr Melhem asked whether council met with local stakeholders including sporting clubs and schools. The officer replied that these local stakeholders were met with. Cr Melhem asked for the timeframe for the consultation will be communicated back to the public? The officer replied that this will be done as soon as possible.

Cr Maria Sampey

Cr Sampey said she wasn’t aware of the cutoff date for the Future of Parks submissions? The officer replied that some late submissions will be incorporated if practically possible. Cr Sampey said that some residents asked for the consultations at times that better suited working people. The officer replied that the cutoff date was widely advertised, and that one of the consultations was on Fathers’ Day so that there were many people on the reserve that participated in the consultation. The officer replied that there won’t be another drop-in session, but if residents wanted to make a submission they would be accommodated where possible. Cr Sampey said that on the reserve during the drop-in consultation, people were busy playing sport and many didn’t live in the area. Cr Sampey said that local residents should be given priority, rather than people that come in to Greater Dandenong just to play sport. The officer replied that council wants to get views from non-local residents as well, and that their views are still valuable. The officer said that Greater Dandenong residents would like to be taken into account when there’s consultations in other municipalities. Cr Sampey said that many local residents are concerned about noise and anti-social aspects of parks and sports.

Cr Sampey watched 60 Minutes and saw the program on glyphosate. Cr Sampey asked whether the council is still using glyphosate? The officer said that glyphosate (known as Roundup) is still used by council, and that councillors will be informed forthwith of details. Cr Sampey raised concerns about council being sued due to glyphosate danger.

Cr Sampey raised her concerns about community buses. Cr Sampey said that the buses only accommodate nine people, and that spots on the buses are quite hard to get. Cr Sampey said what is council doing to increase capacity of the buses? Cr Sampey said we’ve while council had public transport forums – what about the people that can’t get a seat on a council community bus? Cr Sampey said she attended the transport forum, and the decision was the clubs would make decisions about who can be on the buses. Cr Sampey said that council spends a lot of money on sports, but older residents that have paid rates all their life can’t get seats on the council community bus. Cr Sampey asked whether more seats would become available? The officer said that new buses were purchased, and that he will come back to council with further information.

Cr Sampey said that Friday 20 September will the Seniors Multicultural Dance at Springvale Town Hall and that it’s $12 a ticket, bring your own food and drink.

Cr Tim Dark

Cr Dark said he’s been busy and that there had been quite a few business events. Cr Dark attended the SEMMA – South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance AGM at the Australian Synchrotron, and asked that council write to many of the businesses that had achieved milestones. The businesses spoke about opportunities they had received due to infrastructure projects. Cr Dark mentioned some of the highlights and awards won. Cr Dark said it was great to see many Greater Dandenong businesses win awards.

Cr Dark asked about the line markings on Corrigan Road. The officer replied that the review is still underway, and that it will be a shorter time period than normal before the review is completed.

Cr Dark asked about the Small Business Friendly Council (SBFC) initiative deals, where councils can join a charter about expediting business application processes? Cr Dark asked the officer whether Greater Dandneong could join the charter? The officer replied that some meetings had been held with the organisation regarding the charter, and further information would be forthcoming.

Cr Dark asked about the meeting regarding businesses accessing the eurozone and the Netherlands. The officer replied that he will enquire as to the outcomes and feedback.

Cr Dark said that he attended Keysborough Auskick awards. The said that the juniors are newly established, and that the club has gone from strength to strength. Cr Dark asked for council to write to the President to congratulate him on his work, and also congratulate him on his lifetime achievement.

Cr Dark attended an art event, where the kids were designing work based on other artwork. Cr Dark asked whether council could exhibit some of this artwork. The officer asked the group to send him an email, he will then follow this up.

Cr Dark mentioned the Rowville Eagles, and said that this club is working its way up the ladder.

Cr Sophie Tan

Cr Tan announced that on 6 September she attended the Sustainable City Awards, and Greater Dandenong won the litter prevention award for the Living Rivers education program. Cr Tan congratulated council staff on their efforts.

Cr Tan said that a few residents had contacted her about vegetables being sold on the footpath at Multicultural Place in Springvale. Cr Tan mentioned health concerns. The officer replied that some elderly people are selling vegetables, and as soon as officers approach, they tend to run off with their food. Many times the offenders can’t speak English. The officer said that local laws and parking officers are monitoring the situation, and are trying multiple strategies to let the offenders know that their actions are illegal. The officer said that consistent and persistent enforcement will assist. The officer said that the offenders are generally warned in the first instance, but if their behaviour persists they will be fined.

Cr Tan said she represented the Mayor at the new $10 million manufacturing facility, Fine Food Holdings, at Fox Drive, Dandenong South. They are exporting across the world. Cr Tan asked the Mayor to write to the company to congratulate them on their success.

Cr Tan attended AusKick and presentation night in Keysborough. 220 people. Great to see our young people active.

Cr Tan attended a fundraiser, Dandenong District Maths Games at Keysborough Primary School. Big event. Year 4 to Year 6.

Cr Melhem acknowledged that the team beat Hallam and won a premiership. The team are excited about council’s plans for new facilities.

Cr Youhorn Chea

Cr Chea attended on 5 September, the Kingston Aged Care on Clarke Rd, Springvale South . This aged care home has over 100 beds.

Cr Chea asked about the car park on Hillcrest Avenue.

Cr Chea asked about the timeline for Stage 1 and 2 of the Springvale Boulevard Project. The officer replied that when Stage 1 was put out, the tender submissions were not enough to proceed. The officer said that it is difficult to get VicRoads approval, and has communicated to VicRoads to help expedite approval. The current planned commencement date is early 2020.

20190909_cgd_agenda

Further information

Council meeting 22 July 2019

Disclaimer
These are brief notes from the council meeting taken by myself quickly, are my interpretation, and 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.

Further information