Council meeting recap – Tuesday, 24 August, 2021

Published on 25 August 2021

In case you missed the recent Council meeting, here’s a quick recap of what was discussed.

If you'd like to find out more about any of these items, you can read the Council Agenda in full or watch a recording of the meeting here.

7.1 – Storm Recovery Update

Councillors were provided an update on Council’s works to date to help the community recover from the 9 June storms.

The winter storm that hit the region was one of the largest storms in Victoria’s history, in terms of the scale of loss, damage and the complexities of safety and clean-up works.

Wind speeds above 120km/h caused extensive damage to infrastructure and trees, causing widespread power outages. Seventy-two buildings – including 68 homes – were damaged to the point of being uninhabitable. At the peak of the storm, more than 54,000 residents were without power – 891 people endured power outages for a period of 2-3 weeks.

Now that the initial emergency relief period has finished, Council is the lead agency in charge of recovery from the storm. Bushfire Recovery Victoria is assisting Council in working with more than 20 State agencies and funding bodies on recovery work.

A focus for Council is the longer-term needs of impacted communities, while continuing on-the-ground work such as debris collection in our Special Storm Branch Collection and running Recovery Hubs (currently running virtually, due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Community meetings were held throughout June and July, and issues raised by community members will continue to inform Council’s ongoing recovery activities.

Conservative estimates are that necessary rehabilitation, restoration and recovery work on public land will cost about $65m. This does not include any work required on private property, which has been initially estimated at more than $160m.

Council is not in a position to bear the financial burden of these recovery efforts and is in ongoing conversations with the State and Federal Governments to seek financial assistance.

To date, the State Government has announced an $8.2m Council Support Fund to provide financial assistance to the 10 Local Government Areas impacted by the storm, with Yarra Ranges expected to receive about $3.5m.

In early August, Council wrote to the Prime Minister and several Ministers, asking for Federal Government assistance with recovery efforts and improved telecommunications infrastructure.

The shared responsibility of disaster recovery funding arrangements means that Council will make some financial contribution towards recovery efforts, which will impact our ongoing financial projections.

A revised budget is being prepared to adapt to the financial impacts of the storm, and will be released in early 2022.

7.2 – Instrument of Delegation to the Chief Executive Officer

Councillors resolved to delegate powers, duties and functions to the CEO of Council, to ensure business of Council is carried out efficiently and in line with approved policies.

This delegation must be reviewed within 12 months of a general election under the Local Government Act 2020. The Instrument of Delegation was last reviewed and approved on 28 July, 2020 and has been updated.

No significant changes have been recorded since the last review.

In essence, it allows the CEO to make decisions on behalf of the organisation and have them be seen as a decision of Council. It also allows the CEO to delegate duties and functions of their office to other Council staff or members.

This delegation is standard practice across Councils and is essential for day-to-day decisions to be made across the organisation efficiently and in a timely manner.

7.3 – Appointment of Authorised Officers under the Planning and Environment Act 1987

Council formally appointed staff members as Authorised Officers of Council, as part of its duties in the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Doing this empowers relevant staff to exercise powers granted to Authorised Officers by legislation or local laws.

Officers appointed across Council’s Planning, Design and Development Directorate use these powers in their day-to-day work on planning, building and compliance matters.

The review of Authorised Officers reflects a change in staff in this Directorate since the last Appointment in June 2020, and ensures staff are able to fulfil the duties of their role.

This is an administrative exercise, but one that must be formally reviewed by Council.

7.4 – Instrument of Sub-Delegation and Appointment and Authorisation under the Environmental Protection Act 2017

Council has formally appointed Authorised Officers under the Environment Protection Act 2017.

As with item 7.3, this sub-delegation and appointment of Authorised Officers ensures that Council staff working in the Communities Directorate are able to fulfil their roles and be delegated some of the Environmental Protection Agency’s powers to do so.

The EPA and Council are joint regulators of the Act and the Environmental Protection Regulations 2021.

For example, Councils can regulate and enforce:

  • Residential noise
  • Noise from construction, demolition and removal of residential premises
  • On-site wastewater management systems with actual or design flow rate equal to or less than 5,000 litres per day

Authorising officers is an administrative exercise that ensures Council can continue its work in these areas.

7.5 - Transition of Aged and Disability Services

In response to the Federal Governments ongoing aged and disability reforms, Yarra Ranges Council has been considering its future role in the new aged care system.

The Aged Care Reform objective is the creation of a simplified, national, integrated aged care program that provides older Australians with quality, choice, control and easier access to a full range of services. 

Council has the opportunity to play a different role in supporting all older residents in the community in areas that align to our strategic focus of keeping community healthy, active and socially connected, and working strategically to strengthen the aged care system across the municipality.

Council endorsed a recommendation to formally transfer some of its in-home Commonwealth Home Support Program Services and its State-funded Home and Community Care Program for Younger People from June 2022 at its meeting on Tuesday, 24 August.

Find out more here

7.6 – Menzies Road Intention to Levy a Special Charge

Community members on Menzies Road, Menzies Creek will be notified of Council’s intention to levy a Special Charge to seal their roads, as part of the Federal Government-funded Roads for the Community Program.

Councillors discussed a proposal to levy a special charge to construct the roads as part of Roads for the Community.

The Roads for the Community Program is a $150m Federal Government-funded program to seal roads across Yarra Ranges.

Traditionally, sealing of unsealed roads is done via a Special Charge Scheme, where Council and property owners on the affected roads both contribute to the construction cost, with property owners repaying their contribution through the property rates over 10 years.

The Federal funding will subsidise community member contributions for the sealing the roads, dramatically reducing the out-of-pocket costs for property owners and enabling Council to seal more than 100 kilometres of unsealed roads.

Community members on Menzies Road will be contacted in writing, informing them of Council's intention to levy a special charge.

Find out more about the program - and the priority roads we've proposed for construction - here

7.7. – Hyne Street Lilydale Declaration of a Special Charge

A Special Charge will be established for road improvement works on Hyne Street in Lilydale, with the road to be constructed and sealed.

Community members were recently notified about Council’s intention to declare a special charge and construct the road through its Roads for the Community program.

The Roads for the Community Program is a $150m Federal Government-funded program to seal roads across Yarra Ranges.

Traditionally, sealing of unsealed roads is done via a Special Charge Scheme, where Council and property owners on the affected roads both contribute to the construction cost, with property owners repaying their contribution through the property rates over 10 years.

The Federal funding will subsidise community member contributions for the sealing the roads, dramatically reducing the out-of-pocket costs for property owners and enabling Council to seal more than 100 kilometres of unsealed roads.

At its meeting on 22 June, Council moved to advertise its intention of declaring a Special Charge Scheme for Hyne Street, Lilydale.

Council gave public notice of this intention, advertising in the Star Mail News local newspaper and on its website.

No submissions were received, and Council moved to formally declare a special charge now the submission period has finished.

All people liable for a special charge will be notified in writing of Council’s decision and provided with information about the process.

7.8 – EOI6105 6287 – Lilydale Road, Healesville, Road Improvements

A tender has been awarded for works to improve Lilydale Road in Healesville.

Recognising the growing number of businesses on Lilydale Road, Healesville, and the need for a more tourist-and-community-friendly area, Council has initiated works to improve safety, amenity and access in the area.

Key features of the works include:

  • Road widening to formalise on-street parking on both sides of the road
  • Kerb and channel works with associated drainage
  • New shared paths on both sides of the road
  • Raised pedestrian crossings to improve safety
  • Streetscape works, including tree planting, installation of benches, bins, bike racks and water fountains
  • Minor improvement to the arterial roads intersecting with Lilydale Road – Maroondah Highway and Healesville-Kinglake Road

The Federal Government has provided $1,150,000 from the Local Roads Community Infrastructure Grants for the 2021-22 Financial Year, with Roads to Recovery funding to be issued in 2022-23.

Community members and businesses on Lilydale Road were contacted in late 2019 to begin consultation on the works. A workshop with traders was held in November 2019 and a letter with a link to an online survey was sent to residents and businesses nearby.

Rough designs for the works were distributed to businesses in mid-2020 for consultation.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Council accepted a tender from Bild Infrastructure Pty Ltd for a lump sum price of $1,304,356.42 (inclusive of GST and provisional items) for the works.

The works may go ahead now the tender has been issued. Advance warning of the works has been sent to landowners and occupiers on Lilydale Road and nearby roads, along with local emergency services.

7.9 – CT6260 – Construction of Millgrove Sporting Pavilion

A new sporting pavilion will be built in Millgrove, following Council’s decision to award a tender for its construction on 24 August.

The Millgrove Reserve Community Sporting Pavilion is a community-driven project that will provide a central meeting and social space for community members.

The new building will be modern, fitting with the surrounding setting of the reserve and physically-and-functionally aligned to the playing fields.

Councillors approved a tender of $1,991,000.00 (inclusive of GST, tender options and provisional sums) to be awarded to Circon Constructions Pty Ltd for the construction of the new sporting pavilion.

7.10 – CT6789 – Seville Oval Redevelopment

The Seville Oval Redevelopment will get underway, following Council’s decision to approve a tender for construction.

This project will provide a more level and higher-quality sporting field to support the core needs of football and cricket at the Seville Recreation Reserve.

The redevelopment will optimise the use of the field, improve the playing surface and provide for modern drainage and irrigation systems to improve the ongoing maintenance of the oval.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Council awarded a tender of $1,443,819.79 (inclusive of GST) to SJM Turf & Civil Pty Ltd for the project.