Council meeting recap - 26 October, 2021

Published on 27 October 2021

A couple watches a screen featuring a live-streamed Council meeting.

For those who missed Tuesday night’s Council meeting, here’s a quick recap of what was discussed:

You can read the agenda in full, and watch the recording of the meeting, here.

7.1 - Civic Centre Redevelopment Update

Councillors were given a brief update on the progress of the Civic Centre Redevelopment project in Lilydale.

The redevelopment project has been in the works for several years, as a proposal to replace Council’s outdated Civic Centre building at 15 Anderson Street. The former building was no longer fit-for-purpose, had numerous building and accessibility issues and did not fit the needs of the organisation and the community.

The Civic Centre Redevelopment’s construction began in January, 2019, with Stage 1 completed in May 2020. Stage 2 commenced shortly after and is set to complete on 8 February, 2022.

Council is working in partnership with an artist team of Aunty Joy Wandin, Jonathon Jones and Tom Nicholson to deliver an integrated artwork installation at the new building, sitting within the pavement and area next to the main entry.

The project itself is under stress – due to the timeframe of construction during times of restrictions and material shortages – but is being appropriately managed.

To read the full update, read the Council meeting agenda.

7.2 – Council Plan 2021-25 including the Community Vision 2036, Council Action Plan 2021-25 and Financial Plan 2021-31

Council has formally adopted its Council Plan, Council Action Plan, Community Vision and Financial Plan, following engagement with the community.

The Community Vision was originally developed through an extensive engagement process with the community in 2016. The vision has been revised by community members to ensure it continues to reflect their aspirations for the coming 15 years.

The 2021-25 Council Plan is where the community’s vision (through Vision 2036) and Council’s planning processes meet. The plan and associated Action Plan were developed through deliberative engagement with community members and outlines how Council will work towards its strategic objectives.

The Financial Plan is informed by the Council Plan and the medium-to-long-term strategies adopted by Council. It provides transparency in relation to the financial limits that Council must consider in developing its Council Plan and Community Vision, informs future decisions and sets realistic expectations for community outcomes that can be achieved.

These four documents were released for community engagement, following a Council meeting on 14 September.

For more information about these documents, or to read them in full, visit their Shaping Yarra Ranges page.

7.3 – Eastern Metro Land Use Framework Plan

Council has made a submission to the State Government’s Eastern Metro Land Use Framework Plan, a 30-year land use and infrastructure strategy for six local government areas.

The municipalities of Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges will all fall under this plan.

The ELUFP will:

  • Provide a long-term framework to manage growth and land use pressures
  • Focus on resolving metropolitan regional issues
  • Provide context for planning at the precinct or local level
  • Ensure the review and update of local planning schemes aligns with Plan Melbourne
  • Provide directions and strategies for State and regionally-significant projects that are implemented through state planning policy and local planning schemes and
  • Drive the accommodation of the majority of Melbourne’s growth into established areas through a land use framework that identifies places of state and regional significance, and integrate greenfield growth area planning with wider metropolitan planning.

Council’s submission to the document asks for more recognition of how the Yarra Ranges contributes to the Eastern Region of Melbourne, more information on the issues and challenges the region faces and more initiatives focused on the region to address those issues – such as transport, housing and strengthening the capacity of local Indigenous organisations.

To read the submission in full, visit the Council Agenda. 

7.4 – Planning Application YR-2018/18/B – 53-55 Canterbury Road, Montrose

A gymnasium will be built on Canterbury Road, Montrose, following an amendment to an existing permit, approved at the 26 October Council meeting.

The application, YR-2018/18/B outlined several key amendments to an existing, approved permit.

The approved permit allows use and development of land for a service station and convenience shop, food and drink premises, five restricted retail premises, forty-eight warehouses, seventy-nine storage units, advertising signage, associated development of land (earthworks and construction of retaining walls and drainage), creation of easement and creation and alteration of access to a road in Road Zone Category 1, in accordance with endorsed plans.

Application YR-2018/18/B proposed amendments including:

  • Removal of 48 warehouses
  • Removal of 79 storage units
  • Proposed use and development of land for a restricted recreation facility (gymnasium), operating 24 hours, 7 days a week, with medical centre (physiotherapy)
  • Reduction in floor area for restricted retail premises (reduction from 5 to 4 premises)
  • Increasing the size of the food and drink premises and addition of an outdoor seating area
  • Changing the food and drink premises to restaurant, and
  • Reconfiguring car parking (increasing 277 car spaces to 322).

No changes were proposed to the service station and convenience shop, and minor changes to the floor area of the restricted retail premises, so it is suitable for this application to be assessed as an amendment, rather than an entirely new application.

Because Council’s assessment of the application is confined to the proposed changes only, the permitted use of land for a service station, convenience shop, restricted retail premises and food and drink premises was unable to be revisited.

Council officers assessed this application and found it to be consistent with the objectives of the Industrial Zoning, using and developing the land for large-format restricted recreation facility and medical centre. These are considered appropriate within an established industrial precinct with a sensitive interface with a residential area.

Walling Ward Councillor, Len Cox, moved an alternate recommendation at the meeting – which still approved the permit, but added conditions regarding landscaping and fencing.

Councillors voted to approve this alternate recommendation, which will be made publicly available on the application’s page on ePlanning and in the Council Minutes.

7.5 – 2022 Grants for Community Funding Recommendations

Council will provide almost $500,000 in funding for festivals, events and community projects, through its 2022 Grants for Community.

At their meeting on 26 October, Councillors voted to approve funding for 68 community projects within the 2022 Grants for Community Round.

The annual grants program provides funding to local not for profit community groups and artists, of up to $10,000, for projects across three key focus areas:

  • Community Development
  • Arts and Heritage Development
  • Festivals and events

Projects funded under the 2022 round include:

  • A range of carer workshops, hosted by Mount Evelyn Community House, including positive mental health, self-care, resilience and leisure workshops.
  • A series of cultural awareness and mental health initiatives, being run by the Belgrave South Junior Football Club, for the club and the wider community
  • A community workshop run by Japara Neighbourhood House, to assist mobility scooter or powered wheelchair users to practice skills and develop confidence in navigating the community
  • A LGBTIQA+ peer-focused support group for young people in the Yarra Ranges, run by the Rotary Club of Upper Yarra
  • A mural to celebrate the centenary of the Belgrave CFA, which will occur in 2023
  • Funding for several exhibitions, workshops and art events, such as exhibitions at Burrinja, the Yarra Valley Open Studios and sessions at the Dandenong Ranges Music Council, among many others
  • Support for festivals including the Warburton Film Festival, the Lantern and Light International Children’s Film Festival, the Blacksmiths and Artisans Festival, the Yarra Ranges Downhill Festival, the Hills Regrowth Festival, River Folk Festival and Selbyfest, among others.

Council also provides funding of up to $1000 for projects run by not-for-profit business associations and community groups through its monthly Small Grants program.

For more information about Council’s grants programs – including a full list of 2022 funded Grants for Community projects – visit yarraranges.vic.gov.au/grants

7.6 Discontinuance and Transfer, part Ida Grove, Olinda

Council will discontinue a 762 square metre portion of Ida Grove, Olinda, and sell the land to the abutting land owner.

The unused portion of Ida Grove is an unconstructed road reserve, a dead-end and has been used predominantly for private driveway and car parking purposes.

It was created on the original plan of subdivision in 1953, and three properties are directly abutting the land – one of which has been occupying the land for more than 20 years.

The landowner occupying the land applied to Council to formalise this occupation by purchasing the land, and Council gave notice on its website and in local newspapers about the proposal.

The abutting landowners were contacted directly in writing, and Council received no objections to the proposal.

Councillors moved to formally discontinue the land and transfer to the abutting land owner, subject to purchasing the land based on a valuation and reimbursement of Council’s costs.

The discontinued land will be consolidated in their existing title.

7.7 Menzies Road, Menzies Creek – Declaration of a Special Charge

Council will declare a special charge for works on Menzies Road in Menzies Creek, as part of the Federal Government-funded Roads for the Community Program.

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.

Council gave public notice of their intention to declare a special charge, advertising in the Star Mail News local newspaper and on its website.

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 – Storm Recovery Update

Councillors were provided with an update on the works to help the region recover from the 9 June storms.

The storm hit the region with wind speeds above 120 kilometres per hour, causing extensive damage to trees and infrastructure and causing widespread power outages. 74 homes were damaged to the point of being uninhabitable and, at the peak of the power outages, 54,000 residents were without power. 891 of these residents remained without power for a period of up to three weeks.

The known damage from the storm so far includes:

  • 135 private homes sustaining significant damage – 74 of these have been assessed as uninhabitable, while 49 have been assessed as habitable and a further 12 are awaiting final assessment.
  • 830 Council roads have been impacted by the storm
  • It is estimated that more than 25,000 trees in the region fell. Current estimates show a number of vegetation patches with just 10% canopy coverage remaining in Mt Dandenong
  • Several properties are still struggling to re-establish reliable water supply.

A dedicated Yarra Ranges Council Recovery Directorate has been established to coordinate recovery activities at the municipal level – from the storm, flood and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This work includes establishing Community Recovery Committees, multi-agency recovery forums and continued work with Bushfire Recovery Victoria, which is assisting with the clean-up.

A Yarra Ranges Support website has also been established, containing all key information relating to the storm, including events, activities, updates and newsletters. Visit yarraranges.vic.gov.au/support for more information.

To read the full Storm Recovery Update, read the Council agenda.