Meeting recap - 27 July, 2021

Published on 28 July 2021

stack of newspapers with computer behind

For those of you who missed the livestream of Tuesday's Council meeting, here's a quick summary of what was discussed:

7.1 – Planning Application YR-2020/370 – 10 Woodville Road, Mooroolbark

Council has refused a planning application for three dwellings, associated subdivision and vegetation removal in Mooroolbark, citing neighbourhood character and built form issues.

The application proposed buildings and works to construct three double-storey dwellings, with an associated subdivision of the land and vegetation removal. The total land area is 952 square metres, on the eastern-side of Woodville Road in Mooroolbark.

The application received six objections and one petition with nine signatures, expressing concerns including issues with amenity impact from overlooking, overshadowing and noise, neighbourhood character and inconsistency with past VCAT determinations.

Council officers spoke to objectors and answered questions about details, before providing the applicant with a copy of objections. No amendments were made to the application based on the matters raised.

While the Council agenda noted that the application was consistent with relevant parts of the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme, Councillors put forward an alternate recommendation, noting that the proposal was:

  • Contrary to the Neighbourhood Character clause (55-02-1) and inconsistent with the Built Form clause (21.06) in the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme; and
  • Does not meet the Design Objectives sought by Design and Development Overlay Schedule 8, as it creates visual bulk and does not provide appropriate transition of scale and form to buildings on adjacent lots.

A majority of Councillors voted to move this alternate recommendation, so the planning application was refused.

7.2 – Draft Health and Wellbeing Plan for Community Consultation

Council’s draft Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-25 has been released for community engagement.

The new plan outlines Council’s strategic direction for supporting optimal health and wellbeing across all communities in the Yarra Ranges.

It describes priority areas for improvement in health and wellbeing, through Council’s work and partnerships with agencies and communities – while reflecting the areas where Council has responsibility, capability, influence, roles and resources.

It is one of Council’s overall goals to have a connected and healthy community.

There are many facets to community health, and the plan prioritises the most significant preventable causes of poor health and wellbeing in the region.

The plan was compiled using results from previous community engagement, on Council’s seven priority areas:

  • Respond to the health impacts of emergencies;
  • Tackle climate change and its impact on health;
  • Increase healthy eating;
  • Increase active living;
  • Improve mental wellbeing and social connection;
  • Prevent violence and abuse against women and children; and
  • Reduce harmful alcohol and drug use.

The upcoming community engagement is the final step before the plan is finalised. It will be an opportunity for community members to check-in, read through the priorities and provide feedback before the document returns to Council for endorsement.

Visit for more information.

7.3 – Disability Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference

Council has adopted new terms of reference for its Disability Advisory Committee, a group established in 2012 to provide advice and feedback to shape Council decisions.

The terms of reference have been reviewed in consultation with the committee and will ensure the voice of people with a disability and their carers informs Council’s work.

For more information on the DAC and their terms of reference, read the Council agenda (page 231 onwards)

7.4 – Biomass Carbon Capture Contract

Council has awarded a tender to Earth Systems Pty Ltd for the supply and installation of a biochar facility.

A biochar facility – which uses vegetation such as tree branches to produce stable, carbon-rich charcoal that enriches soil – was identified as a flagship action in Council’s Liveable Climate Plan 2020-2030.

Biochar may provide agricultural benefits to soil fertility and crop productivity, while creating carbon offsets.

The facility will be a key project towards achieving Council’s 2040 goal of net zero emissions.

Councillors moved to award the tender to Earth Systems Pty Ltd and increase the budget allocation for the project to $800,000.

For more information about Council’s projects to reduce emissions and utilise renewable energy, read our Liveable Climate Plan. 

9.1 – Special Resident Storm Branch Kerbside Collection

Council has allocated $2m for a kerbside storm branch collection, helping community members to clear their properties after the 9 June storms.

This late item set a formal budget allocation, comprising a $1.5m estimated service cost and a $500,000 contingency for the service.

During the collection, community members can put branches out for collection up to a maximum width of 250mm and length of 3m.

Council is encouraging community members to check their collection dates and make the most of this service and their green waste bins to dispose of excess vegetation.

It will take several weeks to clear branches from each collection area. All branches will be mulched, and mulch will then be made available to community members.

To find your collection week, visit

9.2 – Access to COVID-19 Vaccinations

Council will advocate to the State and Federal Governments to increase local availability of all COVID-19 vaccines in Yarra Ranges.

The urgent motion, raised by Mayor Fiona McAllister, notes that access to COVID-19 vaccines – particularly the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine - is difficult for community members.

The geographical size of Yarra Ranges makes it difficult for community members living away from our urban areas to access public transport or travel long distances to vaccination hubs.

Anyone wanting to get vaccinated against COVID-19 should visit the Federal Government’s website to find which vaccine they are eligible for.

9.3 – McCarthy Road, Monbulk – Request to upgrade trunkline water services

Council will write to the Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water, advocating on behalf of residents of McCarthy Road, Monbulk, for upgrading their current trunkline water services to a proper mains supply.

Community members on McCarthy Road have been experiencing disruption to water supply for seven weeks, following the 9 June storms.

Yarra Valley Water and Council have coordinated efforts to help impacted residents: temporary water tanks have been provided by YVW and Council contractors are removing fallen trees to give YVW access to the supply lines.

However, these properties are not serviced by proper water mains, instead have a shared private extension of the water main, known as a trunkline service.

Residents believe this service was installed over 60 years ago and are a small diameter galvanised pipe, leading to poor performing and unreliable service.

Supply of drinking water is an essential service, and loss of reliable water from the storms is a critical issue.

Council will write to YVW to ask that a proper water supply be established to service the community members on McCarthy Road.

This matter was raised as an urgent item because upcoming remedial works on the trunkline could otherwise be redirected to this longer-term solution.