Councillors present at last night’s meeting included Sue Abbott, Wayne Bedggood, James Burns, Ron Campbell, Maurice Collison, Lorna Driscoll, Kiwa Fisher and Lee Watts. Joshua Brown was absent from the meeting.
Waste Levy Returned
Cr Abbott put forward a motion that 100 percent of the waste levy Council currently pays to the State Government, be returned to the Council to provide local waste management services, environmental programs and develop innovative waste management technology. The motion was passed unanimously.
Gravel Pit Rehabilitation
Cr Abbott questioned if Council had the money to manage quarries in the Shire if they failed to rehabilitate properly. The question was taken on notice.
Branding Colour Confusion
Cr Burns asked that a motion for the Heritage Consultant to review the colour schemes for each town centre, delete the referencing to “branding” colours. The motion caused some confusion with other Councillors, with Cr Burns explaining branding was about banners and fonts, not colours of buildings. Cr Abbott questioned if that was the case and said the Heritage Advisor had strong views on introducing “brand colours” which could override heritage colours in heritage areas. Councillors Abbott, Watts and Bedggood voted against the motion, but it was carried.
Airport Planning Questions
Cr Abbott asked who the independent planning assessor was for the airport. Matthew Pringle, director of environmental and community services, said it was the independent consultant Council had used. Cr Abbott asked when the next Warbirds show was scheduled and if it could clash with the runway upgrades. It was advised the next Wardbirds would be in September next year and Mayor Bedggood said of the potential clash with upgrades: “it is hoped not”. Cr Abbott asked when we would know if it may clash given it is a major event and would require a long lead time. The Mayor explained that will they couldn’t give surety, it was scheduled to be completed in time. Cr Collison, who chairs the airport sub-committee said he believed the first sealing on the runway would begin this month, so as not to interfere with bushfire season. Cr Abbott also asked if all of the development applications (DA) for the airport go through Council’s development and environment committee. Matthew Pringle explained that the DA will go through the Regional Planning Panel directly and the air-side works will require a review of environmental factors (REF) which will be assessed and determined internally. Cr Abbott then asked if the time for a DA to be assessed could impact on the delivery of the works being held up. Mr Pringle explained there were several steps in the process which may take time. Cr Abbott then asked if quarterly meetings of the airport sub-committee were sufficient considering the size of the project being undertaken. Cr Collison said he believed it was and they had the ability to call an extraordinary meeting if required.
Stance on Striking Students
Cr Abbott proposed that Council have a position for future events on students striking for climate change. The Mayor said he would organise a formal response. Cr Abbott asked if they were able to invite the Youth Council to the next sustainability sub-committee meeting. Mayor Bedggood said he would talk to Council staff about the proposal. Cr Campbell said he objected strongly to the Council supporting any strike action. He said there were various opinions on climate change, but he didn’t believe Council should support strike action. Mayor Bedggood said that regardless of personal opinion, Council would form a position and said he felt Council had a legal obligation in the matter.
Single Use Plastic Policy
Cr Watts said she was disappointed in the lack of contributions to the policy, which only received 34 submissions and questioned if it was because people didn’t care or if Council were not reaching the right people.
Cr Burns commented that there be a budget set aside for individual Councillor training.
Walter Pye Avenue – Part Road Closure
Cr Abbott asked if Council could endorse a part-road closure, before consent is granted for a development application. Mr Pringle advised they could.
Sustainability Committee Name Change
Cr Abbott put forward a motion, from the sustainability committee that the name be changed to Climate Action Advisory committee. Cr Campbell said he felt the motion was “political and devisive” and that if Council changed the committee’s name they were going “the wrong way” and Council should be cohesive. Cr Fisher questioned if the committee had discussed the name change. Cr Abbott said it had been discussed, but had not been included in the minutes of the meeting, further explaining the Mayor and Cr Burns were at the meeting to confirm it was raised and put forward as a motion. The Mayor further explained that the committee felt sustainability did not encompass adequately the role of the committee. Cr Burns added that there were people in the meeting who felt they should support children striking and the Mayor questioned the relevance to the motion of a name change and took it as a comment. Cr Kiwa Fisher abstained from voting on the motion, noting he had not abstained from a vote before. The motion was not passed.
Cr Abbott asked if some horse studs had a water licence to take from Glenbawn Dam and asked how they could ensure they were complying with the rules? The questioned was answered in writing from the General Manager of Council, but not read out in the Council meeting.
Cr Abbott asked a question in relation to all conflict of interest being declared at the airport sub-committee meetings. Please see: Conflict Question: Mayor “Personally Affronted!”