Council Report – April 2021

I hope you are all doing well, and had a lovely Easter and/or school holidays. This is my brief report for the April 2021 council meeting. This is a very short summary of the work that a councillor does, but I hope it give you a picture of what I’ve been up to.

[IMAGE: Artists Bree Galvin and Barb Fordham had their works feature on the front covers of two of the What I Did Last Week volumes. Picture: CHRIS PEDLER, Bendigo Advertiser]

Events

  • Listening post at Epsom: two of our youth councillors attended, including the Youth Mayor Jack Smith – thank you for being there!
  • Opening of the Shine Bright early years centre at the new Westbury housing development in Maiden Gully.
  • Book launch at Dudley House of CoGB Covid 19 art project  – “What I did last week” – excellent art work
  • Onsite meeting at Victoria Hill to progress conservation plan
  • Season launch of Eaglehawk Football Netball Club
  • Long Gully community plan working group
  • Ironbark Gully Friends working bee
  • Play in the Garden –  this was an event to celebrate National Playgroup Week at the Garden of the Future. I would particularly like to thank the woman who shouted my 2 year old a sausage after I realised I had no cash…parenting fail.

Selected Resident conversations

  • Historical preservation – the need for a Goldfields research and learning centre which would incorporate displays of the significant collections that exist, as well as space for historical research and opportunities for learning the archival sciences, and preservation skills.
  • Noise nuisance is a common issue that I am talking with residents about. There is a need to review the way that evidence for noise complaints is collected, and what actions can be taken to ensure noise in residential areas is reasonable.

Housing Supply

Lastly, I want to raise the issue of housing supply. Obviously we need more housing, especially affordable housing. There are insistent calls by various groups to increase housing supply by “streamlining” planning processes so that large housing developments can be approved more quickly. For example, NAB chief executive Ross McEwan recently told parliament that planning rules should be “revamped” to this effect. However, as a council, we already have very little control over large housing developments. Streamlining planning for housing developments runs the risk of housing estates galloping ahead of the other infrastructure and services that are needed for healthy neighbourhoods. Furthermore, Bendigo still has about 660 hectares of vacant residential-zoned land within our urban growth boundary. We are hardly in urgent need of more greenfields developments. We need to think seriously about how we advocate for stronger local influence in housing development.