July Council meeting and report
Wrap up of last night’s council meeting
Last night’s council meeting was light on in terms of decisions to be made. We had a recognition of the 150th anniversary of the City of Sandhurst, and then got into the substance of the meeting. We debated one planning item, an allied health centre in Lily St, for which I voted to approve. You read that right – one planning item. In my view, we should be debating and voting on at least 4 per meeting, on average. As I said last night:
As Bendigo grows numerically – elected officials, not council staff, should have appropriate control over what types of housing, hotels, commercial buildings etc get the nod. Why? Because these decisions fundamentally shape what kind of city we will become. I understand the need for a delegated panel to decide on straightforward applications, but the pendulum has swung too far. Residents, if nothing else, expect councillors to be able to make decisions on planning applications.
The only other real topic of note was the CCTV policy, which aims to govern our CCTV network in the CBD (draft version here). Along with Cr Williams, I voted against this policy – not because I don’t think we need a policy but because this one is not strong enough.
Report to the community – July 2021
As we meet and report on events and issues, I am very conscious that the current Covid-19 lockdown is having a huge impact on our whole community – businesses of many kinds, school-children, families, sporting clubs of all kinds, and important large events that have had to be cancelled. Although difficult, it is also heartening to see how people are supporting others where they can. I am sure we all have seen examples of this behaviour. One heartening example concerned the caterer for the Australian Sheep and Wool show, which had to be cancelled. Faced with a huge amount of food that would go to waste, the Bendigo community had by Saturday, bought up all their meals. Fantastic stuff.
- Refugee Week lunch in the new Bendigo Beehive building. Thanks to Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, and the Neighbourhood Collective, for organising this excellent event
- Spoke at a panel on faith and work at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, in Flora Hill
- Facilitated a road safety meeting regarding Creeth St in Long Gully with Regional Roads Victoria and City staff – I thank those local residents who came and contributed.
- NAIDOC week civic reception – it was great to see our First Nations people’s pride for their country and culture.
- Visited several local manufacturing businesses: impressed by their enthusiasm for their work and for our city. These included Fleetwood in Long Gully, who manufacture modular buildings, and Australia Turnable Company in Kangaroo Flat.
I just want to briefly point to the development of the Council Plan, which will guide our decision making and priorities over the next new few years. Councillors have been working on this for the last couple of months, assisted by council staff. It is a large and comprehensive document, and is informed by community input, especially the Deliberative Panel, where residents met over a weekend to thrash out an agreed vision and values for our city. As a resident, if you feel you have an important priority for our community, please get in touch so it can be reflected in the final council plan.