Question Time - Ordinary Meeting of Council - 28 October 2014

The following questions were addressed to the above meeting. Some questions were adequately responded to at the meeting, however others required a more detailed response in writing.

This document includes both verbal and written responses. In this instance, no written responses were provided as issues were adequately addressed at the meeting.

Lukas McVey asked if written confirmation has been acquired from Boral confirming that they will provide a buffer which does not affect the current design overlay incorporated into the rezoning application, effectively giving up portions of their lease? Does the proponents request to defer, based on wanting to appoint specialist consultants to undertake a more detailed analysis of issues raised in submissions, restart any timeframe process and subsequently provide council with the opportunity to provide broader community and stakeholder consultation and notification, request a traffic impact assessment which considers Brentwood and Grange Park carriage ways and require a written confirmation from Boral regarding a commitment to a buffer zoning? Can council commit that any rezoning of the land in question is accompanied by or is consistent with those conditions and block sizes of the existing Grange Park Estate, historical planning applications and rejections within the Grange Park area and further reject the proposed existing overlay which does not comply with the buffer zones recommended by CCMA, 10% open space, EPA and buffers with rail, substations and Boral?

Peter Bettess responded that the issues will be sorted out with the further studies being done and the format for the Amendment could change as a result of those.

Dean Smith asked re C276: Why is council proposing this rezoning and development when in April 2014 an application for a two lot subdivision in Grange Park Drive, was rejected for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal would adversely impact the amenity of the residential area;

  2. The proposed use would generate an inappropriate level of traffic on the adjoining residential road network;

  3. Approval of the proposed development would adversely affect the low density residential character of the immediate surrounding area, and also when in 2008 a permit refusal by council to a proposed childcare centre was upheld at a VCAT appeal. This proposal was also refused on grounds that an inappropriate level of traffic would be created on the adjoining residential road network, and approval would adversely affect the low density residential character of the immediate surrounding area.

  4. Due to its immediate proximity to the Grange Park Estate do the Councillors agree that surely the subject site is part of the Grange Park Estate and as such should be comparable in lot sizes and restrictive covenants to ensure the character and amenity of the current neighbourhood are maintained, rather than be treated as a much higher density residential area such as is found in the newly created Armstrong Creek Area?

  5. There have been reports that the Green Growling Grass Frog which is endangered within Victoria has its habitat within the subject site, can the Councillors agree that further studies should be undertaken to further explore this and protect the habitat should the frog be found to be living here. These studies would have to allow for the season life cycle of the frogs?

Peter Bettess responded that further traffic assessments will be carried out as a consequence of the development of the land. The study will consider the habitat within the subject site.

Mik Aidt addressed Council as follows:

Geelong Sustainability and Frack Free Geelong would like to acknowledge all of the development that has taken place since the initial draft of the EMS and the complex document we now see before us. In particular, inclusion of the One Planet Living principles into the broad fabric of this new policy. We commend you for this. This is a bold and important step for both the Council and the Greater Geelong community which shows strength and leadership. We encourage you to keep demonstrating leadership - upfront, in the newspapers, on the web, Twitter, Facebook – by taking new initiatives, visible and remarkable initiatives, and by finding the money to ensure the targets set out in the policy are met. Given the absence of commitment to the environment and sustainability in Council’s last budget, how will the importance of this new Environment Management Strategy be reflected in the next budget?

Gary Van Driel responded that in relation to Council commitment the new Environment Management Strategy has a broad range of actions some of which will be part of normal operations. Any additional funding for individual actions may be considered through the normal budget processes.

Andrew Kelly asked:

  1. Are Councillors comfortable that consultation undertaken by Council staff on planning Amendment C276 was appropriate given the large number of outstanding issues highlighted by residents who did not receive notification - issues which are now recognised as serious enough by the developer to enter into direct consultation with the residents themselves? Cr Richards advised that through the submissions received and the recent public meeting (attended by 70-80 residents), both Peter Bettess and he gained a better view of the resident’s concerns.

  2. The shaky start to the consultative process has been compounded by the want to apply a Development Plan Overlay should the land be re-zoned - an Overlay which is both exempt from Notice and Review (43.04-2). Should the land be rezoned at some point in the future, are Councillors willing to support resident calls for prescriptive inclusions in the DPO which include i) 1500m2 block sizes along the length of Hams Rd then mixed sizes back to the south with no multi dwellings and no blocks less than 500m2, (ii) traffic arrangements designed to maintain traffic in Grange Park Drive and Brentwood Way at current levels and (iii) provide appropriate habitat for the resident frogs and family of wedge tailed eagles? These inclusions being designed to maintain current neighbourhood character and amenity, reduce traffic congestion and 'rat runs' in 'back roads' and acknowledge the natural flora and fauna of the land.

    Cr Richards responded the question would be addressed during debate of the item and added there is a possibility the matter may be deferred.

  3. Amendment C276 is not a bubble – residents have highlighted serious impacts that extend well beyond Hams Road, but sadly, they do not appear to have been fully tested in the reports before you this evening – leaving open ends, many unanswered questions and more work to be done. Notwithstanding the vote tonight, do Councillors intend undertaking a comprehensive study of the wider Ghazeepore Road precinct to analyse existing and future traffic use with a focus on congestion solutions, road suitability (fit for purpose), pedestrian & cyclist safety, lighting and speed limits?

    Cr Richards added a Notice of Motion before Council tonite contains information in respect to the above issues. The Notice of Motion asks for a report to come back to Council by the end of February 2015.

Joan Lindros acknowledged and congratulated Council on the development of the new Environment Management Strategy document.

Eilish De Avalon asked where Council stands on the matter of Incitec Pivot dumping its industrial waste into public drinking water that is affecting the lives and health of all residents, livestock, racehorses, crops and livelihoods of beings in this region and what can be done to resist this State Government Initiative which favors corporations over public health? As part of your environmental policy where does Council stand on industrial toxic waste being dumped into public drinking water?

The Mayor acknowledged the question and advised that it is a State Government issue and not Council.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting General Manager Community Services in the following terms:

I refer and thank you for your question regarding the fluoridation of our water supply and note your comments.

The addition of fluoride into the public water supplies in Australia commenced in the 1950’s and has been widely implemented throughout all the Australian States. In Victoria over 90 per cent of the population has access to fluoridated water and Melbourne, for instance, has had a fluoridated drinking water supply since 1977.

The use of fluoride and the benefits to dental health have been extensively researched and documented over many years and further controlled within legislative requirements. The matter of fluoridation of drinking water has previously been raised with Council and it was determined that its use, benefits and any concerns need to be considered by the State Government, who is the responsible water authority and not by local councils.

At this point, unless responsibilities for Council change, there is no intention or obligation to pursue this matter further through Council. However, you are able to convey your concerns to the Environmental Health Unit of the Department of Health Victoria.

Steve Horvat asked questions in respect of the Privately Managed Sport Facilities:

  1. Council to provide assistance so that North Geelong may retain their NPL licence?

  2. To supply the required facilities to accommodate 300+ registered soccer players?

Cr Eddy Kontelj responded there is a report coming to Council later in the evening for debate and suggested the questions would be addressed at that time. Cr Kontelj acknowledged the contribution the Club made to the community.

The Mayor stated Council was aware of the growth in soccer and will form part of the discussion later this evening.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting General Manager Projects, Recreation & Central Geelong in the following terms:

Thank you for your questions submitted at our last Council meeting regarding privately managed sport and recreation facilities.

Council does not currently have any soccer facilities which meet the standards required for the National Premier League. Future soccer facilities within Armstrong Creek are planned to meet requirements for the National Premier League, but will not be built in the short term.

Council has supported North Geelong Soccer Club’s bid to enter the National Premier League, but is not able to provide additional facilities at this stage.

Clubs and community groups have the ability to book facilities which have the capacity for additional use. Use by the tenant club is generally prioritised to allow for clubs to grow within their local area.

Should you have any further questions, please contact Jake McMinn - A/Manager, Sport & Recreation on 5272 4759.

Michael Williams asked questions in relation to Amendment C276:

  1. Will the proposed road traffic study extend to include solutions for problems identified?

  2. Will the study have interaction with, or include, environment impact studies associated with proposed traffic management solutions?

  3. Will the study and its recommendations include reference to Swift Parrot habitat at eastern end of Hams Road?

Cr Richards responded that he is presenting a Notice of Motion in relation to these questions which will be debated later in the evening. The Notice of Motion will be addressing traffic issues in Waurn Ponds and recommendations by officers will be presented to Council by the end of February 2015.

Helen Grufferty addressed Council as follows in relation to Privately Managed Sport and Recreation Facilities: The report tabled for tonight’s meeting in regards to privately managed sports and recreation facilities describes the vast array of facilities in Geelong and their dual purpose in providing sport and recreation opportunities and open space for the community to use outside of formal sports bookings.

Are you aware that despite this claim Council reserves are often not accessible with tenant clubs occupying them year round; so much so that not only our members but even local schools in the northern suburbs have been utilising the facilities at the Bell Park Sports Club for a number of years due to their inability to access Council reserves? The Bell Park Sports Club was developed under the guidance of the Shire of Corio pre Council amalgamations due to a lack of soccer facilities in the north. We consistently rank in the top four clubs in Geelong for junior male and female participation.

Do you think it is only fair and reasonable that Council provide assistance to the Bell Park Sports Club until such time that alternate facilities are available at a cost commensurate with levied at tenant clubs on Council reserves?

Cr Eddy Kontelj agreed there is a need for further discussion and assistance in regard to your Club, but may not be addressed during debate this evening.


 A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting General Manager Projects, Recreation & Central Geelong in the following terms:

Thank you for your questions submitted at our last Council meeting regarding privately managed sport and recreation facilities.

Council is aware that the Bell Park Sports Club provides opportunities for participation in soccer to the community.

All clubs and community groups have the ability to book facilities which have the capacity for additional use. Use by the tenant club is generally prioritised to allow for clubs to grow within their local area. Fees for seasonal and casual use of facilities are subsidised relative to the cost of establishment and maintenance.

Tenant clubs also have a range of maintenance responsibilities within their tenancy agreements, including the maintenance of sports lights and components within pavilions.

Should you have any further questions, please contact Jake McMinn - A/Manager, Sport & Recreation on 5272 4759.

David Secen, President, Bell Park Sports Club, addressed Council as follows: In regards to the report tabled for tonight’s meeting regarding privately managed sports and recreation facilities, are you aware that in September 2012, I sat in this very chamber and questioned how was it possible that community soccer clubs on private land be omitted from the G21 Regional Football (Soccer) Strategy, when they are so integral to the provision of soccer in Geelong due to the lack of Council facilities. At that time an officer stated that the private clubs would be addressed outside of the G21 Football Strategy. Two years down the track and our council officers have finally prepared a report that advises no support be given.

Can you advise why it has taken so long for Council officers to deliver this report and what specific actions they will be taking to increase access to facilities for members of private soccer clubs and whether they will receive the same generous lease arrangements as the privileged tenant clubs on Council reserves?

Paul Jane responded Council works with all clubs to get access to facilities which are historically provided and work with FFV to monitor participation rates to ensure that if there are opportunities to gain access to ground as a consequence of low usage.

Ground stock has a limited working use and the majority of Council reserves are allocated to clubs.

Infrastructure such as lighting, in the majority of cases, is owned by the local clubs.

Negotiations need to occur to allow access to low usage grounds. Council supports these negotiations.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting General Manager Projects, Recreation & Central Geelong in the following terms:

Thank you for your questions submitted at our last Council meeting regarding privately managed sport and recreation facilities.

Council develops sporting facilities across the municipality to provide participation opportunities to the community. Regarding soccer, Council works with Football Federation Victoria to identify the demand for existing and future facilities.

The Community Priority Program was previously available to support capital works on sport and recreation facilities, from which the Bell Park Sports Club previously received funding. As the process for funding capital works has changed, Council is developing a Co-Contribution Policy for capital works to assist clubs in upgrading privately managed sport and recreation facilities.

Should you have any further questions, please contact Jake McMinn - A/Manager, Sport & Recreation on 5272 4759.

Richard Loth asked the following regarding Amendment C276:

  1. Can Council explain why Appendix 2 and 3 show Hams Road continuing west of Geelong Ring Road when it is in fact truncated?

    Peter Bettess responded the appendices were out of date and need to be updated. This will occur at the conclusion of the study.

  2. Will the development application consider the impact of bush/grass fires on the subject land given the proximity to open tracts of land to the south-west which is the direction of the prevailing wind?

    Peter Bettess advised this is an issue which will be looked at.



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