Question Time - Ordinary Meeting of Council - 28 February 2017

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.


Ruth Sutherland asked can Heritage or Design & Development Overlay reviews please be conducted on the section of Geelong West not included at present? This area is between Pakington Street and Shannon Avenue and up to the boundary at Church Street.

At the moment there are weatherboard homes of significant historical value in this area being which are able to be demolished at any time and/or re-developed into units, sub divisions or modern homes.

This is concerning for residents as increasing development and traffic volumes are affecting the character of this area which should be included, preserved and protected, as is the rest of Geelong West and surrounding suburbs including Newtown and Drumcondra.

Kathy Alexander noted the question.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting Director Planning & Development in the following terms:


Thank you for your recent question regarding the potential expansion to the heritage control in Geelong West. The Geelong West Strategy Plan 1983 highlighted a general area of heritage concentration, the boundaries of which were broadly Latrobe Terrace, Waratah Street, Shannon Avenue and Aberdeen Street. The City of Geelong West Urban Conservation Study 1986 followed, which identified 8 heritage precincts. All precincts identified now have a heritage overlay in place.

The strategy from 1983 looked at the whole of the City of Geelong West and made a determination on the location of potential heritage precincts. The area north of Waratah Street was not included, however where individually significant buildings were identified individual overlays were applied which include 9 properties between Waratah, Pakington, Elizabeth and Church Streets.

As part of the a heritage study a threshold for determining the significance of each property in a potential precinct has to be determined. The thresholds include matters like:

In order for an area to meet the threshold as a heritage precinct there would need to be a high number of significant and contributory buildings that are intact and of good or excellent condition. It is assumed at this time of the 1983 Strategy Plan, a similar threshold analysis was completed to identify the area of ‘heritage conservation’ for the 1986 Urban Conservation Study.

Officers are currently working on a Municipal Heritage Strategy which among other things will look at how Council prioritises heritage matters such as implementing existing studies, identifying new areas and responding to requests from the public. At this time we have a number of outstanding studies that identify the need for heritage overlays. Implementing these existing studies is seen as a priority.

A Design and Development Overlay can influence new development and additions/extensions but would not control demolition or restrict subdivision or unit development. If applied it would set out design objectives only. Any application for development that requires a planning permit currently needs to meet the neighbourhood character objectives set out in the scheme which covers setbacks, heights, architectural styles, built form, scale and pattern of development in the area.

Please contact Sarah Storen Acting Manager Planning Strategy & Urban Growth on 5272 4814 if you require any further information.


Cherre Hawkins asked questions relating to Item 4 of the reports: Sale of Land to the Roman Catholic Trust - Peninsula Drive, Drysdale. Administrators, the recent community update highlights that part of your Administrator-ship role is to bring a change of culture and good governance to the City of Greater Geelong.

As my understanding is that the Council has entered into conversation with the proposed buyer and undertaken a tabletop review of the Potato Shed Master Plan (in the absence of including the Potato Shed Committee of Management). This is one matter that I am aware. The RCT is entitled to seek to purchase the land for expansion. The COGG is entitled to consider selling the land. As a resident (and a previous objector to the original proposal), my expectation is that any review or consideration be open for discussion and include the relevant stakeholders!

My question is: how does this perceived practice of operating behind closed doors, show transparency and integrity in the Council's daily operation and decision making processes and give confidence to us residents?

Kathy Alexander noted the question.


Vicky Grosser - Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group and Sharelle McGuirk - Board Member Wathaurong Cooperative thanked Council for the acceptance of the revised Terms of Reference for the Karreenga Aboriginal Advisory Committee and provided comments in relation to Committee representation.


Michael Exton asked the following questions on behalf o the Board Members of St Ignatius College in relation to Agenda Item 4 – Sale of Land to Roman Catholic Trust – Peninsula Drive, Drysdale:

  1. A broad range of community groups have or currently use College facilities. The College’s proposed building project on this land will ensure we have the room to continue this and expand that community support. For example, the multi purpose hall we propose to build on this site could be used by community sporting groups.

  2. This important project is vital for the continued strength and growth of education in the Geelong region. Demand for places in our schools continues to grow and we know that families move to Geelong and the Bellarine want great education facilities. We need to be able to provide quality school facilities to attract them and then have places for them.

  3. This project represents an investment of $9ml into the local economy and supports Council’s vision for a ‘greater Geelong’ by further strengthening this great education and community precinct.

  4. St Ignatius is a member of the Potato Shed Committee of Management and a financial contributor to this important performing arts and community facility.

    St Ignatius is proud of this unique partnership with Bellarine Secondary College and the City of Greater Geelong and has always worked for the improvement and development of the Potato Shed.

Kathy Alexander acknowledged the comments.


Jennifer Bantow asked if GEN Fyansford can be required to maintain and restore the heritage listed old Swan Inn at Fyansford after arsonists set fire to the building?

Tim Hellsten took the question on notice.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Manager City Development in the following terms:


I refer to your question to Council regarding the Swan Inn at Fyansford and whether the owners can be required to maintain the building.

I can advise that the owners have engaged a number of consultants to review the building. These include a Heritage consultant to prepare a Conservation Management Plan – this has commenced. Engineers have reviewed the building and determined that a new roof is required and it is expected that a heritage permit application will soon be lodged so that the new roof can be constructed before winter. Temporary structural works have been completed.

A physical survey of the site is to be carried out as well as investigation of the historic landscape.

I hope this alleviates your concerns regarding the building.


Fiona Conroy asked questions in relation to the Saleyards:

The City of Greater Geelong has said it will establish a Saleyards Advisory Committee and that this Committee would meet before the end of February. It is now the end of February and the Saleyards Advisory Committee has still not been appointed, let alone met.

  1. Can you please explain why this delay has taken place?

  2. Can you also please let livestock producers know when a Saleyards Advisory Committee will be appointed and meet?

William Tieppo acknowledged the process was behind schedule and advised there have been eight submissions to the Advisory Committee and these will be considered this week.

Council is looking to appoint committee members and have the first meeting scheduled during the first two weeks of March.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Director City Services in the following terms:


Thank you for submitting your questions regarding the Geelong Saleyards.

Please find below responses to your questions.

The City of Greater Geelong has said it will establish a Saleyards Advisory Committee and that this Committee would meet before the end of February. It is now the end of February and the Saleyards Advisory Committee has still not been appointed, let alone met.

a. Can you please explain why this delay has taken place? b. Can you also please let livestock producers know when a Saleyards Advisory Committee will be appointed and meet? At the meeting I acknowledged the process was behind schedule with Expressions of Interest closing on Friday 17 February 2017. The City received nine (9) Expressions of Interest, however, didn’t receive a suitable Expression of Interest from a Regional Agribusiness expert.

Since the Council meeting, a selection panel made up on myself, a Director from SurfCoast Shire and a G21 Regional Alliance representative agreed on the Advisory Committee members.

The first meeting will be scheduled within the coming weeks and a media release will be issued to advise the community of the Committee members.

If you require additional information or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me on 5272 4317.


The following comment was presented on behalf of Lex and Lola Gugger:

Thank you for the work to date on the sheep section of the Geelong Saleyards. Being able to sell sheet in Geelong has made a significant difference for the Gugger family, both financially and physically, saving two trips to Ballarat which had significant costs in time and expenses.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Director City Services in the following terms:


Thank you for submitting your questions regarding the Geelong Saleyards.

Please find below responses to your questions.

The City of Greater Geelong has said it will establish a Saleyards Advisory Committee and that this Committee would meet before the end of February. It is now the end of February and the Saleyards Advisory Committee has still not been appointed, let alone met.

  1. Can you please explain why this delay has taken place?

  2. Can you also please let livestock producers know when a Saleyards Advisory Committee will be appointed and meet? At the meeting I acknowledged the process was behind schedule with Expressions of Interest closing on Friday 17 February 2017. The City received nine (9) Expressions of Interest, however, didn’t receive a suitable Expression of Interest from a Regional Agribusiness expert.

Since the Council meeting, a selection panel made up on myself, a Director from SurfCoast Shire and a G21 Regional Alliance representative agreed on the Advisory Committee members.

The first meeting will be scheduled within the coming weeks and a media release will be issued to advise the community of the Committee members.

If you require additional information or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me on 5272 4317


Alison Williams raised the following questions about the OH & S Issues at the Saleyards:

“Vicki Shelton responded that Council conducts OH & S inspections on a monthly (staff amenities), and six monthly (yards and surrounds) basis”.

How can the Administrators accept there has been adequate Council inspections at the Saleyards when the Safetzone report for November 2016 states there is, “no Occupational Health and Safety Management system in place”.

Can Council please also post the reports of the OH & S inspections referred to by Vicki Shelton on the Saleyards website?

William Tieppo responded there is a lot of history and reports about the state of the facility and we are moving towards addressing these concerns in terms of finding out costs to identify what to address in relation to OH & S concerns. We do have a full OH&S manual for the site in place.

Kathy Alexander added the Administrators have spent quite a lot of time at the Saleyards recently and I have to say I don’t believe there has ever been any major investment in the Saleyards, but what we can’t do is we can’t go back 50 years and indeed some of the farmers thought it wasn’t too bad. Lots of small jobs have been completed by our staff to meet OH & S requirements.

The Saleyards hasn’t been a major priority of the previous Councils and I take your point and see everyone is a bit resentful of the site, however we need to be sure that risk management and effective OH and S standards and asset management going forward are in place. I understand it is frustrating. There have been times when staff has put recommendations to Council and they have not been accepted.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Director City Services in the following terms:


Thank you for submitting your questions regarding the Geelong Saleyards.

Please find below responses to your questions.

How can the Administrators accept there has been adequate Council inspections at the Saleyards when the Safetzone report for November 2016 states there is, “no Occupational Health and Safety Management system in place”? Can Council please also post the reports of the OH&S inspections on the Saleyards website?? Why should beef producers be financially disadvantaged and denied a saleyards servcie as a direct result of negligence and mismanagement by the City of Greater Geelong? At the meeting I responded there is a lot of history and reports about the condition of the facility and we are moving towards addressing these concerns in terms of finding out costs to identify what to address in relation to OH&S concerns. The City now has a full OH&S manual for the site in place, and this recent document will be the only OH&S information posted on the website.

Dr Kathy Alexander advised that the Administrators have spent quite a lot of time at the Saleyards recently and noted that there has never been any major investment in the Saleyards. She said that what the Administrators can’t do is go back 50 years to how it used to be and indeed some of the farmers thought the current condition of the site wasn’t too bad. Lots of small jobs have been completed by our staff to meet OH&S requirements but not to the scale required to maintain it at a safe standard.

On a number of occasions Kathy and I have both acknowledged the difficulties experienced by local producers due to the closure of the Saleyards in August 2016 which was necessary to ensure the safety of our staff and the general public. We have been meeting regularly with various groups of saleyards users since the closure and have discussed options to provide assistance to farmers.

Until recently all groups dismissed assistance options other than our recent plan to establish holding pens at the Saleyards for small cattle producers to be able to drop off their stock for collection by larger trucks to be transported to other Saleyards. This option will be available to cattle producers shortly.

If you require additional information or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me on 5272 4317.


Peter Dowling asked if the Administrators were aware that the section of Maud Street between Moorabool Street and Gheringhap Street is about to undergo a full road reconstruction with works due to start this Thursday, 2 March and expected to take approximately nine weeks (weather permitting).

Council has advised residents by letter that all vehicles be placed out of the street as access will be restricted between 7am and 4pm.

As this affects 37 properties plus another five that are under construction.

Can Council issue all affected residents with vehicular access from Maud Street with a “Carte Blanche” resident permit which allows them to park in nearby and possibly not so nearby streets?

William Tieppo responded he would make contact with Mr Dowling in relation to his suggestion.


Judy Fyfe asked the following questions re the Saleyards in relation to the 24 January Council Meeting, and in particular about detailed financial reports:

  1. When will the breakdown of the categories of the Income and Expenditure Table be available as discussed at a meeting with Council staff on 20 February?

  2. Could the Saleyard Users Group please be provided with the budgets for the Saleyard operations for the last ten years and the current year?

  3. Does the Council have any strategy in place to compensate/reimburse livestock producers or transport operators for extra cartage costs to Ballarat or Colac, since the Geelong yards closed in August 2016; this was mentioned last year?

Kathy Alexander responded that she would be happy to hear proposals of how Council could support people who were inconvenienced, and to be perfectly frank we have not received any feedback. We are still prepared to offer support and ask you and your colleagues to advise what those supports may be.

Peter Dorling added the Saleyards Advisory Committee will help deal with the issue.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Director City Services in the following terms:


Thank you for submitting your questions regarding the Geelong Saleyards.

Please find below responses to your questions.

  1. When will the breakdown of the categories of the Income and Expenditure Table be available as discussed at a meeting with Council staff on 20 February 2017?

Financial information as requested was emailed to yourself and the Income and Expenditure table was published on the saleyards website on Friday 3 March 2017.

  1. Could the Saleyard Users Group please be provided with the budgets for the Saleyard operations for the last ten years and the current year?

Please refer attached budgets for both recurrent and capital works over the past 10 years.

  1. Does the Council have any strategy in place to compensate/reimburse livestock producers or transport operators for extra cartage costs to Ballarat or Colac, since the Geelong yards closed in August 2016; this was mentioned last year?

Meetings held with Council officers and Saleyards User group members discussed options to support small cattle holders who may have been inconvenienced by the need to transport stock beyond Geelong. The preferred option was to provide a transport hub at Geelong where cattle can be brought for transfer.

With the formation of the Saleyards Advisory Committee, Council officers, will seek advice from the Committee on other support initiatives for Council to consider.

If you require additional information or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me on 5272 4317.


Reiny Nieuwenhof addressed Council in relation to Amendment C341:

As President of the G & D VVAA and on behalf of our Association I wish to express our support for Amendment C341 – a Heritage Overlay for the area designated as the Vietnam Veterans Avenue of Honour.

Kathy Alexander thanked Mr Nieuwenhof for his comments.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Acting Director Planning & Development in the following terms:


Thank you for your support question at our Council meeting of 28 February 2017, relating to Amendment C341. Your support for the amendment definitely made a difference to the Panel recommendations and Council decision.


Clive West asked what is the Budget or top figure allocated to “Our Future”?

Kathy Alexander responded the question be taken on notice. She added the report provided by the Commission of Inquiry required that the “Our Future” project be developed to gain a long term community vision for the municipality of Geelong.

Laurdina Gardner added she was confident the staff involved will deliver within the allocated budget.


A subsequent written response was provided by the Director Finance & Strategy in the following terms:


Thank you for your question raised at the Ordinary Council Meeting 28 February 2017.

“Our Future” Strategy has been initiated as a result from one of the key recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry Report that was released in March 2016: "Urgent priority be given to the development of a 20 to 30 year outcome-focussed vision and strategy for the Council and the City developed in consultation with key business, community and other stakeholders." Council has allocated a total budget of $545,000 to develop the strategy (“Our Future”).

This includes an engagement with the Community spanning from August 2016-July 2017.

Some highlights that have been achieved and are planned include:

If you would like further information on Our Future or would like to selfnominate for the Assembly on 6 May 2017, please go to: www.geelongaustralia.com.au/OurFuture


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