Acquisition: All Stone Quarry will look to purchase Alexandra Street to expand its operations. Photo: JONATHON MAGRATH

Clinic gets the okay – City of Greater Bendigo Council Briefs

July 22, 2021 BY

A MEDICAL building is set for 71 Lily Street, Bendigo after City of Greater Bendigo council granted a permit application during Monday’s regular council meeting.

The clinic will deliver paediatric services including occupational therapy, speech pathology, social worker and mental health.

Two of the three existing outbuildings will be demolished while the main structure will be renovated into four consulting rooms, with a third outbuilding repurposed as a playroom.

Councillors agreed that the use and development of a medical centre in a residential zone like Lily Street is acceptable and encouraged.

Under the general residential zone requirements, the building would need 14 car spaces, yet the proposal only included 12.

Council agreed, however, that two few car spaces did not warrant any debate and noted that many clients of the clinic will be utilising telehealth services and clinicians will be conducting off-site appointments.


Street for sale

Councillors have voted in favour of discontinuing Alexandra Street in Eaglehawk as a public road.

All Stone Quarries, which uses adjacent land to the byway for its quarry and landscaping retail operation, has bought land along the street and is looking to purchase the road as well as part of expansion plans.

Once discontinued, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, with which the street will be vested, has outlined their preference for roads to be bought alongside land parcels, for “administrative efficiency”.

Councillors decided that the road holds “limited to no public benefit” and unanimously approved the recommendation.

Once discontinued, costs of maintaining the road will be paid by DELWP, which could save the City an estimated $2000 to $5000 a year on resurfacing and road renewal.

Council will provide 28 days’ notice for submissions from residents to be received.


Positions filled

Five new members have been appointed to the Greater Bendigo Positive Ageing Advisory Committee.

The role of the PAAC includes integrating the needs of older residents into City plans, projects, and initiatives, increasing opportunities for elderly residents to participate in activities across the region and advocating for the improvement of physical and mental wellbeing of older adults.

All current committee members have had their terms extended due to a COVID-19. Planned face-to-face meetings were then cancelled and not enough members had access to technology to conduct online meetings.

In April, three members came to the end of their five-year term and two resigned due to health or other reasons.

Seven interviews were held for the five vacant positions after an expression of interest process in May this year.

Chair of the PAAC, Cr Greg Penna welcomed the new members to the committee which meets every six to eight weeks.

“I must thank these past members for their time, dedication, and commitment over their time and also thank the ongoing members and welcome the new proposed members,” he said.


Surveillance sparks debate

Council has adopted a new CCTV policy, outlining procedures and decision making around the City’s network.

There are currently 148 cameras across 25 locations and a State funded upgrade to the CCTV network in 2017 saw a dramatic increase from six suspects identified in the 2017/2018 financial year to 155 suspects found in the 2018/19 financial year.

However, Cr David Fagg voiced his concern of the new policy, saying there is important information missing.

“Even though the number of cameras has increased exponentially over the last few years, I doubt our sense of safety has also increased,” he said.

“We know Victoria police identified 155 suspects in the financial year 18/19 yet we do not know if this led to any convictions or what alleged crimes were involved.”

Cr Fagg suggested the policy include how the effectiveness of the network will be proved, more transparency on the locations of CCTV cameras, a shared cost with the Victoria Police and stronger messaging for Victoria Police to share relevant statistics.

The policy was approved with Cr Fagg and Cr Vaughan Williams voting against.


New power rules in play

A draft delegations and authorisations policy has been approved, the final step in the council’s 2017 annual corporate governance framework audit.

The policy includes guidelines and management of delegated officers and committees that play a “key role in enabling responsive, transparent and accountable decision making across the organisation”.

Council also voted on updates to the suite of instruments that govern delegations of authority.

Changes to the instruments of delegations of council staff are in line with the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Food Amendment Act 2020 that came into effect on 1 July this year.

Cr Fagg noted that delegated powers, such as the power for an internal panel to decide on planning applications, provide efficiency for council, however the “high number of rejections needed for council approval is having a negative impact”.

“It means council is deciding on fewer planning applications, witnessed tonight when we only have one planning application to decide on,” he said.

“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.”


Pay rise for ARC

Remuneration for the independent members of the audit and risk committee has increased.

The money paid to members will increase from $600 to $875 per meeting for independent members, and from $750 to $1125 per meeting for the chairperson.

The ARC meets approximately four times a year for a duration of two hours per meeting.

The new remunerations are in line with other regional municipalities, with Bendigo ARC members on the lower end compared to other councils.

Councillors agreed that a review was overdue, and the increase in money paid was reflective of the work the ARC does.


Contracts awarded

Capital contracts have been awarded to Nature Play Solutions for the Wolstencroft Reserve Playspace worth $236,436, ACE Infrastructure for the Bendigo Airport airside upgrade worth $775,467, Bendigo Truck Repairs and Spares for the supply and delivery of two asphalt patrol trucks worth $461, 809, and Coleman Rail for the Central Deborah Gold Mine points and crossing renewal worth $562,038.