No support for proposed quarry – Golden Plains Shire council meeting briefs

September 1, 2021 BY

Uncertainty: 1805 Rokewood-Shelford Road could become a quarry site after a VCAT review. Photo: GOOGLE EARTH

AT their regular meeting on Tuesday, 24 August, Golden Plains Shire councillors voted not to support an application for land south-east of Rokewood to be used as a quarry.

That was despite an officer recommendation that the application go ahead with conditions.

However, the issue is already before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal because the Shire took too long in making a decision.

Potential noise pollution, and negative visual impacts on the surrounding rural farming landscape were all concerns for councillors in rejecting the application before the meeting.

Cr Clayton Whitfield said the “significant… pivotal factor” of the application is the permit for a dwelling.

“It is impossible for me to form a position of support for this application until the outcomes of those VCAT hearings determine the legitimacy or compliance of buffer distances proposed in this application,” he said.

“I follow the recommendation of non-support until those hearings are held.”

Cr Owen Sharkey said a decision of non-support is a “sensible” one.

“When there is a cloud of uncertainty, it identifies that we should take our time,” he said.

“No doubt this will be coming back to us in a different manner.”

Four objections were received from the community, also concerned with the impact on surrounding catchments, cultural heritage, brolga breeding, roads, neighbouring homes, agriculture, and traffic.

 

10-year financial plan adopted

Councillors have endorsed a draft Long Term Financial Plan, which they expect to adopt at their October meeting.

The draft plan for the Shire’s finances over the next ten years is now out for community feedback until Monday, 13 September.

Cr Les Rowe was keen to see the document in action.

“I’m looking froward to seeing how this document will shape our future going forward,” he said.

“There will be a lot of tough decisions to be made throughout this.”

Cr Sharkey said the document will “flex and mould” itself with the issues and councillors of the day.

“It’s very open and transparent about future costs,” he said.

 

Principles for planning

Community Infrastructure Planning Principles have been adopted by council.

Director of community services Lisa Letic said they will “guide… future planning and investment in community infrastructure.”

“These nine principles are designed to ensure efficient and effective management of council-owned community infrastructure that promotes an active, connected and vibrant community,” she said.

“Other principles are ensuring facilities are inclusive, accessible, sustainable and safe, utilisation is optimised through partnership and collaboration, and encourages multiple uses.”

Cr Whitfield said the principles, under the Community Services and Infrastructure Plan, will be used as an “internal reference.”

“It will ensure the decisions we’re making are made with a calculated approach,” he said.

“Any time we can do that, it is going to allow for a better outcome.”

Cr Sharkey said he “thoroughly enjoyed” reviewing these documents.

“Tough decisions are a little bit easier to make with documents like this,” he said.

 

Business registration shift

A quarterly pro-rata approach to registration fees for new business premises has been adopted by council.

Director of infrastructure and development Phil Josipovic said the Shire was the only council in the region which doesn’t currently apply pro-rata to new businesses’ registration fees.

“Currently any new business that applies for registration throughout the course of the year is subject to the same 12-month fee regardless of when they apply,” he said.

“Applying pro-rata to new food and wellbeing registration fees is a fairer approach and common practice.”

Cr Brett Cunningham and Cr Gavin Gamble said the change will streamline the process and policies.

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