Report on June 8 council meeting and council budget

Issues which came up at the June council meeting were:

Construction sites in Moreland. After many complaints by residents about neighbouring building sites blocking access to houses, blocking the footpath, damaging neighbouring properties and creating excessive noise, the council has agreed to carry out an independent review of the management of construction sites and will upgrade its website to provide more information to residents about how to report issues to council.

Herbicide use. After some complaints from residents about the use of dangerous poisons like roundup, a Draft Pest and Weed Management Policy is out for public consultation and is likely to be voted on in August.

Anti-Racism banners on council buildings. A motion from councillor John Kavanagh to remove anti-racism banners from council buildings was defeated.

Urban Heat Island Effect Action Plan adopted.

Ethical procurement policy. Moreland has adopted an updated procurement policty. As a result of a motion I had moved at a previous meeting, companies involved in Australia’s offshore and onshore immigration processing system that fail to meet the No Business in Abuse pledge requirements will be excluded. Another amendment to adopt the Ethical Paper pledge to use forest-free paper was also adopted.

Moreland Neighbourhood Centres. More restrictive setbacks for 4-storey buildings in the Neighbourhood Centres which back onto the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. New provisions to provide further guidance on the siting and design of car stackers within new developments; the appropriate use of materials and finishes; protection of heritage places.

Disability Parking permits. Earlier this year, I raised the issue of people being inconvenienced by the council’s decision to stop sending out reminders to people about renewing their disability parking stickers. In June, council reversed this decision and voted to resume sending renewal notices to people.

Bridge over Merri Creek near CERES. In 2015, I proposed a motion for Moreland to join Darebin council in building a bridge for pedestrians and bikes across the Merri Creek between CERES and Beavers Road. The June meeting voted to contribute $75,000 towards the design costs for the proposed CERES/Beavers Road Bridge. This will be a joint project with Darebin Council

O’Hea St/Main St intersection, Coburg North. A few months ago, a petition came to council advocating traffic lights at this intersection. This option was not recommended by council staff because of the possibility of a level crossing removal at Bell St Coburg which would have a big impact this level crossing. The council voted for a raised threshold treatment at the intersection and to set up a working group to address the traffic issues on O’Hea St in Coburg North and PascoeVale Households will be letterboxed, seeking volunteers for the working group.

Council budget. There was a victory in the budget for the residents of Merlynston with the decision to allocate money to restore the Merlynston Progress Hall. This has been an 8-year battle by the residents to get the council to restore the hall. I have been supporting this campaign since I’ve been on council. However, the budget also voted to increase fees and charges above inflation. Some of the fees and charges for Home and Community Care services will increase well above inflation. This is why I decided to vote against the budget. You can see my reasons below.