Reportback from March council meeting

New residential zones

The March council meeting was packed out when the council voted for new residential zones. After an outcry from residents, the council massively reduced the residential growth zones to a limited area around neighbourhood activity centres.

The north-west ward councillors succeeded in increasing the area which is protected by the Neighbourhood Residential Zone in Glenroy and Hadfield and Sue managed to increase the area which is protected by the Neighbourhood Residential Zone in Fawkner. This was important because the denser development should be near public transport. However, the lot sizes proposed by council officers were smaller than those originally advocated by the council officers in order to fit more developments on a block. The Neighbourhood Residential Zone allows for only two residences on a block but the General Residential Zone has no limit to how many residences are on a block. The reduction of lot sizes was designed to allow developers to squeeze more residences onto a block.

Sue also tried to amend the Residential Growth Zone to force developers to provide communal open space in developments of six or more dwellings. Sue’s amendments were lost with only councillors Lita Gillies and Oscar Yildiz supporting them.

Development issues are always very conflicted with many different viewpoints. Sue will write more on these issues soon. Some councillors are under the illusion that denser development will automatically create more affordable housing. This isn’t supported by the evidence. Speculation and the market are the reason for housing being so unaffordable in Australia. Public housing is the solution to housing affordability. 

Make consultants reports public

The meeting passed a motion moved by Sue for the consultants’ reports that were used to justify the heights of high rise buildings in the C123 amendment to be made public. This will allow residents to have more information for their submissions to the planning panel on C123.

The meeting also voted for a motion that Sue moved for a review of the policy on tree cover and vegetation in Moreland, as part of the council’s response to heat waves. (See also Council votes for motion to protect vulnerable during heatwaves.)

Sue opposes junkets

The March meeting voted to send five councillors to the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly, at a cost of more than $10,000. Sue tried to amend the motion to limit the number of councillors attending to only one or two. Mayor Lambros Tapinos argued that these conferences and trips are “training opportunities” for councillors. There is always a lot of argument between the other councillors over who should get to go on trips to conferences and award presentations. Sue argued that many of these conferences and trips that councillors attend amount to junkets. Why do we need five councillors to move a motion on behalf of Moreland council?