Development, tip site, misconduct on agenda

Mayor Barry Lyons

Mayor Barry Lyons

A PROPOSAL to build nine apartments at the Shamrock Hotel, funding to investigate the White Hills tip site, a finalised plan for the $30 million Kangaroo Flat Aquatic and Leisure Centre and a misconduct finding will come before City of Greater Bendigo councillors this week. 

Council officers are recommending the approval of the Shamrock Hotel apartment proposal, which includes partial demolition and development of the building. 

If approved, the apartments will be located in the refurbished former Central House.

Council admits that the demolition works "have the potential to have some adverse impact on the significance of the heritage place due to loss of original fabric".

However the council's heritage advisor said the use of the upper floors - which are currently derelict - would have a positive impact.

If approved, the apartments will feature two bedrooms, open plan living area, a bathroom and private open space. 

"The proposal would result in a high-quality development which ... would have economic and tourism benefits and have minimal impact on the availability of car parking in the CBD," the report states. 

Councillors are also expected to table the finalised Kangaroo Flat aquatic centre plan. 

The proposal has attracted $15 million of state government funding and a grant of $100,000 from a local organisation but requires additional funding for plans to progress. 

Council officers are recommending councillors approve the recreational facility in Browning Street, despite five objections.  

"The nature of the objections were such that they had no planning merit as they related to the removal of the existing facility which does not require planning consent," the report states. 

"This being the case, there was limited merit in the planning department holding a consultation."

In other news, councillors are recommended to approve $252,000 in waste reserve funding to further investigate both the former White Hills and Miller Street landfills, which are believed to be toxic. 

The money will help evaluate the risks to human health and the environment and determine the extent of any rehabilitation or remediation required.

A councillor conduct panel VCAT decision will also be tabled at the meeting. 

An independent state government Code of Conduct Panel delivered a finding of misconduct against Cr Lisa Ruffell earlier this year over her handling of a complaint against councillors Helen Leach and Elise Chapman.

Disability organisation Amicus alleged the two councillors acted inappropriately towards one of their clients. 

It was found that Cr Ruffell did not give the councillors an opportunity to respond.

Cr Ruffell appealed the finding. 

A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing was held last week in relation to the matter. 

"The purpose of this agenda item is to facilitate Crs Chapman and Leach tabling the Orders from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Hearing of the August 13 and the Cr Ruffell apology, as they have been directed," the report states. 

"This is a direction of VCAT and Crs Chapman and Leach will table the details at the meeting."

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