Reporter Joseph Hinchliffe will be tweeting and posting a live video on Facebook of the council meeting from 6pm. Follow him on @joe_hinchliffe or watch the live stream here. Full agenda at the bottom of the page.
The City of Greater Bendigo is hoping an independent arbiter’s report into councillor conduct will mark the end of a chapter of infighting and recrimination which dogged the previous council.
Councillors will also be advised to vote for the city to purchase an athletics track of La Trobe University – which could be the start of a multi-million dollar investment in the Bendigo’s athletics facilities.
It could also see a back down from the hard line enforcement of its new organic waste kerbside collection service and the final stamp of approval on its major new transport plan.
8.02pm: Motions on the financial report and contracts under delegation are passed unanimously without discussion.
Onto councillors reports.
8pm: Motion carried unanimously.
7.54pm: Cr Flack leaves the room due to a conflict of interest as councillors vote a motion to purchase the La Trobe University Athletics Centre.
7.49pm: Councillors vote 6-2 not to support a community-joint use facility in Epsom. Only councillors Fyffe and Williams supported the idea.
7.42pm: Cr Fyffe forwards a procedural motion to accept the arbiter’s report on councillor misconduct “considering Cr Williams’ apology”.
That having considered the report and the apology made by Cr Williams, Council note the findings and take no further action,’ he says.
This means the matter is not discussed. Councillors vote unanimously in favour.
7.41pm: The motion to remove the statutory declaration is endorsed unanimously.
Cr Alden applauds the leadership shown by the City of Greater Bendigo in the fight against food waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re off to a great start and now and we can build on that to further reduce our environmental footprints,” she says.
Cr Metcalf, who was voted into council after leading the charge to help residents opt out of Bendigo’s new organic waste collection service applauds move to remove the requirement people sign a statutory declaration upon opting opt.
“I was a vocal critic of the statutory declaration … as people doing the right thing felt they were being penalised,” she says.
“It is a win, win, win – a win for community, a win for the service and a win for council.”
Cr Metcalf says she she has spoken to people who want the service conducted on a weekly basis but questioned whether it needed to go out to rural areas.
“This is an opportunity to reflect on what went well and what could have been done better,” Cr Metcalf says.
“In my opinion the roll out occured too quickly.”
Former farmer Cr Williams introduces a motion to endorse the Greater Bendigo Farming Advisory Committee Revised Terms of Reference, authorise the commencement of the process to recruit new committee members and send a letter thanking outgoing committee members for their efforts and achievements in the inaugural committee term.
The motion is carried unanimously.
Councillors have voted unanimously voted in favour of endorsing the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan and council plan progress report.
7.17pm: Councillors vote unanimously to acknowledge the review, finalisation and launch of the Woodvale Community Plan 2016-2020.
Now onto the Greater Bendigo Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017
7.10pm: Councillors vote unanimously to endorse the city’s submission to the state government on its 30-year infrastructure plan.
Cr James Williams speaks strongly in favour of the plan, say Bendigo has an “exciting opportunity to grow”.
“This city now has all the ingredients to be a very large city,” he says, citing a “world-class hospital”, university and airport.
Cr Fyffe also speaks in favour of the plan though says it does not focus as much on regional areas “as we would like”.
7pm: “You can feel the excitement around the table,” Cr Wrigglesworth says, as councillors vote unanimously in favour of a motion to “continue engagement activities related to the Conceptual Vision for the Greater Bendigo Public Space Plan and “receive a report and briefing in March 2017 on community and agency feedback on the draft Conceptual Vision, and the project overall”.
6.54pm: Councillors Wrigglesworth, Williams, Alden, Metcalf, Flack, Rod Fyffe and Matt Edmond speak in favour of the development of a “conceptual vision” for the Greater Bendigo Public Space Plan.
6.49pm: Councillors vote unanimously to award two contracts one for a new bridge, one for a new road.
Cut & Fill Pty Ltd was awarded $2,999,428.88 for the construction of a new bridge, roadworks and landscaping in Scott Street, White Hills.
RECivil was awarded $1,488,871.54 for the road reconstruction of Allies Road, Marong.
Councillors vote 6-2 to sent ITLUS to the planning minister for final approval. Councillors Flack and Hoskin vote against it.
Councillor George Flack also calls for the transport plan to be deferred.
Councillors James Williams and Rod Fyffe call for their new colleagues on council to support the plan, saying the time for discussion over it is over.
6.39pm: After councillors Jennifer Alden and Yvonne Wrigglesworth speak in favour of ITLUS, Cr Julie Hoskin calls for the approval of the plan to be deferred.
“My big concern is that … it has had virtually no response from the public [and a] lack of meaningful consultation,” she says.
6.36pm: Onto final stamp of approval on council’s transport plan for the future of Bendigo and its surrounding areas.
Councillors vote for a second petition calling for supervised crossing at Quarry Hill Primary School.
Councillor unanimously vote for councillor Andrea Metcalf’s alternative motion to defer decision on Elmore petition until the residents meet with the mayor.
A small but vocal crowd – plenty of questions from the public gallery.
The Lansell Crest housing development, landfill, a skatepark, a “comprehensive Bendigo museum,” greenhouse gas emissions, support for local business all touched on.
First question is in relation to development of roads and infrastructure.
Questioner asks when city will develop circle transport routes connecting satellite suburbs of greater Bendigo directly to one another.
Mayor Margaret O’Rourke acknowledges some infrastructure is “inadequate”.
She says ITLUS plan and Calder Highway upgrade will help address these issues.
6pm: Council meeting underway as public question time kicks off.