LIVE: Bendigo council meeting

Reporter William Vallely will be tweeting and posting a live video on Facebook of the council meeting from 6pm. Follow him on @williamvallely or watch the live stream here


7.45PM Speaking on the City of Greater Bendigo’s gender equity strategy, councillors are unanimous in their support, with Cr Wrigglesworth suggesting there have been “numerous instances” when the language used toward female local government representatives has been unfair and not appropriate. 

This inequality was amplified in rural and regional areas, she said. 

Why is this step necessary? Councillor Jennifer Alden said because one women in Australia is killed each week.

Cr Rod Fyffe said: “What we need to do is make sure it is front and centre in our community, our council and our workplaces.” 

“We are a progressive community, we want to make sure we are at the forefront of social innovation.”

Cr Metcalf said: “To some in the community it may seem this is about more women getting jobs, but it is much more than that. Local governments need to stand up.” 

Supporting the policy, Cr Matt Emond said “the reality is blokes have had a head start”. 

7.11PM Councillors vote to approve Simone and Randall Blakemore’s plan to turn the historic Mount Edgecombe Hotel, Quarry Hill, into a café restaurant.

Councillor Matt Emond described it as “an exciting opportunity”.

The proposal involves: 

  • Using the existing building for a food and drink premises;
  • Demolition of the rear part of building which is a weatherboard extension to the original building and demolition of a shed;
  • Construction of a new extension at ground level, a cellar and a first floor dwelling;
  • External alterations;
  • Replacement of fences;
  • An increase in the area covered by the liquor licence and an increase in the maximum capacity of patrons; and
  • An alteration to the existing access and a reduction in car parking.

7.05PM Repetition seems to be the order of the night by councillors. Discussing the open space areas in the Strathfieldsaye subdivision, Cr Wrigglesworth said: “There’s open space, then there’s open space.”

Speaking on a the proposed construction of three dwelling at 8 Julian Court, Epsom, which was rejected by councillors, Cr Julie Hoskin said: “It’s a development within a development.”

Perhaps they are channelling their inner Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Kenyan author of Wizard of the Crow. 

“Even if they are djinns (supernatural creatures), I will get djinns that can outdjinn them.”

6.50PM Councillors unanimously vote to grant a permit for the 173 lot subdivison in Sullivans Road, Strathfieldsaye, without much debate or fanfare. 

On a lighter note, the eclectic councillor Rod Fyffe, dressed in a Nepalese hat, is winning the award for water drinking tonight – consistent slurping. 

6.45PM Discussing the proposed 173 lot subdivision in Strathfieldsaye, councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth said the five objectors to the development were concerned with increased traffic, lot sizes and the potential flood risk. 

“Objectors feel lot numbers should be reduced and lot sizes increased,” she said. 

These objectors, “needed to be involved in early stages of planning process, not the late stages”, she said. 

I can’t decide whether that’s a sly dig or not. 

6.30PM A petition, which garnered 1300 signatures, to increase parking for retail premises in White Hills has been received by council. 

Residents and signatories are of the view their is insufficient parking in the area surrounding the suburb, arguing vacant land behind some of the retails shops could be used. 

6.25PM In delivering her monthly councillors report, Whipstick Ward representative Andrea Metcalf reignited her passion for waste management, suggesting the City of Great Bendigo needed to have a “war on waste”. 

6.20PM Public question time to begin with, one interesting issue raised by a member of the public gallery: What is the policy with approving subdivisions located in current flood plain areas? And how does it impact insurance premiums?

In responding to the question, mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the risk assessment would be referred to the Northern Central Catchment Management Authority.

“Insurers are not covering risk in 25, 10 or five years time, they are insuring for the next 12 months, not insuring against risk on project climate change scenarios.”

6pm Welcome to our live blog of the City of Greater Bendigo council meeting.