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



Here is the full statement read by Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke at the council meeting on Wednesday evening. 

Here is the City of Greater Bendigo human rights charter, dated 2014.

7.45PM – A historic piggery in Huntly had its extension plans approved by councillors.

The applicant, Rivalea Australia piggery, amended an original application from November 2016, reducing the expansion plans from five farrowing sheds to three.

The application changes the nature of the operations on site from a ‘birth to bacon’ site to a rearing-only facility.

Cr Alden said her primary concern was emissions at the site.

In voicing her opposition to the application, Cr Alden said she didn’t want the development to contribute to the notion of Bendigo being the “stink capital of Victoria”.

7.25PM - Councillors voted to approve of a multi-million dollar development at Epsom Village. 

The application includes a 2000m2 extension of the existing shopping precinct that will have a number of retail spaces, a car wash, a gym, a cafe and a laundromat. 

Objections to the proposal were concerned for the ongoing viability of the existing gym in Epsom.

However councillor Andrea Metcalf said “competition is a commercial reality”.

6.50PM –  Councillors knock back the second part of an application to develop a White Hills hotel for the purpose of installing gaming machines.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation rejected Bendigo Stadium’s application to install 44 machines in August after council voted to not support the application in May.

Cr Jennifer Alden said the $44 million lost to gaming machines in the municipality last year was a “golden carrot” for the stadium, “who claim they need that extra fire power to remain competitive”. 

“The location of a venue opposite a primary school serves to normalise gaming and create long-term custom,” she said.

Cr Andrea Metcalf said she agreed with the council planner’s assertion that without the gaming component the application from a planning perspective creates no issues, but the net community benefit outweighs this, she said. 

6.30PM – Councillors vote to put $30,000 toward remedial works for the Kamarooka hall, which has been damaged by termites.  

Cr Julie Hoskin said the hall was the only place locals had to connect with one another, adding it would be a “travesty” and a “devastating blow to the community” if it weren’t available to them.

“For too long many of the rural buildings have been neglected to the detriment of our rural communities and i think we’d all agree that needs to change,” she said.

Cr James Williams, said “well done to all”, to ripples of applause from members of the Kamarooka community present in the public gallery.

6.15PM - Councillors asked what they voted in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Yes – James Williams, Jennifer Alden, Matt Emond, Rod Fyffe, Margaret O’Rourke, Yvonne Wrigglesworth

Cr Julie Hoskin said: “I will be supporting traditional marriage.”

George Flack did not disclose his vote neither did Cr Andrea Metcalf. 

Councillors accepted a rainbow flag from a member of the public gallery, but declined to raise an urgent motion to vote on whether to fly it above a council building.

6.00PM Mayor Margaret O’Rourke makes a statement, addressing the gallery.

“To our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual transsexual, intersex and queer residents, please know your council supports  your right to seek marriage equality and have the same respect, legal recognition and next of kin status as heterosexual couples,” she said. 

 “Changing the definition of marriage is a federal government responsibility – local government has no legislative powers to amend the marriage act. 

“Council will continue to support the rights of all residents through the Bendigo human rights charter.

5.30pm – ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ vote campaigners are gathered outside Bendigo town hall ahead of this evening’s council meeting. 

‘Yes’ vote campaigners are expected to be in the public gallery at council chambers.

Full September 20 council agenda