THE City of Greater Bendigo failed to contact VicTrack about changing use of land at Railway Place, Elmore, or installing services, before giving permission for a private contractor to put in underground water and power to the site.
State rail agency VicTrack owns the block outside of the Elmore Railway Station, on which an unknown party applied to run a food truck. This application has been turned down.
The City of Greater Bendigo said: "VicTrack had initially provided advice that the City had the ability to approve an application for a license agreement at the site".
But the city later confirmed it had relied on an email forwarded by the applicant.
A VicTrack spokesperson said the city was responsible for confirming land ownership.
"Consistent with the permitted uses under the lease, the City of Greater Bendigo, as a VicTrack tenant, was responsible for confirming who oversees the land and what requirements there were for approving the application," the spokesperson said.
"We will continue to work with the City of Greater Bendigo to identify alternative uses for the infrastructure that has been installed."
VicTrack tenants must contact the organisation directly to change any details of their lease, including permitted uses and the installation of services.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands VicTrack advised the coffee van applicant to contact council when contacted by them.
A tenant may need to apply for a new lease to change the permitted use of land from a community to commercial lease.
THE City of Greater Bendigo relied on a forwarded email to approve civil works to a site owned by VicTrack, without obtaining direct approval.
The city gave permission for a private operator to install underground power and water lines to Railway Place, Elmore, on land it leases from state transport agency VicTrack.
The contractor was employed by a party who had applied to run a mobile coffee van from the site.
But the city had not sought permission from VicTrack.
The city is reviewing its procedures following the situation.
It decided against the application on Sunday It is believed this was based on VicTrack's concerns.
City of Greater Bendigo manager safe and healthy environments Caroline Grylls said: "VicTrack had initially provided advice that the City had the ability to approve an application for a license agreement at the site".
Ms Grylls later confirmed VicTrack provided an email to the applicant, which the applicant forwarded to the city.
She said council gave permission to the applicant to engage a contractor to supply service to the site because of this advice.
Ms Grylls said ultimately it was the city's responsibility to confirm who was responsible for the land, and therefore approving the application.
She said the application exposed a number of gaps existing in the city's procedures, and the city was working to rectify policy and procedural gaps.
"It highlighted the need for the city to liaise directly with external agencies to confirm roles and responsibilities regarding land ownership," Ms Grylls said.
"It has also identified a need to strategically manage where the city will allow itinerant trade in the future."
The city has confirmed it has offered to pay the contractor directly for the work, which was initially approved at the applicant's own cost.
The city could not provide a sum, saying it was waiting on an invoice from the contractor.
VicTrack has been contacted for comment.
The City of Greater Bendigo is reviewing its procedures after an application to install a coffee van at Railway Square in Elmore was unsuccessful.
City of Greater Bendigo manager Caroline Grylls said the application was denied following further consultation with VicTrack, who are the registered proprietor of the land.
"The City is only able to enter a licence agreement for land where it has the authority to do so and VicTrack has confirmed it does not support the use of the land for a coffee van," Ms Grylls said.
"Unfortunately, VicTrack had initially provided advice that the City had the ability to approve an application for a license agreement at the site, and because of this advice, the City gave the go ahead to the applicant to engage a contractor to supply services to the site.
"However, it was ultimately the City's responsibility to confirm who was responsible for the land and therefore approving the application.
"The City acknowledges the cost of installing the services to the site and has offered to pay the contractor direct for undertaking this work.
"The City will work with VicTrack to identify alternative uses for the infrastructure."
VicTrack has been contacted for comment.
Ms Grylls said the City would be assessing its policies following the issues with the coffee van's application.
"The application exposed a number of gaps that exist in the City's procedures," she said.
"As a result, the City will not accept any new applications for itinerant trade until we are satisfied that these policy and procedural gaps are rectified and we are currently working on this.
"Applications currently under consideration will continue to be assessed."
AN application to install a coffee van at Railway Square in Elmore has been unsuccessful.
The reason for the City of Greater Bendigo's decision is believed to be based around landowner VicTrack not approving of the proposed use of the land. Whipstick ward councillor Andrea Metcalf said the application raised safety concerns.
"I've been advised the reason for the refusal of the application is that the registered proprietor of the land (VicTrack) has indicated that they do not approve of the proposed use of the land," she said. "I consider this a good outcome for the Elmore community, who identified in their petition to council, parking and safety issues at Railway Square.
"This application has identified some processes within council that need to be reviewed and l expect they will be."
Elmore residents initially objected to the proposal with concerns the van would create traffic problems and take business away from traders.
It then eventuated that council gave permission for a private operator to install power and water on land it leases from VicTrack, without seeking permission.
Councillor James Williams said the application had created concern in the community.
"Council officers consider all the facts and issues and make a judgement based on those issues and the criteria around them," he said.
"People were happy to see it operate out of town, but in a central location. I understand why the applicant targeted that place given its location close to parking and toilet facilities."
Elmore Progress Association president Jeff Crust said he was pleased with the decision
"We never objected to a new business in town, there are plenty of empty shops somebody could use," he said.
"What we objected to is a van being placed where it was (proposed to be) placed. It was going to be a traffic problem and an eyesore.
"It's been a long drawn out process and the silly part of it is somebody spent a lot money putting infrastructure in without approval. They will be out of pocket, which is a shame."
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