7.54pm: With no urgent business or notices of motion, and no councillor reports due to still being in restricted activities with COVID-19, the meeting is closing.
"We hope the community is keeping well and safe," Cr O'Rourke says.
"We're now starting to see these restrictions easing, but it's about not being complacent."
Well, that's a wrap. Thank you for following along.
Any queries, issues or points you'd like to raise, please don't hesitate to shoot the newsroom an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get onto it.
7.50pm: The encroachment policy is up now. Cr Metcalf says it's new.
It refers to encroachment on council owned or managed land, and Cr Metcalf says the policy will help provide clarity on what happens if there is encroachment.
Cr Pethybridge says he was guilty of encroachment himself, as a young fella.
"It's too easy done," he says.
"I haven't done it now."
Cr Metcalf says it is a good policy. The city is on the front foot, and that's a really good place to be.
It's unanimously carried.
And, if I'm not mistaken, that's the bulk of the council meeting over and done with.
They're talking now about contracts awarded under delegation and it's an extremely quick motion, which is unanimously carried.
7.48pm: Cr Susie Hawke is speaking to the compliance policy.
"It's a really good guide to help the city residents do the most favourable things," she says.
She says she tried to think of another name for the policy other than 'compliance'.
Cr Metcalf says it's good governance for the council to have this policy.
The motion has been unanimously carried.
7.43pm: An update on the local government power purchasing agreement is what we're talking about now.
Cr Metcalf says the community is owed an explanation of why the emissions target the agreement influences had not been met.
She proceeds to provide an explanation, which I am going to need to listen back to because I did not quite follow it.
Cr Alden is up now. She's running through some of the power purchasing agreement's history.
"The process issues that have caused the delay and its anticipated update point to the project in some ways being a victim of its own success," she says.
The motion has been carried unanimously and I'm going to have to re-listen to it to give you a better insight into what just happened there - sorry.
7.36pm: Cr Pethybridge has vouched his support. He says it took him a little bit to understand about the trees.
"There is the right tree for the right spot. This also addresses that," he says.
He's emphasised the importance of the right tree being planted in the right spot.
"This has got a lot behind it. For people who don't think much about trees, this has got a lot in this," Cr Pethybridge says.
He believes the effects of the plan will extend well over 50 years.
"I agree with this all the way, it's great," Cr Pethybridge says.
Cr Emond says this is one of those strategies that will benefit generations to come.
"Trees are important. We've seen the heat mapping," he says.
He says the strategy provides information about how to address that.
Cr Emond is also talking about aesthetic benefits of trees, as well as biodiversity.
"Congratulations to all the team, and I think we can be very proud of the city and councillors and the community working together to make sure we have solutions for generations to come.
Cr Williams is focusing on biodiversity and the joy it brings, and has echoed his colleagues in congratulating all involved.
Cr Alden is summing up.
The motion is unanimously carried.
7.31pm: Another "generational strategy", Cr O'Rourke says.
We're talking about Greening Greater Bendigo.
Cr Alden is moving the recommendation. She says the strategy aims to do just that: Green Greater Bendigo.
We're talking about another 50-year vision, she notes.
And she's running through some of the aims the strategy aspires to achieve.
"Let's get nature's air conditioners doing their job," Cr Alden says as she refers to some of the aspects of the plan that refer to heating.
Increasing tree cover is one of the tweaks that emerged from the consultation process.
Cr Alden says the targets will need to be explained to the community so people understood why certain trees might be removed to achieve the strategy's aims.
Cr Metcalf, now. She says this is one of the most significant pieces of work the council has produced in this term, in her opinion.
"It is something to be proud of," she says.
7.29pm: Cr Williams bounces off Cr Pethybridge comments, saying an alternative names could be considered, particularly one reflecting the traditional owners.
The motion is unanimously moved.
"This is a 50-year strategy. It's generational. Let's hope we see many years of great work that happens," Cr O'Rourke says.
7.22pm: Cr Alden is speaking to the plan, saying the history of the creek provides a salient lesson in the way natural resources are treated.
"The creek's more than a creek. It is the backbone of Bendigo. It deserves to be revitalised," I believe I just heard Cr Alden say.
Cr Metcalf says the plan has got people to think about the creek and the possibilities that could be achieved.
She's supportive of the recommendation.
Cr Emond says it is hard to imagine Bendigo without the Bendigo Creek.
"I think we've got a great story along the creek. This is another fantastic strategy," he says.
Cr Pethybridge says he was amazed with the amount of people involved in reimagining Bendigo Creek.
"It's great work, it will go a long way," he says.
He's throwing out there that Bendigo Creek needs a new name, wondering what it would be called.
7.15pm: The Reimagining Bendigo Creek plan is being discussed now, and Cr James Williams is speaking to it.
"It's been an interesting journey to say the least," he says.
He believes the vision will last for a long time and is running through some of the history of the creek's use, including from a personal perspective.
"This is about understanding that creek through the middle of Bendigo is not a drain," Cr Williams is.
"Treat it more as an asset to the community. Understand that water has implications for people further down the stream."
Cr Williams says there is opportunity after opportunity to reimagine the creek, and an opportunity for reconciliation with the Dja Dja Wurrung.
"To have the community come on board and the other agencies and to engage this vision... was critically important," he says.
He says he was absolutely stoked by people's contribution to the plan, and that of other agencies.
Governance is an aspect he says further work could be done on, with respect to the plan.
Cr Williams says the council will still be working on the strategy in 50 or 100 years' time, but what the plan did was instigate change.
7.08pm: Cr James Williams says the region is home to some great industries and opportunities.
"For us this is long overdue. We know the saga involved with the last process," he says.
"Bendigo's economy is set to really take off."
Cr Williams says the strategy will help facilitate that.
He says the city has missed out on opportunities in the past because of a lack of land and an elongated planning process.
Cr Williams has encouraged people to get behind the strategy.
Cr Metcalf is speaking now about the strategy, saying "we need to get our skates on" to catch up with where other councils are in this process.
"I'm very happy to support this recommendation," she says.
Cr Emond is speaking to the recommendation now, and is supportive.
In summing up, Cr Pethybridge says where else would you put industry than right here, in the centre of Victoria?
The motion is put to a vote and is unanimously passed.
7.03pm: That one ended rather suddenly, as Cr Williams ran out of time.
The council has moved on to the Greater Bendigo Industrial Land Development Strategy.
Cr Pethybridge will be speaking to it first.
"It's finally made it here and I'm really excited about it," he says, speaking to the long-awaited strategy.
He says the city has considered a heck of a lot of sites, and believes now is the right time to be considering the plan.
Cr Pethybridge is emphasising the importance of the manufacturing industry and the jobs it creates.
Including in a Bendigo context, it seems. He's talking about automation in the industry, and the possibilities that could create for Bendigo.
"Australia is going to jump ahead and Bendigo is right at the start," he says.
"I'm excited with this. I want it to go ahead."
He says landholders and industry are behind it and he knows of a lot more than four businesses that might like to move to Bendigo.
6.57pm: Cr Metcalf says she doesn't believe the proposed changes to the lease policy have been communicated well.
She has also expressed concerns about the third point in the recommendation, which she says could remove councillors from the decision-making process in future.
Cr Williams says the consultation was extensive.
"What this does is apply consistency to those charges, and it certainly gives us a much more consistent approach," he says.
The first consultation period was on October 18, 2019, for four weeks.
It was extended by one week. The proposal was presented to the airport users group and distributed to the known users via email.
Officers held a drop-in session, which about 30 users attended, in October.
In favour: Councillors Alden, Emond, Hawke, Pethybridge, Williams, O'Rourke.
Against: Cr Flack, Metcalf.
The motion is passed.
6.54pm: Cr Pethybridge says the issue is very confusing, even to some of the leaseholders.
Some leaseholders, he says, are still paying what they did decades ago.
"It's got to turn into a business," Cr Pethybridge says.
He says before COVID-19 there would have been planes flying out of there, raising the possibility Adelaide was the next likely route to be offered out of Bendigo.
"It'll be fair for everyone," Cr Pethybridge says of the new arrangement.
Cr Metcalf says she cannot support the recommendation.
She says there are two separate issues regarding the airport, the first being fees and charges as part of the budget process, the second being this one.
"Both issues appear to be being merged," she says.
"I believe more consultation needs to occur on this."
She says most of the proposed feedback has been on the landing fees, rather than the lease arrangements.
6.49pm: The Bendigo Airport lease policy is next, and Cr James Williams is reading out the recommendation.
"This has been a piece of work that has been a long time coming," Cr Williams said.
He's been involved in the project for a while and says the motion will provide a consistency that has been missing in the past.
"It is appropriate and we need to have an airport that is clearly focused in a business way, moving forward," Cr Williams says.
He says he's well aware there has been a lot of lobbying and discussion out there, and "people don't like change."
Cr Williams is now running through some of the elements of the feedback and consultation that has taken place, and it sounds like there have been concerns about the costs to leaseholders.
"For me, this is a very positive move," he says.
He says he's looked at a number of the leases and there were discrepancies between leaseholders.
"What the staff have done is compromised," Cr Williams says.
He anticipated a little bit of angst for a number of leaseholders out there.
"What this does is provides a consistent approach and puts the staff in a position where they can be equitable about that," Cr Williams says.
6.45pm: Cr Malcolm Pethybridge has blown his cover as Santa Claus at Christmas events in the space, and has added a bit of a brag about it being a great project for the Whipstick Ward while he's at it.
Should be noted that he is a Whipstick Ward councillor.
Cr Jennifer Alden is also excited about the project, as is Cr Matt Emond.
Cr Emond is speaking about the evolution of the gardens over time, and digging into some of the history of the area.
"Bendigo did not start and end with the discovery of gold. We have a rich Indigenous culture," he says.
He says the project will recognise and reflect the space's Traditional Owners.
The motion is unanimously carried.
6.40pm: The central hub project for the Bendigo Botanic Gardens at White Hills is up now.
Cr Metcalf says she cannot wait to see this project realised.
She was hopeful the new council to be elected in October would not mind that the current council intended to commit $1m to the project in the 2021/22 budget.
Cr James Williams is speaking to the motion now.
He says this will be a critical piece of infrastructure.
"I encourage everyone to support this and I'm darn sure it will be a fantastic space going forward," Cr Williams said.
He says working with the Dja Dja Wurrung on the project is an important step towards reconciliation.
6.37pm: Cr Susie Hawke says she looks forward to the report to be provided in the July meeting.
Cr Malcolm Pethybridge says the problem is the Backhaus Oval, which he says is needed to resolve the issue.
"Whether the pool stays or goes, they still need the Backhaus Oval," he says.
He says he doesn't know where the report, delivered in July, will go.
Cr Emond says the good thing about having an independent consultant is they can step back and assess the options.
"None of these [user] groups can move forward unless a decision is made," he says of the importance of reaching an amicable outcome.
He says he looks forward to finalising a decision.
The motion has been unanimously carried. So, it sounds like 10 years of uncertainty might be resolved in one way or another at next month's meeting.
6.34pm: Cr Metcalf says the consultations conducted since the March meeting were hastily convened.
She's also raising issues about the questions asked during the consultation, which did not include costings or contributions the groups might need to make.
Cr Metcalf has highlighted the fact two separate decisions - the pool, and the master plan - have been fused into one and the position this puts the pool committee in.
"I look forward to receiving the report and recommendation next month," she says.
But she feared the haste with which the consultation had been conducted might affect the outcome.
Both she and Cr Alden have outlined outstanding concerns about the process.
6.27pm: Cr Emond is moving the recommendation related to the Golden Square Recreation Reserve master plan.
He has noted, early on, that this is not where the council would have wanted to have been by this point.
Cr Emond has attributed the delay to COVID-19.
He says the decision, "or lack thereof, if I may be so bold" has been around with the council for 10 years and is detailing the number of delays in that period of time.
"I don't think that's fair," Cr Emond says.
But he says some progress has been achieved, with all stakeholders agreeing a decision is made for the long-term future of the site.
The deputy mayor says he believes a decision should be possible within four weeks and not handballed on to another council.
Cr Alden is speaking now, describing the saga as "drawn out and somewhat politicised".
She was critical of how the issue had been handled throughout the years, leading to this point.
Issues had been raised with Cr Alden about the survey and the timeframe being extremely short and the wording of some of the questions.
Cr Alden has also raised the need for the aquatic strategy to be addressed.
6.25pm: Cr Alden, summing up, says COVID-19 has also emphasised the need for this work.
It's been unanimously carried.
"It is a significant piece of work that's been put in place," the mayor, Margaret O'Rourke, says.
6.19pm: So that brings us to the food system strategy, which councillors have been recommended to adopt this evening.
Cr Jennifer Alden is speaking to it, detailing some of the factors affecting food security in the community and benefits associated with the plan to improve the food system.
"It's a quality piece of work from inception and features outstanding community consultation," Cr Alden says of the strategy.
Cr Andrea Metcalf also spoke in support of the strategy.
6.16pm: Council has agreed to receive a petition about median plantings along Brougham Street in Bendigo, and resolved to prepare a response within two meetings.
Cr Susie Hawke is now speaking to a proposal to accept late submissions to the Heathcote Flood Study 2016 and refer outstanding submissions to an independent panel.
In the time it's taken me to type this, the council has unanimously carried the motion.
6.14pm: We're back online for this meeting. Proceedings in the council chambers at the Bendigo Town Hall are being streamed live on the city's website and by Phoenix FM.
Councillors have recognised the achievements of the city's Queen's Birthday Honours, including Ron Alexander and Chris Stoltz.
6.13pm: And we're off, with the June 2020 council meeting.
Fair bit coming up this time around, with important strategies affecting areas of Bendigo life such as industrial land, the environment, and food systems.
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