Thursday, February 26, 2009

report from the roundtable – 24 Feb

My regular update on the council meeting, this week:

Report from delegates:
I attended the Blue Dandenongs Young Filmmakers Festival held in Belgrave on the weekend, for the first time ever the event was sold out, it’s a great event which has been supported by the Shire since its inception.

Me with newly elected President of the VLGA, Cr Rose Iser of Moonee Valley City Council.

I reported back to council that I have been elected as Chairperson of the Eastern Transport Coalition, Chairperson of the Eastern Regional Libraries Corporation and Treasurer of the Victorian Local Governance Association. I am very much looking forward to these roles in the local government sector.

I visited the relief centre set up in Lilydale and what struck me was the shire staff there from a myriad of areas such as statutory planning, IT, social planning, economic development, recreation, rangers, all working together to assist our community. It is a tremendous effort, our staff are going well beyond the call of duty and are to be congratulated for their efforts.

I also spoke about the rapid set up of the Ferntree Gully Relief Centre in response to the fires in the Dandenongs, I thank the staff for their efforts in dealing with the 350 people who had registered at the centre.

Planning application for construction of bridge on the Warburton Rail Trail:
At this meeting council had to consider an application from VicRoads to build a bridge over the Maroondah Highway in Lilydale to rejoin the Warburton Rail Trail. The site is very constrained and construction would mean the removal of 34 trees.

I was supportive of the application. I thought that VicRoads had done as much as they possibly could to limit the removal of vegetation and were to be commended for it.

If we are genuine about walkability and cyclability, getting people active, this application must be supported. It has been shown time and time again that if people are given the option to walk they will walk, the public health benefits are enormous.

Having well connected shared trails throughout the shire increases the liveability of our area and has major positive benefits all round. I’m pleased to say that council voted unanimously for the bridge construction to go ahead.

Late items: Green Waste Disposal part 1
Last week at our council forum (a private meeting of council) I raised the issue of free green waste disposal across the shire to enable residents to get rid of the increased amounts of fire fuel. I was disappointed when the majority of my colleagues did not support the idea of free green waste disposal but compromised with a $10 per cubic metre charge.

Fuel loads across the Dandenongs are high, not necessarily from poor management, a week of over 40 degree temperatures topped off by the weather conditions of Black Saturday have seen much vegetation die off and the Dandenongs have become a tinderbox.

We need to facilitate the offloading of all this fire fuel and free access to green waste disposal at our tips and transfer stations is a good solution which I hope residents take advantage of. 35,000 people live across the Dandenong Ranges and it is important to do as much as we can to assist residents with managing their green waste through this fire season.

My colleagues had a change of heart with a majority of councillors supporting the waiving of the fees for green waste disposal at tips and transfer stations (up to the 15th March, 2009).

Late items: Green Waste Disposal part 2
As a follow on from one of our public submitters, concerned about the management of green waste in the Dandenongs I moved the following motion:

Resolved on the motion of Crs Dunn and Cliff
That Council:
1. Investigate:
(a) The provision of a weekly green waste bin service over the fire danger period.
(b) Alternate ways for residents to dispose of fire fuel loads.
2. Review the success of the current bundled green waste collection.

I’m pleased to say council supported the motion and I look forward to the results of further investigations. We need to look at new ways to manage our green waste, this summer has shown that current services aren’t appropriate for extreme weather conditions and I suspect we will experience more extreme weather in the future as a result of global warming.

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At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a high priority to be able to dispose of our fire fuel. Many people on large blocks accumulate massive amounts of green waste over the months we cannot burn off. We recently had a huge branch drop which has now turned our back yard into a fire waiting to happen. The financial and physical burden of trying to dispose of waste makes it impossible to keep homes clear of fire fuel. Many elderly people have no way of accessing tips, so something must be done to allow ALL residents access to disposing of green waste. And with tip fees generally so high, people cannot afford to use these services. Some free and/or subsidised services must be investigated and implemented well before next fire season is upon us. It is disappointing that many of those at the Shire first did not support the free tip fees until 15th March. Are they waiting until a fire is on their doorstep? Thank you for bringing this matter up with your colleagues, and eventually they obviously came to their senses. I look forward to the results of further investigations into better services for next year.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't always agree with you but I appreciate the fact that you put your cards on the table and report how and why you vote.
I'd love to see the rest of the "crew" do the same.
Mario Galteri
645 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream. Vic. 3770

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also rarely agree with you but thank you for getting this on board. It's an absolute shame that the other councillors grumbled at this. I am taking full advantage of this generous offer.
Another proposal could be a free green waste to the tip for a two week period say toward the end of December when the Summer growth starts to get out of hand and just before it heats up too much. This would give those who are financially unable to join the green waste bin effort the chance to reduce the fuel that gathers on their land. Sometimes the council needs to put the lives of residents over their need for money.


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