Knox Council Report

Please note there is a change and KRA Secretary will generally raise these notes and KRA Treasurer will introduce an update on what is current with Ratepayers Victoria Incorporated.
Council Meeting 22 September 2015

Item 5 – Reports by Councillors
Your Councillors are busy attending many meetings, which have been both internal and external. Following are various brief sharings to give the reader a feel for the various topics covered at the monthly public Meeting.
Firstly there was the problem of ICE, whilst alcohol is by far the more serious problem. Cr Cossari chaired the Knox Multicultural Advisory Committee, which 12,000 displaced refugees will be coming to Australia. There are a number of ethnic clubs and he felt it would be good to establish a precinct at the Wantirna Mall. Cr Pearce mentioned a special aware medal being awarded to Geoff, a long term scout leader, at the Knox District AGM. Although Geoff has Motor Neurone Disease he still attends scout weekly meetings, such is his dedication. Exciting news that the Ferntree Gully Library will be undergoing an expansion. Cr Seymour shared that the gentleman, Ray Lay we believe is his name, has been working in Parts Maintenance for over 20 years and has not missed a single weekend, marking 1,000 in attending the Arboretum.
Council Tip The recycling plant on Stud Road has been to mediation and people power has won! The site has been sold to an aged care facility which will be an advantage for Knox. Cr Mortimer from Chandler Ward shared attending the opening of the Boronia Bowls Club and the first roll out of planned signage of smaller villages of Knox. The Basin was the first one and the signs have been extremely well received. Cr Cossari shared two stories, one was disappointing that a Knox Council Officer took away the real estate agent’s flag 10 minutes before the auction, which was in very poor taste, as people want the best possible price for their home. The second sharing was a good one and compliments were received from a man who was granted a special disabled parking permit within an hour instead of having to wait several weeks. “This was an exceptional example of good staffing and how the council reacts to community needs”, he said. Cr Orpen gave a detailed cemetery report; she is passionate about local history and will be leading a cemetery walk during Seniors Week.
Mountain Gate Shopping Centre Cr Holland said that Mountain Gate Shopping Centre is coming along excitingly well, it is taking time but he reiterated that it was on schedule and budget, according to plan. One hiccup was at Coles, when digging up a sewer pipe was discovered which wasn’t on the plans and affected the levels.
Mayor Peter Lockwood attended quite a few meetings in the month, one being a Young Leaders’ presentation. He is always impressed by young people and said that the future is in good hands. National Meals on Wheels Day was another, he felt it is a great service and helps keep check on the most vulnerable members of our society. Another was Share the Joy Appeal, where 132 agencies get together raising money for hampers to be distributed to those in need at Christmas time. He was uplifted when sharing a quick trip to Queensland, where Knox City Council won an award with the Economic Development Association for a project entitled ‘The Knox Innovation Opportunity and Sustainability Centre’. Well done.
Item 6.2 – Three double storey dwellings proposed for at 8 Roy Court were rejected because of not falling within the Local Planning Policy Framework, as the design was also not considered to be respectful of the existing or preferred neighbourhood. There certainly would have been issues with parking because of the over development.
Item 6.3 Municipal Fire Management Plan 2015-2018 – was adopted and The Plan was developed following a formal review of the 2011-2014 Plan.
8.1 Clarence Road Tree Removal – It was passed following talks and recommendation and good sense adhered to, to remove trees that needed to be removed and prune those that needed pruning.
8.2 – WSUD – Approved was the Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy Update.
8.3 Native Vegetation Genetic Integrity Policy (2015) – Council updated this policy, ensuring it continues to lead by example in its planting indigenous plants within public spaces in Knox. The Policy helps protect and conserve the vegetation and reduce the threat of hybridisation through the planting of local provenance indigenous plant stock. That is excellent news.
8.4 Eastern Organics… – This covered organic waste and the efficiency in future of a number of councils coming together to make it more efficient.
8.5 Street Planting to High Profile Roads – High profile streets in Knox will be scoped for the possible introduction of a new tree program, which is important to maintain our green leafy image.
8.6 Council Masterplans – the status of these will be tabled in an annual report in order to help Council see whether they are on schedule or complete. This will then help Council to develop its Budget.
9.2 Extension to Smoke Free Areas – Was a good discussion and the Council passed the approval to include smoke free festivals, events and facilities. Admittedly it would be an honour system and people smoking where there are signs for it to not be acceptable, will be asked to move on and could not legally be prosecuted. This will commence at the upcoming Stringy Bark Festival on 17-18 October.
9.3 Item was the Community Development Fund Evaluation Panel Recommendations – 253 submissions had been accepted and the assessment process can be arduous. $253,000 was given in grants, including a suicide prevention program, Girl Guide direct training and Vision Australia, which had no markers for blind people on their footpath.
10.2 was the Cemetery Report – This is worth reading on the Minutes, the download link is at the end of this report. One thing of note that Al Sexton who works there tends the plants and gardens as they were his own and all his work there is conducted with great respect.
10.3 Approved was the Proposed Sale of Council Property at 7 Church St, Bayswater. It was a pre-school and now surplus to council requirements, a vacant public asset serving no purpose.
11.1 Works Report as at 3 September was carried. 48,951,000 approved for this financial year as at 15 September. There was a question of a lighting program for Lakesfield Reserve which is about to go to tender, the question is that surrounding community has been vocal to be consulted, want it confirmed through Dr Bell, who will take it on notice and follow up.
11.2 Assemblies of Councillors – Is a record of when Councillors are assembled and the name of the Committee or Group, if applicable. Interesting.
14.2.1 Call Up Item, Ad Hoc Funding Program – Fascinating one this, as the State Government will be ceasing what has been known as the Discretionary Funds operating at present within Council. This has been a Ward Fund Contingency Grant that each Councillor was able to utilise of $15,000 for community groups to apply to up to the amount of $1,000. It has been used as an emergency type grant, separate to other major grants. What was moved at this Council Meeting was that a report be prepared for the October Meeting presenting options for a grant funding program to replace the Ward Contingency Fund Program. The State Government aims to assist Local Government with any lack of transparency issues, which is a fantastic move.
15 Question Without Notice – This was for the status of discussions with Knox Basketball Incorporated regarding air-conditioning for courts 4-6. Dr Emonson responded that a proposal had been forwarded to KBI and Council are currently awaiting a response.

Here is the link for the Council Minutes 22 September 2015 to the file which may be downloaded, it is 2,963kb, very thorough and found to be quick to download.
Cheerio,
Lynette Mitchell, Honorary Secretary.

FRANKS’ BLOG COUNCIL MEETING 25TH AUG. 2015

All Councillors were in attendance.
Development applications were:-
6.2    Application to build 4 double and 4 single story dwellings at 170 Albert Av. Boronia was moved by Cr. Mortimer and Sec. by Cr. Pearce
Application was passed by all Councillors. The beautiful suburb of Boronia has copped more than their share of development in recent times.
6.3     Application to build 5 double storey dwellings at 8 Phillipdale Court Ferntree Gully. Moved by Cr. Holland Sec. Cr. Cossari. Passed by all Councillors
6.4     Application to build a Supermarket (Aldi’s) at 800 Stud Road Scoresby. Moved by Cr. Seymour Sec. Cr. Pearce. Passed all Councillors.
There was debate what effect this Supermarket will have on the Scoresby Village, north of the site and also the Stud Park shopping complex south of the supermarket.
The general feeling among the Councillors was that competition was good for the consumer
6.5    Application to build 14, three storey apartments at 2 Stonehaven Av. Ferntree Gully, moved Cr. Pearce Sec. Cr. Cossari. All Councillors approved.
In recent years there has been huge development in Knox. Many more millions in rates are flowing into the coffers of council. i.e. 6.5 development at 2 Stonehaven Avenue. There are now 14 lots of rates coming from this address instead of one.
Rates continue to rise in our city of Knox. Is it not time for you the ratepayer to ask your elected Councillors as to where all this extra revenue is going???
Despite much opposition from councils and council unions, the State Government is pressing ahead with rate capping plans. It is pointed out that over the last 10 years in New South Wales, which has had rate capping their rates in the 10 years have gone up 42% In Victoria, in that time, rates have gone up 80%. Opponents of rate capping say infrastructure will suffer. This does not seem to be the case in N.S.W.
Knox Ratepayers have a representative on the committee of Ratepayers Victoria and it is reported that RPV are holding a seminar in November this year to get all ratepayer groups together to discuss problems associated with their councils. It is reported that the State Local Government are to review the Local government Act and have asked ratepayer groups for input with this review.
The Local Government Act has not been reviewed since 1989 and it is a document very difficult to interpret and understand. This is the Act that councils are operating on. Some councils operate on their interpretation of the Act, which can be very confusing. Knox Ratepayers Association will be putting in suggestions to the Local Government Minister as to where we can improve the Local Government Act. Ideally, we would hope that the Act transforms into being a simple document, easily understood by the average person.
See you next month,
Frank.

Lynette’s additional comments
9.1 Knox Liquor Licensing Accord – the report summarised Council’s role and the Accord is in partnership with the Victoria Police, licensed premises, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation and other liquor retailers. What was interesting and very good to hear is that the police have only a month ago been given greater powers, which means they are authorised to immediately issue a temporary intervention order where there is domestic violence.
Under Item 12, Motions for which notices has previously been given, Councillor Mortimor introduced the subject of gambling reform. Apparently Australia is one of the highest gambling countries in the world and stated that there are more poker machines in Melbourne than what there are in Les Vegas. Councillors generally agreed that gambling addiction is a major issue in all municipalities. It is hoped that sensible controls come into force over a period of time and that Knox Council may well join with other municipalities in bringing about gambling reforms. Councillor Cossari asked how signing up would benefit and was informed that it would be an advocacy alliance. As it stands now local government becomes overruled by the Gambling Commission and Councillors feel that Local Government could have a lot more control in this area, which would assist overall with this ongoing gambling predicament.
A Question without notice was to put a motion to Planning to resolve the issue we have in Knox of people appealing to VCAT and having their planning passed with 60sq metres of land around their housing application. Knox Council have had a submission to Planning wanting it to be not less than 100sq metres and have listened to the local community who want this to be so. Following on from a lot of community input, the motion to Planning is to be such that we will agree to 80sq metres and not 60sq metres, as a compromise.
When the planning applications were passed earlier in the meeting, two councillors commented that they did not agree, which apparently is a common occurrence, for Councillors to not agree with the proposed development. But what happens often and consistently, because if the plan is not passed at the Council Meeting, the developer simply appeals the decision to VCAT and it is overturned, due to the VCAT allowing 60sq metres around the property.
Another question without notice was to approve a Draft Statement by the CFA and eight members were present, due to it needing to be passed by 31st August, and this was approved. The CFA were greatly complimented on the amazing work that they do, and comments made that if they were not such willing volunteers, it would be an enormous drain on the local budget to keep this service up.
Councillor Orphen brought up the item of 8.3 Arterial Road Project Priorities 2016/17. She said that Knox Council has a wish list which covers cars and people and there was quite a lot of discussion by Councillors on this subject. What Cr Orphen stated was that each year when Council submitted a prioritised list of projects to VicRoads for consideration in its Arterial Road Program, important projects may be easily overlooked. She suggested that by the October Meeting a report be prepared regarding a somewhat urgent piece of road which needs to be made. She said that there is a failure within State Government to not act. Councillor Pearce supported her saying it was a vital piece of infrastructure. This road proposed is a new four lane road of 2kms at the end of Dorset Road. We heard that Council bought the property which has been vacant, the old Lizza Pizza shop and over 30 years, has purchased 5 or 6 properties behind this, in preparation of the extension of Dorset Road to join up with Napoleon Road. That would certainly make a huge difference to many cars driving from Rowville and ease the traffic upon Stud Road no doubt.
It was again a very interesting meeting and I urge you to consider coming along on 22nd September at 7pm to hear what is happening within your Council. You will find a large printed Agenda for the Meeting on a seat and overall it is quite a happening place to be at.
Cheerio for now,
Lynette Mitchell
Honorary Secretary.

Council Meeting 28th  July 2015

Here we have Frank’s Council Meeting report first and following that, Lynette’s sharing from being present at the meeting, which she found very interesting.

Frank’s Blog
All Councillors were in attendance. It was a very interesting although rather quiet meeting. There were no planning application put to councillors. Here is an update on what has been happening at KRA.
KRA recently wrote to Knox Councillors to request an explanation as to how a recent High Court of Australia decision has cost Knox Ratepayers $600.000 and are still awaiting their response. The case involved centred round a decision to destroy a dog named “Izzy”, whose owner appealed this decision. After two court hearings, the case when before the High Court of Australia where the three judges unanimously decided that the decision by Knox Council to destroy the dog was flawed and ruled against Knox Council awarding costs of $600,000 to be paid by council (Ratepayers). KRA have asked who is responsible for decisions which have cost ratepayers such a huge amount. It is so easy for council to use the money of you the ratepayer regarding situations such as this one.
It would seem that there is a proposal to withdraw funding from the Illoura child service that caters for children needing special needs at the end of the year. The funding is alleged to be $500.000. KRA consider that Knox Councillors who vote to close this service are on dangerous ground.
KRA were recently advised that the Mornington Council recently decided to go away from the traditional way of using the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) for their annual insurance and got quotes from the private sector. This resulted in a saving a saving of $700,000 which is a substantial amount of money.
KRA have written to Knox Council and suggested that this avenue be explored by Knox Council regarding their annual council insurance.
As you can see it is possible that savings can be made in this manner by Knox City Council by being more economical efficient in their operations and perhaps the Council can still afford to support child care centres such as Illoura, Early Intervention Centre.
See you next month.
Frank,
Treasurer.
Lynette’s Sharing follows.
Hello. I find it is extremely interesting to attend Council meetings, although a little disappointing that many Councillors do not speak up and can be difficult to hear and follow. Obviously most would not have had lessons in public speaking. I would encourage the general public to come along, as they are open meetings and start at 7pm on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
All manner of things are covered at the meeting, one item which is always good to hear is the Reports from Councillors. Each Councillor shares what has been happening in his or her Ward and there is a lot of good stuff that Council are directly responsible for. There is Public Question Time, a form may be filled out online and submitted.  One gentleman stood and spoke about the value he acknowledges from Council, saying that there is not enough public appreciation shown. Knox Council provides 274 services, which is also available on their website and does deserve a vote of thanks and acknowledgment for what they achieve, which is huge.
Here is a link if you are interested of Agendas and Minutes 2015 which may be downloaded online.
I will mention a few things here, not necessarily in the order that they occurred. There were also other items about public works and Planning Applications that were approved by the Public Officer.
Item 11.1 was passed, which will financially help out the Knox Basketball Association which has been in dire financial trouble, to sublease an area of office at the State Basketball Centre (Knox Regional Sports Park) to Basketball Australia.
Quite a bit of time was taken up regarding the Illoura Early Childhood Intervention Centre. Jim Penman, founder of Jim’s Mowing and a former Mayor and grandfather of a child attending Illoura spoke of his concerns during Public Question Time and it was announced by the Mayor that there is to be a public meeting on 8th August for public discussion.
There was discussion (item 11.2) of the recent Scott Ward By-Election Report which indicated that the older generation were rather keen to vote and have their say.
Item 10.2 was passed regarding the proposed Knox Sport and Leisure Awards, which was passed. Did you know that Council works with over 150 not-for-profit community sporting and leisure groups annually and they themselves are supported by thousands of volunteers, dedicating many hours a week to ensure the Knox community is provided with high quality sport and leisure opportunities. Much of the hard work of so many volunteers is often not acknowledged. This sounds like an amazing introduction to Knox, these proposed awards, doesn’t it?
Item 10.3 highlighted the summary of outcomes for the contract by YMCA Victoria who manage the BMX Park. They are doing great and the benefits as shown by the statistics is tremendous.
10.1 Was regarding Leisure groups Minor Capital Works Grant Scheme, covering applications etc. It is fascinating and can be seen if one downloads the Agenda.
9.3 was with regard to the Marie Wallace Bayswater Park Reference Committee and about the Terms of Reference and Master Plan.
I love trees and was glad that the petition, which was item 9.1 was rejected, which means that the 8 signatories from Jarrett Court, Rowville will not be having the Oriental Planes removed. The residents do not like cleaning up the fallen leaves in Autumn. Granted we live in a democracy and people are given an opportunity to petition for something that they strongly believe in. However Councillors strongly felt that there was no valid reason to cut down the trees, which would have cost I believe $2,000 per tree to have a new, more suitable one planted in its place. Cr Joe Cossari in particular felt it helped children and even adults to be more in tune with the seasons and Cr Nicole Seymour shared many reasons why the trees should stay, quoting scientific research of how utterly highly beneficial it is for the environment having a higher density of trees planted. Likewise Cr Karin Orpen agreed that trees can help represent the ‘cycle of life’.
Thank you for taking the time to read through the blog and we welcome interaction with ratepayers and people working in Knox, what a great place to live and work.
Cheerio,
Lynette Mitchell,
Honorary Secretary.

Council Meeting 23rd June 2015

All Councillors were in attendance. There were only two developments.
6.2   Application to build 21 dwellings three stories high at 224 Boronia Road Boronia was moved by Cr. Lockwood and seconded by Cr. Peirce
Passed by all Councillors.
There seems to be little consideration for nearby  residents. Putting more units on one block of land. Our beautiful suburb of Boronia has really copped this type of development.
6.3   Application to build three stories  8 dwellings at 513 Boronia road Wantirna. Cr. Cossari moved this application be rejected and was seconded by Cr. Orpen.
All Councillors voted to reject this application. Cr. Cossari stated this application was not appropriate in this area. Very common sense decision.
It would seem that the Local Government minister will push ahead with her governments pledge to cap rates in 2016. It would seem all councils are now resigned to this capping.
Long overdue.  Ratepayers Victoria has found that NSW which has had rate capping for some years. In the last 10 years NSW rates have gone up 42%, compounded, whereas Victoria has gone up 80%. This speaks for itself.
On 6th July 7, 2015 Current Affairs had a program about irresponsible council spending round Australia , commenting there is little or no accountability at Council level.
12 months ago, Ratepayers’ Victoria approached the local Government Minister (Liberal Government) to put some accountability in councils in Victoria, as at present there is little or no accountability. He refused their request.
Our representative on the committee of Ratepayers’ Victoria (RPV) states that RPV are meeting the Local Government Minister’s office shortly to discuss problems at council level in Victoria.
I consider that the present Local Government system needs attention. Ratepayers appoint a Councillor to represent them at council. These councillors are part time and have to find employment to live and do not have the time to represent us as such. Do you think that you as a ratepayer are getting a fair and just return for your rate payments??? We welcome your comments and new members. Please email secretary@knoxratepayers.com or comment on our Facebook page.
KRA are very concerned about a recent High Court of Australia case  Isbester Vs Knox Council where the three High Court Judges ruled unanimously against the Knox Council regarding their decision to destroy a dog named Izzy. The court ruled that costs of $600,000 be paid by Knox Council. The High Court claimed the Knox Council’s Local Law Co-ordinator’s decision to destroy the dog was not impartial and ruled against Knox council. KRA has written to the Mayor and Councillors asking who takes responsibility for this decision that will cost ratepayer’s this huge amount of money?  What legal advice did Knox Council seek regarding this situation???
Someone has to be accountable at Knox Council  for this decision. It is so easy when Council are using ratepayers’ money to ignore these situations.
I feel there is some light at the end of the tunnel for ratepayers.
See you next month,
Frank.

KNOX COUNCIL MEETING 26TH MAY 2015

All Councillors were in attendance.
All planning applications (two) seemed reasonable, though the application 6.3  to build 23 dwellings at 275-277 Dorset Road Boronia,  basement and ground level car parking, use of the land as a restaurant, alterations and access to a Category 1 Road and building works (access way) within a Public Acquisition Overlay was interesting.
This was moved by Cr. Lockwood and seconded by Cr. Pearce and passed by all councillors. I am led to believe this is the third time this application has been presented.
9.4  Application to put some Public Art Work in the Marie Wallace Reserve in Bayswater was debated strongly. Cost $59 000.00.
Cr. Gill moved to have the Recommendation to approve of the Knox Public Art Working Group to commission Anderson Hunt (artist), to create and install his work ‘A Slice of History’ at Marie Wallace Reserve deferred, due to the Master Plan being incomplete and it was passed to ‘Approve an extension of the Knox Public Art Working Group to September 2015’. It was good to hear Cr. Seymour debate that she was not comfortable with spending this amount of money on Art when kinder gardens are struggling to get money to update their facilities. It was great to hear a councillor state that she was elected to represent ratepayers and in her opinion she could not justify the spending of this money on Art. Perhaps more councillors should show more concern for those ratepayers who elect them. This debate was reported in the Herald Sun on Thursday 28th May Page 17.
By the way Marie Wallace was a very dedicated councillor and mayor at Knox for some years and worked extremely hard for her community.
KRA have a representative on the committee of Ratepayers Victoria and we have been advised that RPV are to hold a conference in October 2015 to gather together all ratepayer groups in Victoria to attend and discuss problems that are been experienced by ratepayers in Victoria. All the appropriate Government Ministers will be invited. KRA would like to hear from you the ratepayer on what problems you are experiencing in Knox so these can be put up at the conference in October.
See you next month,
Frank.

RATE CAPPING

Following is an email written by Frank to Anthony Galloway, Journalist with the Knox Leader, to be directed to the editor as a Letter to the Editor.

RATE CAPPING
It is great to see the newly elected State Government state that they will now honour their election promise to cap council rates to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Following an article in the Leader 23rd Dec 2014 regarding rates, there was an interesting comment from Knox Mayor, Peter Lockwood, that the capping of rates will strangle councils. In the past when there has been talk of “Rate Capping” councils have come out screaming “What services will we cut?”.
Perhaps Mr. Lockwood as Knox Mayor should be looking at where ratepayers’ money is spent and how many staff are employed at Knox.
In the last Knox Budget some 60% of the budget (90 Million) was spent on administration, revenue some 160 Million.
It is high time Knox council looked at their own operations, it is so easy to put staff on, ratepayers pay.
I am led to believe that Knox Council had an internal audit recently, (why not an external audit) regarding council operations.
Surprise, Surprise the report said, yes you have guessed it, “We want more staff!”
Perhaps you, the ratepayer should ask your ward Councillor as to why Knox has so many staff. You the ratepayer deserve an answer, because you pay the bill.

Frank Sullivan
Knox Ratepayers’ Association

KNOX COUNCIL MEETING 16TH DECEMBER 2014

All Councillors in attendance
6.2     Application to build a double storey dwelling at the rear of existing dwelling at 1 Streeton Court Rowville
Moved
Cr. Pearce  Seconded Cr. Seymour
Passed by all Councillors Seems a reasonable application

6.3    Application to amend planning permit to allow the construction of a deck, increase the trading hours from 12.00 am to 1.00 am, and to trade 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
At shop 17/1100 Wellington Road Rowville
Moved Cr. Seymour   Seconded Cr. Mortimer
Passed by all Councillors
There is always a concern when liquor hours are extended as to the impact on nearby residents

6.4     Application to build 5 single storey units at the rear of 6 existing units at 2/33A Devenish Road, Bayswater
Moved
Cr. Orpen   Seconded Cr. Cossari
Voted for this application  Crs. Orpen, Cossari, Cooper,  Mortimer and Gill. Against Crs. Holland, Peirce and Lockwood
Passed     This council is cramming more and more units on to a block of land. I considered this was not a good application

6.5    Application for a residential subdivision of 113 lots between 56 Mountain Highway and 25 & 55 Burwood Road, Wantirna
Moved
Cr. Cossari     Seconded  Cr. Cooper
Cr. Mortimer voted against the application      Passed
This large parcel of land was owned by Vic Roads and sold off to a developer
Disappointing that Governments are selling of land as such. Would have been a wonderful place to build a park for our citizens

6.6    Application to develop land at 1 and 29 Summit Road, Lysterfield for a place of worship
Moved
Cr. Pearce    Seconded Cr. Orpen
Passed all Councillors
There is this trend in Knox Council for more and more backyard developments to be approved by our council
Jamming more and more developments on single blocks of land. This means more and more rates are coming the coffers of this council, yet rates are still going up
Until we get independent administrators in all councils to see where your money is been spent, this trend will continue

Are you aware that of the Knox Budget of Approx 160 Million, Approx 90 million is been spent on administration. This does not seem right
The new State government has promised to cap rates to the CPI and already some councils are screaming “What services are we going to cut?”
Well Councillors at Knox, have a good look at your staffing numbers employed at Knox . That would be a good starting point
Yes, you are the ones who will face the ratepayer at the next council elections in October 2016, not the CEO and his officers

See you next month
Regards
Frank

KNOX COUNCIL MEETING 25th NOVEMBER 2014

All councillors in attendance

6.2   Application to build four double story dwellings at 20 Bambury Street Boronia
Moved Cr. Pearce   Seconded Cr. Holland
Passed by all councillors. This does seem a reasonable application

6.3     Application to build 87 apartments and 7 Townhouses at 456—458 Burwood Highway Wantirna
This application was moved by Cr. Cooper and seconded by Cr. Cossari
There was much debate about this application. There seems to be that little or no consideration has been given to those exiting residents who live near this huge development
Their lives will be thrown into chaos with the extra amount of traffic in the area. As always the almighty dollar seems to take precedence over people lives
All councillors approved this application

6.4    Application to change the parking and signage structure at 27-29 Bridgewater Way Rowville.
Cr.  Seymour moved to vote against this application seconded by Cr. Pearce
All councillors voted against the change
Knox Ratepayers Association have recently highlighted to the ratepayers of Knox, the huge discrepancies that are been charged by Knox Council for rated compared to other Melbourne Councils
It seems unbelievable that a home in Beaumaris valued at $950.000 pays rates of $1070 and a home at Knox valued at $540.000 pays rates of $1700.00 (refer the letter to the editor Leader newspaper 18th November 2014). It is your elected councillors that are approving the huge rate increases that are been inflicted on Knox Ratepayers; there is little or no regard for the pensioner and young families in our city of Knox
It was very interesting on Channel 9 on Saturday evening to hear an elected Labor candidate Vicki Ward from Eltham, state that she campaigned against the former Liberal Government about their refusal to control huge rate increases in the 79 councils in Victoria  Vicki had a huge victory. In recent times Ratepayers Victoria and KRA have requested the Local Government Minister to put a stop to these huge rate increases at councils across Victoria . The Minister refused the request and YES they are now in opposition. An election promise by the Labor was that they will cap rates to the CPI, RPV and KRA will ensure that the Labor keep that promise
It is long overdue that those councillors that you elected in 2012, tell the present CEO that there  will be no rate increases for the next two years, if he is not prepared to accept this tell him to move on and let someone else have a go. Do not forget councillors that it will be you who face the ratepayers in October 2016, not the CEO
Councillors it is in your court. We as a ratepayer group have responsibility to the ratepayers of Knox to get justice for you the ratepayers of Knox
See you next month.
Frank

REPORT COUNCIL MEETING  27th October 2014

All Councilors present except Cr. Gill.
6.2  Application to develop land at 1360 Stud Road Rowville— Three double storey dwellings.
Moved Cr. Seymour  Seconded Cr. Lockwood that this application be passed.
All Councillors voted to pass.

6.3   Application to build Twenty Two Dwellings (18 double and 4 single) at 1030 Wellington Road, Rowville.
Cr Seymour Moved this be rejected. Seconded by Cr. Orpen.
Crs. Lockwood, Holland and Cossari voted that application be accepted.
Application to build was defeated 5 to 3.
A developer to apply to build 22 units on a single block of land seemed unbelievable.  Excellent decision Councillors.
(Over the last few years Crs Lockward and Cossari seem to vote for most development applications. That is their right, but at election time they have to stand by those decisions).

6.4  Application to develop land at 425 and 509 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South for the expansion of the Westfield Knox Shopping Centre seemed a sensible decision.
All Councillors voted for this.

6.5  Request to Lodge a Planning Permit  at 1464 Ferntree Gully Rd. Knoxfield.

It would seem that Knox Council knocked back an application on 18th March  2014 to develop extra industrial land near where the site of the present MASTERS STORE is.
Developer appealed to VCAT and after a mediation with Council and adjustments to the application, it was passed by councilors Crs. Pearce and Cossari voted against the application.

6.6  To apply a development plan overlay at 262 Mountain H/Way and 2-8 Ainsdale Avenue, Wantirna
This is very interesting. Knox Hospital want to develop the hospital, but there is concern as to the impact this future development will have on the residents.
Passed by all Councillors

Regards
Frank
KRA Treasurer
Ratepayers Victoria Committee

Report on Ratepayer’s Victoria Committee Meeting 6th August 2014

Ratepayers Victoria held their recent committee meeting on the 6th Aug 2014.

There is a move from one of our committee members, Peter Olney to assist a group to take a class action against the Federal Government.
The group was formed in 2009, CLRG Community Law Resource Group, and are taking a class action against the Federal Government. It would seem that under the constitution of Australia, there are only 2 forms of government Federal and State. To change this situation there has to be a referendum of the people of Australia. There was a referendum in 1986 to change the constitution to make Local Councils a third tier of government legal. This move was defeated overwhelming by a two thirds majority. State Governments now make their own State Laws to allow councils to collect rates and other charges. There is a lot of merit in the move, we agree ratepayers have to pay certain charges at their councils such as garbage collection, street cleaning etc. but not the outlandish charge inflicted on them by local councils. Anybody interested in the class action can contact Peter email peterjil@inet.net.au.
Ratepayers Victoria Recently wrote to the Local Government Minister Tim Bull, requesting that he appoint an independent administrator to all of the 79 councils in Victoria. Disappointingly he refused to do this.
At present ratepayers have nowhere to turn regarding disputes with their local councils, but back to their local council. KRA have been involved in some disturbing cases which we feel is an injustice to the ratepayer. We the ratepayer have to be more diligent at council elections on who we vote for to represent us. Candidates at council elections promise the world to you to get your vote and when elected soon forget those promises. At next Council elections in 2016 KRA will be addressing this situation.
Some 4 years ago, KRA made a suggestion to Local Government Minister that two terms was long enough for any Chief Executive Officer to be at any council in Victoria. We had the support of the then Local Government Minister regarding this but unfortunately the then Premier of Victoria did not agree with this and nothing changed. The CEO at Frankston Council has been there some 25 years.
At our recent meeting of Ratepayers of Victoria, this subject was discussed and the committee agreed that they would write to the Local Government Minster and strongly suggest that two terms is sufficient for any CEO at a council in Victoria.
At our recent committee meeting of Ratepayers Victoria. It was stated that there are some 50 groups out there monitoring councils. Ratepayers are sick and tired at what is been thrown at them by their local council.
Enough is enough, but protest groups want the support of you the ratepayer.
Regards
Frank
KRA Treasurer
Ratepayers Victoria Committee

Council Report Meeting 22nd July 2014

Councillors Orpen and Cossari were absent.
It was a rather controversial meeting.

DEVELOPMENTS
6.2 Application to build 8 double storey dwellings at 295 Wantirna Road, Wantirna.
Moved Cr Lockwood  Seconded Cr Mortimer This application was approved. Cr Cooper voted against.
To put 8 double storey units on a normal block seems to be irresponsible. There is no allowance for parking. As Wantirna Road is a very busy road, I can foresee huge traffic problems with this development.

6.3  Application for 2 double storey and one single dwelling at 2 Edna Court Wantirna
Council officers approved this application, but was rejected by Councillors. Cr Gill moved this application be rejected, seconded by Cr Cooper. Cr Gill stated this application was most in appropriate for the area. Cr Lockwood was the only Councillor to support the application.
A very common sense decision

6.4    Application to amend plans to allow development of land at 47 Commercial Road, Ferntree Gully from one dwelling to three.
Moved Cr Lockwood Seconded Cr Holland.
This application seems OK.

6.5    Application to develop land at 500 Kelletts Road, Lysterfield
Moved Cr Lockwood Seconded Cr Holland.
This application is by a church group Fruitful Vine Church Melbourne. This application seems OK

8.1   Dandelion Drive tree removal petition
It would seem that in February 2014, council officers put in writing to residents of Dandelion Drive, that council would remove trees in Dandelion Drive, because of the damage trees were doing to the homes and infrastructure. Council then changed their mind and said they would remove them over the next 15 years. Residents petitioned council to remove these trees immediately.
Cr Gill moved that these trees be immediately removed because of the damage that they were doing Seconded by Cr Lockwood.
Motion to remove trees was passed by councillors. Crs. Mortimer and Cooper voted against the motion. An excellent decision for those residents.
There is a concern that some Knox Councillors are hiding behind their council decisions saying that if they do not approve a development the applicant will appeal to VCAT and have the council decision overturned, saying that this will cost ratepayers some 8 to 12 thousand in costs. This is not so. I have checked at two different sources at VCAT and the ruling is that it costs the council nothing regarding the hearing. The cost is what council does to defend the hearing. If council sent their officers to the hearing to defend the decision there is no cost. The cost will come if council hire legal people to represent them.
As a committee member of Ratepayers Victoria and also Dr Chan, who is president of Monash Ratepayers and a committee member of Ratepayers Victoria, we were invited to meet the Mayor of Monash Geoff Lake last Thursday. It was a most interesting meeting. It was pointed out to Cr Lake the many problems that ratepayers are having with councils within Victoria. Such as lack of accountability by councils, duplication of council serviced, there should be some four areas doing the salaries, marketing IT and so on for the 79 councils in Victoria. If this would  be implemented ratepayers would save millions.
The power of the CEO’s and officers at councils. Ratepayers Victoria have recently written to the Local Government Minister strongly recommending that these and many other changes be made at council level in Victoria. One suggestion is that an independent administrator be appointed to all councils in Victoria to give ratepayers somewhere to turn to regarding their council problems. With the present system if you the ratepayer have a problem, you have no one to turn to but to go back to your council. Do you think this system is fair, we at KRA and RPV do not think so.
See you next month.

Council Report Meeting  27th May 2014

All Councillors present except Cr. Gill.

Only one development put up for approval.
Application to build 60 Dwellings, three story high at 202/204/206 Boronia Road,  Boronia was moved by Cr. Lockwood and seconded by Cr. Cooper.
It would seem that there have been objections to this development by the bordering Primary School St. Joseph’s . This development will abut the school border and there is concern by the school and parents about the safety of their young children. As we are aware no one has control over who will buy these dwellings and who lives there. Cr. Lockwood said that this application fits into the Boronia Major Activity Policy Plan, but I consider our society has an obligation to try to protect our young children. Surprisingly all Councillors voted to approve this application. Indications are that the school and parents will appeal this decision at VCAT.
I am sure that when council elections are held in 2016, this application will not be forgotten.
Question time – A young parent questioned the decision of Knox Council to raise Child Care fees by 10%, pointing that inflation is going up at Approx 2%.
Director Stubbings had all the answers as to why council are putting up fees at such a huge rate. I am sure the ratepayers of Knox are prepared to assist young families with costs such as these. Our society does not seem have much compassion towards young families trying to raise their families.
Residents of Dandelion Drive Rowville, were again asking questions about gum trees in their street and how these trees are ruining their homes. Director Bell answered the question and when he made comment that situation is not harming homes, there was a howl of protest from the gallery.
On Mr. Bell’s own website, he does not seem to have little qualifications in engineering. On Mr. Bell’s website his main qualification seems to be a landscape gardener. In recent times Mr Bell has assumed the title of Doctor Bell. Perhaps Mr. Bell can enlighten our followers on what his doctorate entails.
Recently we told you that KRA is assisting one of our members regarding a traffic problem in Boronia. At present there has been no solution to the problem and KRA have now written to the Local Government Minister to ask his assistance regarding the problem.
See you next month.
Frank.

Knox Council Meeting 22nd April 2014

Crs. Seymour and Cossari absent.
Items 6.3 and 6.4 Planning applications to build two blocks of units at 34 Bambury Street, Boronia.

One was for five double storey dwellings and the other to build six double storey dwellings on the one block, which was rejected by all Councillors. To reject this application was moved by Cr. Mortimer and seconded by Cr. Holland I have seen this site and it was a very good decision by Councillors to reject this application.
Bambury Street seems to be a reasonably quite Boronia Street and to pass this application would be most inappropriate. Very good decision Councillors.

6.4  Application to build seven double dwellings at 15 Stamford Cres Rowville was rejected .
Moved by Cr. Cooper and seconded by Cr. Orpen.
Against application were Crs. Cooper, Orpen, Pearce and Gill.
For the application were Crs. Lockwood, Mortimer and Holland. It would seem that residents in Rowville are against development, build elsewhere, but not in Rowville.

6.5 Application to build five double storey dwellings at 5 Mossfield Avenue Ferntree Gully.
Moved to pass application by Cr. Lockwood and seconded by Cr. Cooper Passed by all Councillors.

6.6 Application to build six double storey dwellings at 11-13 Clyde Street, Ferntree Gully.
Moved to pass application was Cr. Holland and seconded by Cr. Orpen.
Passed by all Councillors.

6.8 Knox Private Hospital
Planning scheme amendment C132 to apply the development plan overlay at 262 Mountain Highway and 2-8 Ainsdale Avenue.
This was passed with some adjustment Moved Cr. Orpen Seconded Cr. Gill.
Passed by  all Councillors.
Cr. Orpen and Vic Roads made comment about the problem of motorists doing illegal  U-turn  movements from Boronia Road.
If this is a problem, I wonder why Knox Police have not acted on those motorists doing illegal turns.

Question Time
A lot of residents from Dandelion Drive, Rowville were in the gallery to support their efforts to get what they consider to be dangerous gum trees removed from Dandelion Drive.
It would seem that after a petition from residents from this area, council decided to remove the Gum trees, but now have changed their mind .Speaking to residents at council meeting, it would seem that these trees are damaging their homes. KRA were involved with a similar situation, helping home owners, back in 2007 at Goulburn Drive, Rowville, when gum trees, on nature strips,  were damaging homes and council refused to remove them, saying gum trees do not attract water. After independent reports were received, council removed the trees and compensation was paid to some homes.
KRA appreciate that these type of trees were put in Knox streets many years ago by previous councils, but we think it is widely accepted that this type of tree should not be on nature strips  in our  suburban streets.

See you next month,
Frank.

KRA Joins Ratepayers Victoria Committee

Knox Ratepayers Association announce we have a representative on the Ratepayers Victoria Committee. Upon attending that organisation’s monthly meeting on Wednesday 26th March, the following important news was felt to share with the public.
A representative from the Bayside Ratepayers is suing the Council over an alleged $26,000,000 surplus which Bayside Council has overcharged Ratepayers and instead of refunding the money to the Ratepayers, the Council has put the money into a slush fund. Because of that action, the Ratepayers group has commenced proceedings in which to sue the Council on behalf of the Bayside Ratepayers.

Council Report March  2014

All Councillors in attendance

Very quiet meeting, with few planning applications

6.3 Application to build seven double storey units at 41-43 Adele Avenue Ferntree Gully was passed by all Councillors.
This was moved by Cr. Holland and seconded by Cr. Cooper.

6.4    Application to build six double storey units at 271 Boronia Road Boronia .
was passed eight Councillors For and one Against (Cr. Cooper). Cr. Cooper stated his concern regarding lack of parking at the development. Cr. Cooper has a very good point .This development  is just on the corner of Scoresby Road and Boronia Road and cars from this development have to come out onto busy Boronia Road. Council now seems to be ignoring traffic situations when passing developments.
KRA asked the CEO a question at Public Question Time and that was “To this stage, what is the cost to Knox Ratepayers regarding an ongoing drainage problem at Timbertop Drive Rowville?” His comment was “It is covered by insurance” He was then asked if he would put this in writing to KRA and he refused saying that it is recorded in the Minutes. KRA was not happy with this reply and will follow this up.
This problem has been going on for 4 years, which is hard to believe. As we have stated earlier this drainage problem started with a $1,500 drain put in to fix the drainage problem, but did not and now this has escalated to costs over one million dollars and is still before the court. We consider Knox Ratepayers deserve an explanation as to how this has happened, even though Council keep saying “It is covered by insurance”.  We are getting disturbing reports about this case.

Council Report 25th February 2014

All Councillors in attendance.

Agenda Item 6.2
Application to build 27  two storey dwellings at 27-33 Stamford Cres Rowville

Very interesting Council officers moved that councillors reject this application.
Cr. Seymour moved that councillors reject the application and this was seconded by Cr. Orpen
Cr. Holland spoke that this application should be approved. He made comment that Knox was to provide low cost housing for people and this application fitted that exactly. He did say there was a problem regarding car parking with the application, but did consider it minor. Cr. Holland then made a very interesting comment, he said that if this application was for a development in the industrial suburb of Bayswater, it would get approval, but the people in Rowville did not want the development in their back yard Interesting comment ??.
Crs Seymour, Orpen, Cooper, Lockwood and Pearce voted against the development.
Crs. Holland, Mortimer and Cossari voted to approve the application.
Application was rejected

Agenda Item 6.7
Only other interesting application was to rezone land at 7 Church Street Bayswater.

This land is owned by council and was considered surplus Cr. Seymour debated that if this land is sold, proceeds should be used for projects in that area.
Director Kourambas stated that council policy was that funds would be used as council saw fit.
Application was passed Crs. Gill, Cossari, Holland, Lockwood, Mortimer and Pearce voted for rezoning
Against Crs. Seymour, Cooper and Orpen.

Council Report 26th February 2013

All councillors were present, except Joe Cossari was absent in Italy.

It was a very rowdy meeting. The Scoresby Football Club had their supporters there. The Scoresby club had some 30 children at the meeting; no doubt trying to influence councillor. I am sure these children did not really know why they were there. The children’s behaviour was excellent, but no so the parents.

Cr. Nicole Seymour during the meeting moved to have the Carrington Park project abandoned. She made excellent comments, such as, that the Carrington Park pavilion needed some work done on it, but so did many other pavilions in Knox. Cr. Tony Holland spoke that he had researched this project.  It started out something like a $400.000 project a few years ago, but now has blown out to nearly one million dollars.

Cr Mortimore objected to the project being funded by the open space program & said it should be funded by the regular budget. When put to the vote it was 7 to 1. Cr. Cooper was the only to support the project. Cr Cooper has heard to comment if it is not passes he will sue, because it was already passed in the budget and council can’t just change their minds. I do not know who he intends to sue.

When the vote was taken to abandon the project, supporters of the Scoresby Football Club made threatening comments to Cr. Seymour. Some supporters protested with interjections, including four letter remarks. Their conduct was a disgrace. The Mayor had great difficulty controlling the meeting.

The good news for Knox ratepayers is that these million dollars saved will be returned to the open space program.

Cr. Seymour gives indications that she will live up to her election promises and try and keep spending down. I must make comment on what I have seen at council meeting so far is that Tony Holland is also keeping to his election promises.

Overall, a very interesting meeting

Cheers,
Frank

Council Report 26th March 2013

All councillors were in attendance

At the start of meeting, all councillors signed a “code of conduct.”

Agenda item 7.2
Application to put 5 double story units on 226 Boronia Rd. was passed. This does not seem that bad in the present climate

Agenda item 7.3
This is a very interesting application:  1118—1120 Stud Rd. Rowville. It would seem that there was an earlier application to put 37 three story units on this site, but it was refused by council. The developer then lodged an appeal at VCAT; which will be heard on the 2nd April. But in the meantime, the developer had another go at council before the VCAT hearing with a revised plan which was 24 two story units. To me this seems that the developer is not confident of winning the appeal.

Cr. Seymour opposed the application and was seconded by Cr. Mortimer. The application was defeated on a spit vote. Those who voted for the application were Cooper, Lockwood, Gill and Cossari.  I consider an excellent result. Cossari again spoke about the cost of appeals to VCAT. They say it is about $8000, but I am going to check with VCAT

Agenda item 10.4
This is about the delegation of the CEO. Tony Holland moved that the councillors defer this for 2 months and was seconded by Darren Pearce. Cr Cossari, I consider, made himself look pretty average. Cr Cossari attacked Cr Tony Holland saying he was questioning the credibility of “our CEO.” It would seem that Tony Holland asked council officers a few months ago for some information about this and they did not get back to him; so that is why Tony Holland asked for the deferment . The motion for the deferment was passed. Cr Gill and Cr Cossari voted against the deferment.

Cr Cossari did not listen to what Cr Tony Holland was proposing, I consider the new councillors Cr Seymour and Cr Holland are performing well, but there is a long way to go.

Another fiery meeting, but from behind the benches this time

Cheers,

Frank
Council Report – 23rd April 2013

 All councillors in attendance
It was a pretty quiet meeting.

Agenda item 6.2
Application to build 28 units 3 stories at 11 Pine Cres and 12 Cypress Av Boronia (Baird Ward)Moved by Cr. Lockwood (Baird Ward)
Seconded by Cr. Gill (Dinsdale Ward)

The application was passed 5 to 4 votes
I have seen this site and it is awful. This development is situated in between lovely single storied homes; both kept very well.

It would seem that those councillors, who passed this development, have no regard for those residents who live in the immediate area of the property. This development will destroy their privacy; negatively affect their lives & amenity.
How quick some councillors forget their election promises to control development.
Those councillors who voted for the project were Lockwood, Gill, Cooper, Pearce and Cossari; against Mortimer, Seymour Holland and Orpen

I asked the CEO what the cost when council have rejected a development and then the developer appeals to VCAT. CEO Emonson said that the cost would be between $2000 and $5000.

This is contrary to what VCAT told me on 2 occasions, that there is no cost at a hearing only the cost council would incur if they send legal people to attend the hearing.

In recent months Councillors Pearce and Cossari have stated publicity that they vote for a development because if they reject the development, it will cost the ratepayer between $10.000 and $12000 in costs. When I asked the question Cr. Orpen said it was an excellent question and said she would be disappointed if a councillor made a decision on a development because of cost. It would seem that these two councillors are hiding behind the cost factor when making decisions.

Early days, but Councillors Seymour and Holland have been very good, doing the things that at election time they said they would.

Cheers,
Frank
 

Council Report – 28th May 2013

Cr Cossari and Cr Cooper absent

It was another quiet meeting.

One only application for construction at 129 Dorset Rd Boronia four single stories two double stories; ,six units in total. It seems OK

All councillors voted for it.

Question time was interesting

A question asked was why Knox Councillors are allowing this box type of dwelling to be built, such as Mirvac are building in the estate in Stud Road Rowville. We all know that they look awful. They are not in tune with the housing in the area & look out of place

Another question was there is concern that inappropriate trees taken from nature strips are nor been replaced. The council spin is we are planting hundreds of thousands of trees. Also, it’s one rule for council; one rule for ratepayers when it comes to tree removal.

Cheers,
Frank
 

Council Report – 25th June 2013

All councillors in attendance

The major item was the budget and it was passed unanimously.

It was a pretty quiet meeting with only two development items.

Agenda item 6.2
Application to develop on a single block  21 x 3 story dwellings with basement car park at 20 Orchid Av. Boronia

This was moved Peter Lockwood and seconded by Adam Gill

The only councillor to vote against this was Tony Holland

He questioned where are the cars going to park and was told by the Director City Development that cars will be “car stacked”. This is something to look forward to in our beautiful suburb of Boronia; the noise of a car stacker waking you up in the middle of the night.

Cr Peter Lockwood seems to be on the bandwagon of developers & seems to vote for all development

Cheers,
Frank
 

Council Report – 23rd July 2013

All councillors in attendance
It was a very quite meeting
There were only two developments put up for approval

Agenda item 6.2
Development of a 15 unit 2 storey block of units at 4 Bambury Street Boronia
(Chandler Ward) 
 

Agenda item 6.3
Application to build 4 dwellings at 35 Cypress Boronia (Baird Ward)

Council officers proposed that councillors reject both applications, which they did.
Perhaps there is a glut of development in Boronia as the last few months have been very quiet with applications for development

Time will tell

Cheers,
Frank

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