Committee members recently met with the CEO and several council officers to discuss a range of issues that affect our community. Questions raised by community members and responses are shown below:
RACV land swap – The plan of subdivision is currently being advertised and will proceed through the normal planning application process which when complete will allow the land swap to occur; once the fence is realigned SCS will address the current weed infestation and make improvements to the whole area; the RACV is covering the entire costs associated with the land swap process; SCS will confirm the “up to $10,000” amount that RACV is to give to the SCS with us and the use of the funds.
Rate capping – the shire is not intending to apply for an exemption for the next budget. The shire is currently undertaking a review of services and the way they are provided with the hope of identifying areas where saving/productivity can be made including opportunities arising from the improved use of technology.
RESPONSE: Rates per Assessment are generally higher in Surf Coast compared to other municipalities. For 2014/15 the average rates per assessment for Surf Coast were $2,085, compared with $1,784 for the state average for large rural shires. Rates revenue accounts for over 70% of Council’s revenue base, and this compares to 55% for the state average for large rural shires. Whereas other municipalities are able to charge lower rates due to other sources of income, Council is limited in opportunities to collect additional revenue due to two main factors:
It does not manage the foreshore in most areas, meaning that revenue for these areas is collected by a different entity (Ie Caravan park revenue), and
It does not have major income-generating facilities (i.e. airports, function centres etc.)
2.1 How does the shire compare to other shires of similar size for the average rate per property – currently much higher, a true comparison requires a comparison of service provision.
RESPONSE: I agree a true comparison requires a comparison of service provision, but it also requires comparison of demographics, population density, age of assets, resource availability, and a whole range of other considerations. The Annual Victorian Grants Commission return may help because it considers a lot of these factors.
Dog brochure – the update of the dog brochure was delayed due to discussions with GORCC relating to the areas that they have under their control; NO DOGS sign/s will be placed on the Bob Pettit playground asap. Will they be placed on any other playgrounds? When do you expect the brochure to be updated?
RESPONSE: Brochures are in the process of being updated and will be completed within 2 months.
Improved surveillance of beaches and other public areas is required along with the issuing of infringement notices to reinforce the requirement for dog owners to adhere to the current regulations.
RESPONSE: New signs to be installed. Signs will be larger, to make them clearly visible and easy to read. The date of installation has not been determined as the signs have to be made and then installed etc. An audit of all the play grounds has been finished and consistent signs on all parks will now be rolled out.
Spring Creek – the final Spring Creek PSP will be presented to council at the April meeting. We expressed our concern with the community engagement process – we believe the community panel were not provided with reports etc. in a timely manner, that panel members questions were left unanswered because of the time constraints, the process was rushed, the timing of the exhibiting of the draft plan was extremely poor (over the lead up to Christmas and the school holidays). We acknowledge the difficulty in balancing developer and community expectations.
RESPONSE: View is noted. Surf Coast Shire outlined the objective of the panel structure and believe the overall outcome was positive.
Industrial estate – council will investigate the current requirements for vegetation and its maintenance is adequate/ being adhered to and whether smaller trees/shrubs are needed to provide the desired screening once the larger trees increase in height.
RESPONSE: Smaller trees/shrubs are not part of the planting schedule. There needs to be some level of visual permeability to ensure safety of pedestrians on a key north south pathway. If the planting is too dense there will be no surveillance provided. This link provides further information: http://www.crimeprevention.vic.gov.au/home/resources/safer+design+guidelines+for+victoria. There will be landscaping on the development sites beyond the path which will provide for a second row of screening.
Sea View – council confirmed that the recent purchasers intend to restore the property; council did not properly follow up on the conditions of the subdivision.
RESPONSE: The new owners are meeting with Heritage Advisor to discuss renovation of the property. The permit for the subdivision was amended following an application by the developer. The subdivision complied with the amended permit conditions.
Wheelchair parking – council will adjust the kerbing in Bell St(in front of Telstra shop) to allow better access to/from the disabled parking bay. As the bay in front of the Quicksilver café is not council owned the process to rectify this will take longer but it will be followed up with the owners as it is requirement.
Beach Road intersection – TAC is currently assessing the intersection and it is expected that it will be signalized in the next 12 months? South Beach Road will have a roundabout installed. Could we please have a more detailed written response in relation to timing etc of these 2 projects?
RESPONSE: VicRoads and TAC are currently assessing funding application for South Beach Road roundabout. This will allow Council DCP funds to be redeployed to the Beach Road intersection with a signalized solution. Council expects a decision on the funding application in the next 3 months. No action will occur until the funding outcome is known however, it is anticipated that an answer will be received from TAC by 30 June 2016 which would then allow the Beach Road signals to be commenced in 2017/18.
New foot bridge – bikes will be permitted, it will be a shared path. Is there a plan of the bridge and how it is expected to work that residents can view?
RESPONSE: A plan of the new footbridge and bike lanes is attached.
Community infrastructure planning – a list of planned community infrastructure forms part of the DCP document which is accessible on the SCS website. See appendix 3.
Weed Strategy – Could you please email me some detail regarding this?
RESPONSE: Council is currently developing its new Pest Plant & Animal Strategy which will outline priorities for managing weeds and pest species on Council owned and managed land, including municipal roadsides. The draft Strategy will be released for community consultation during 2016-17. Due to popular demand Council has recently re-printed its Weeds of the Surf Coast Shire and the Top 20 weed brochures – which are also available on-line.