Council Meeting News In Brief
March 24, 2024
Memorial Square Playspace
Colac Otway Shire Council will award a contract for the supply and installation of playground equipment for the new Memorial Square Playspace, after agreeing to allocate additional funds to ensure the final design can be delivered.
The construction of the new playspace is a high priority component of the Memorial Square Master Plan 2017, and the project to build a larger, significantly upgraded area can now progress.
Council received $300,000 through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, and $250,000 through the State Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Fund towards the project, with Council planning to contribute $60,000.
A concept plan was developed and placed on public exhibition, and significant changes were made in response to community feedback, such as the inclusion of fencing and additional play equipment such as a flying fox.
Tenders for the final plan were above the estimated cost, due to design changes and increased market costs, and Council has decided to allocate $160,000 from savings identified in its 2020-21 budget to deliver the endorsed design.
The new playspace will feature a poppy-themed main play structure with slides and climbing elements; swings including toddler and regular seats and basket/nest swing; accessible carousel; play activities/games on rubber softfall; mini trampolines; toddler mound slide and sandpit; natural play area; musical elements; rubber softfall and mulch; concrete path network; installation of park furniture including bench seats, picnic settings, other seating; drinking fountain; landscaping including planting, barrier fencing along the southern and western edge, and irrigation.
The Memorial Square Playspace is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Traffic Management Trial on Old Coach Road, Skenes Creek
Colac Otway Shire Council will trial the installation of automatic, self-opening/closing gates and new signage to manage traffic issues on Old Coach Road at Skenes Creek.
The one-year trial responds to a petition from 84 people raising speeding and traffic concerns on the road, which is used as an alternative route to the main Skenes Creek Road.
Council has also responded to advice from emergency services and will install unlocked, automatic gates with ‘slow down’ signs at two locations, traffic counters and warning signs for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles; request GPS changes to direct traffic along the main Skenes Creek Road; and monitor the trial over 12 months.
Council will also apply to Regional Roads Victoria for a speed reduction on Old Coach Road from 100km/hr to 50km/hr.
Following completion and assessment of the trial, Council will consider the installation of speed humps on the sealed section of Old Coach Road to deter and slow traffic.
Colac Otway Urges State Enforcement of Noxious Weed Control
Colac Otway Shire Council will raise concerns regarding the enforcement and control of noxious weeds on private land with State Government representatives and the Municipal Association of Victoria.
Council has noted that the enforcement of noxious weed control on private land is a State Government responsibility, and a “lack of effective enforcement and control of noxious weeds over many years has resulted in many rural properties becoming infested”.
Council intends to meet with the relevant State Minister to discuss concerns and raise the issue whenever meeting with State MPs, government officials and election candidates.
A resolution will also be prepared for Colac Otway Shire to move at the next MAV State Council meeting, calling for the State Government to enforce the requirements of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 to control noxious weeds on private land and increase the resourcing of weed control on Crown Land.
Colac Otway Shire Council will conduct a stand-alone review of the Australia Day Awards and ceremony, with a report including suggestions for the 2022 Australia Day event and beyond to be considered at the September Council Meeting, or earlier if possible.
Council has previously conducted an annual Australia Day event on January 26 with a range of activities including recognising citizens’ achievements and contributions across various award categories, and citizenship ceremonies.
The review will look at, but is not limited to, award categories, Indigenous inclusion and Citizenship ceremonies.
As part of the review, Council will establish a community consultation process that seeks to understand views and perceptions on the current Australia Day event and provide suggestions for the future of Australia Day events.
Review of Mayoral and Councillor Allowances
Colac Otway Shire intends to retain Councillor and Mayoral allowances at the current level, having undertaken a review and taken into consideration the current social and economic climate.
In accordance with the Local Government Act 1989, Council has given public notice of its intention, and will invite written submissions before April 27 and hear from any person wishing to speak to their submission on May 12.
A report on any submissions received will be presented at Council’s May meeting for consideration, or if no submissions are received, allowances will remain at their current level of $76,140 for the Mayor and $25,160 for Councillors, without further resolution.
Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy Review
Colac Otway Shire Council has adopted its revised Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy, within the timeframe required by the Local Government Act 2020.
The Act states that the Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy must include procedures for the maintenance of a gift register and any other matters prescribed by the regulations including the definition of a non-token offer (a gift valued over $50), what offers can be accepted, and what offers must be declared or registered.
The new policy will come into effect from 12 April, 2021.