Mail-Times Horsham council meeting blog for September 19, 2016

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Given there are only procedural issues left on the agenda, we’re calling an end to the live blog for tonight.

Thanks for your company.  


Second bypass motion carried unanimously. That should be the last motion to do with the bypass, aerodrome, and transport plan.

Meeting adjourned for 30 minutes for food. Non-bypass motions to resume after then.


Cr Exell says Riding for the Disabled needs a new venue given flood risk.

“They’re sandbagging, they’re working to protect their stables. I think we should look at a new location rather than having them flooded out every few years.”  


Current motion is 10.5.4 WESTERN HIGHWAY – HORSHAM BYPASS

Purpose To provide information to Council to assist in its review of its position relating to a preference or non-preference for bypass alignment options.


Mayor Phillips says parking would be a big issue for regional city passenger rail station, says out-of-town option shouldn’t be dismissed. 

Motion carried unanimously. 


Cr Grimble says residents in regional cities still have to use other modes of transport to access passenger rail, says removing dangerous road over rail crossings should be a priority.

“The thing I hear a lot of is ‘north of the railway’: it is a socio-cultural barrier,” Cr Grimble said.

“I’m happy to be printed on the front page of the Mail-Times saying I’ll do whatever I can to get rid of the rail corridor.”

Cr Barber calls for similar rail changes to open up development in north of Horsham, slaps palm as he says “let’s go.” 


Cr Exell flags motion to place passenger rain at centre of new transport plans, says Horsham is in a passenger rail black hole.

Cr Phelan endorses motion.


Cr Grimble and Mayor Phillips have backed the motion to review community consultation. 

Mayor Phillips said council would have to be careful with direct mail so it doesn’t end up in the “round filing cabinet”.

Motion passed.


Motion passed unanimously.

Cr Radford now asking for a motion to review council’s community engagement strategies in light of the issues raised through submissions and public hearings.

“It’s a changing world and not everybody reads the newspaper,” he said.    


Mayor Phillips says Horsham should look to Ballarat’s link road with tree buffers, needs transport plan for growing population with two cars at least per house.


Mayor Phillips said it was unfortunate that Horsham Integrated Transport Plan, which looked at all forms of transport, was hijacked into a bypass issue.

“The aim was to improve the lifestyle in places like Haven and along our urban roads,” she said.


Cr Clarke asked technical services director John Martin if there was any time limit if the motion was let be. 

“If its not complete, it’s not complete,” Mr Martin said.


Cr Barber said transport plan faced hurdles in Haven but greater connectivity to Horsham CBD would benefit the area.

“There is a need to get cattle and pug trucks out of Wilson Street. The smell is not good,” he said.  


Cr Clarke said he previously intended to have motion lay on the table. 

Notes that report is a collection of ideas, some of which may never happen.

She backs Cr Phelan’s concern over rail.

“The passenger service from Ararat is great. You can use our computer or read.”  

She said bypass report was a missed opportunity based on the number of people who turned up tonight and were unsure about it.


Cr Phelan notes recommendation to negotiate to re-locate part of the railway and potential for yet another transport corridor in the future.

“I can’t see any sense in getting rid of rail. The return of passenger rail is vital for this and other regional cities,” he said.


Cr Radford says public response to bypass report is a lesson in the power of making a submission.

Says there is wide range of opinions on where new river crossing should go.


As chairman of transport stakeholder group, Cr Grimble says he has received a lot of correspondence and critical emails about his actions in consideration of bypass reports.

“Some of the concerns expressed I agree with,” he said.

“Some were just ‘not in my backyard’ but I like other aspects.”

Cr Grimble says there are poorly performing intersections around Horsham but report only touches on half the problem, needs more work.


It’s now time for the BIG ONES: open-ended motions in response to draft Horsham Integrated Transport Plan stage one.


Purpose To present the Horsham Integrated Transport Strategy report to Council for adoption.


Purpose To provide information to Council to assist in its review of its position relating to a preference or non-preference for bypass alignment options


The meeting has resumed after chief executive Peter Brown had to dash off to the photocopier so councillors had correct copy of motion.


Motion to adopt Horsham Aerodrome Masterplan is lost.


Crs Exell, Phelan


Crs Grimble, Barber, Radford, Clarke


Mayor Phillips says Horsham’s experts haven’t been listened to, says she doesn’t have crystal ball to tell what the future air travel needs will be.

”We need to reserve land for all possible future needs. Until it’s needed, it can be used for farmland,” she said.

Mayor Phillips says local landowners would prefer runway extended to the south. 


Cr Barber said he was not a pilot but has read the submissions. Calls for a stakeholders to meet with consultants.

Cr Clarke said she respects the consultants and their point of view but has concern about pushing runway out south towards houses.

“There’s a lot of angst out there, a lot of people who feel they haven’t been listened to.”

She said she would tend to oppose the motion.   


Cr Radford said he will not support motion as the community’s fingerprints are not on the masterplan.

“Instead I see tension between local knowledge and the consultants,” he said.  


Cr Grimble says there is over 220 years of aviation experience in the public gallery- including advisers to the federal minister for aviation, police air wing and Civil Air Safety Authority- who are opposed to the master plan.  


Cr Grimble said he has raised similar issues about the aerodrome in past years, notes panel report to VicRoads on deficiencies of consideration for affect of bypass options on aerodrome.

Cr Grimble said he would oppose motion. 

“I think it’s unfortunate that the bypass report has been able to influence the aerodrome masterplan,” he said.


Cr Exell says Ballarat has five times Horsham’s population but a smaller airport. Says we should focus on obtaining growth in other projects.  


Cr Phelan is giving a detailed run-down on issues with the report, noting a land slope’s affect on runway use and the need for filling in dirt to level runway.

Sight lines and proximity to land where machinery is used also named as an issue and possible road closures.

However, Cr Phelan says the issues are within regulations and the extension can go ahead.

“I think we can all agree tat we want extended runways,” Cr Phelan said.

He notes that longer runways are a want not a need but could attract larger aeroplanes and passenger service.

Cr Phelan said 


Current motion is Horsham Aerodrome Masterplan

1. To discuss the key issues relating to preparation of the Aerodrome Master Plan including consultation with stakeholders.

2. To present the final draft Plan for adoption by Council.


Some reports and non-transport motions coming up before debate resumes on bypass.

Cr Mark Radford says an National Broadband Network roll-out report is a good news story.

Horsham council chief executive says service will be fibre to the node and they hope to lobby NBNCo for fibre to the premises for businesses that need higher bandwidth.


Cr Radford’s motion to reject bypass option 5A has been won.


Crs Phillips, Barber, Clarke, Exell, Radford


Crs Grimble, Phelan 


Cr Radford, who has confirmed he will stand again for council, has denied his motion is a act of electioneering.

Directing his comments at Cr Grimble, he pointed to passages in the report calling for a reassessment of 5A.  


Mayor Phillips said she support’s Cr Radford’s motion because option 5A means a new freeway through haven.

“You as the community needs to know that council supports you,” she said.

“We were prepared to go to a panel hearing and argue that option D was  not as well thought out as VicRoads thought it was.”

Cr Phillips said there is still a need for a way to get trucks out of Horsham.

“I think we all agree that we have more work to do,” she said.

“It’s possible that it will not be decided in this term of council.”


Cr Robin Barber says he will support motion as he doesn’t not want a four-lane, 110 kilometre per hour limit bypass south of Horsham.

“But one way or another we are going to have to make a decision,” he said.

Cr David Grimble says he will oppose the motion.

“It’s fine to remove 5A on its merits but it’s very, very premature,” he said. 

Cr Grimble said 5A is not actually up for consideration and VicRoads had not taken the opprtunity to present information for the option to Horsham Council.


Cr Sue Excell says she supports Cr Radford’s motion.

“Cr Radford has basically said it all,” she said.

She said she was concerned about schools in the areas and the option would be a absolute disaster.

Cr Pam Clarke said she will support the motion as she does not want a southern route around Horsham.

Cr Tony Phelan says he agrees with much that has been said but will oppose the motion.

“We seem to be setting up options and shooting them down,” he said.


Cr Mark Radford is putting his own motion to reject aspects of the draft transport report:

“That the Horsham Rural City Council refuse to support the VicRoads Western Highway Bypass Route Option known as 5A.

“Citing the following reasons:

1. The conflict with the HRCC Framework for Managing Growth Strategy.

2. The proximity of a significant Cultural Heritage site.

3. The severance of the Haven community.

4. The social impact to the residents of Horsham south and Horsham west.

5. The distance from the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal.”

Cr Radford said ‘option 5A’ would affect aboriginal heritage sites, split Haven from Horsham, create noise and pollution and would not address the key goal of improving freight efficiency.   


Cr Grimble’s motion is lost


Crs Phillips, Grimble, Barber


Crs Radford, Phellan, Clarke, Exell


In his right of reply, Cr Grimble says the council’s report was calling on VicRoads to do work that should have been done already.

He says councillors should not take an easy cop-out.  


Mayor Phillips says a lot of valid points have been raised over what is a highly technical issue.

“there is a lot more work to be done before a solution comes along that is acceptable to the community.”

“I don’t like hearing ‘not in my backyard stories’. I don’t like pitting one community against another.

“We need to come together.”   

Cr Phillips said there has been a lot of angst over proposals that have not been discussed.

She said she has her own issues around ‘option D’, including recreation impact, floodplains and a lack of compensation for non-demolished houses. 


Cr Pam Clarke said removing the planning scheme amendment will not achieve anything as state government can start the process all over again.

She says she will vote in the best interest of the community. 


Cr Tony Phelan says he will oppose Cr Grimble’s motion that in essence calls to reject ‘option D’.

Cr Phelan says it is time to look at a commitment on the bypass.

He says some of Cr Grimble’s concerns about the aerodrome plan have been addressed by consultants.

“What I believe is option D should remain on the table,” Cr Phelan said.

“I think we are running out of time, and maybe we are running out of consultants.”    


Cr Mark Radford acknowledges the issues raised by Crs Grimble and Barber but said he still prefers ‘option D’.

Cr Sue Exell said the council has paid thousands of dollars and brought in experts to examine options.

“Only 10 per cent of the population may have heard of ‘option D’, and have not had a chance to express support,” she said.

Cr Exell said the failure of council to communicate had been brought up and accepted in the meeting.

“Putting it in the Mail-Times and on a website is not enough,” she said.

Cr Exell said rejecting ‘option D’ would place the issue in a limbo with no progress or compensation.   


Cr Robin Barber says he support’s Cr Barber’s motion.

“The fact that the report recommends ‘option D’ astounds me,” he said.


Cr David Grimble has brought his motion to council on abandoning planning scheme around Horsham Aerodrome and potenital bypass option.

1. Resolve the Horsham Planning Scheme Amendment C72 as exhibited be abandoned and removed from further consideration.

2. Formally request the Victorian State Government and VicRoads to action this position of Council.

Cr Grimble said the planning scheme amendment would harm safety and viability of the aerodrome.

He says there are issues with potential animal strikes on aeroplanes, floodplain issues and cost.

Cr Grimble is now speaking about the wider bypass options, calling for a decision on the merits of proposals and not public opinion.  

“This project is a high-risk, high-value project,” he said.

“Economic benefit depends on an increase in traffic.”

Cr Grimble says the proposed bypass does not included enough length to cover floodplains and would involve 300 new culverts.

Cr Grimble said the lack of planning had been unacceptable.  


Lots of questions on notice from the public gallery about the bypass report. They will be answered as long as the person who put in the questions is present in the council chamber. 

Technical director John Martin is addressing the five major themes that have come out of the questions.

He has acknowledged that the council’s public engagement strategy was not adequate.

“Not everybody reads the Wimmera Mail-Times,” one person told council.  

Other issues raised in questions are location, funding, and whether or not the bypass is needed in the first place.

Mr Martin reassures questioners that Horsham Council will seek state and federal funds for bypass projects, if agreed to.

“330 submissions have been received, much more than to previous VicRoads community engagements,” he said.  


The meeting has started. 

Horsham council Mayor notes the full public gallery tonight, largely the result of the bypass motions to be considered.

“Normally, I could name each and every person in the gallery,” she said. 

It’s about 60 people

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