HORSHAM Rural City Council has rejected a city bypass option, despite only two councillors in favour of the decision.
The council voted on Monday night to not support bypass option D and in the absence of three councillors, it took two councillors’ votes to win the majority on the issue.
VicRoads has asked Planning Minister Richard Wynne to approve a planning scheme amendment for the bypass and option D.
Option D would see a connection between the Western Highway and Gatehouse Road to the east of Horsham with a Henty Highway intersection.
Regional pilots have previously expressed concerns that the option would limit development at Horsham Aerodrome and increase the risk of plane crashes
Cr John Robinson said council was required to advise the minister about its position on the bypass by June 30. He said because the council did not meet again until July, councillors had to agree on a position on Monday night.
Mayor Pam Clarke, councillors Mark Radford and Josh Koenig and chief executive Peter Brown were absent because they were attending a local government conference in Canberra.
Cr David Grimble chaired the meeting. Cr Robinson said the council should reject option D and that had been the council’s stance since September 2015.
“There has been a lot of talk since then, but there have been no motions that have changed council’s position,” he said.
“No one has said we should endorse option D and there has been plenty of opportunity to.” Cr Robinson said the council had a legal obligation to state its position before June 30.
“We thought we had until Christmas to do some work but our time frame has been bought back,” he said.
“If we ignore the timeline, the minister could decide we have no say in the issue.”
Cr Grimble said while it would have been better for all councillors to debate the issue, a decision had to be made. “All we are doing is confirming council’s current position,” he said. Cr Alethea Sedgman was concerned not all councillors were present and suggested council request a deadline extension.
Cr Grimble and Cr Robinson voted in favour of rejecting option D, while Cr Sedgeman and Cr Les Power voted against it. As Cr Grimble was chairing the meeting, he had the deciding vote.
Council will look at others options for bypass routes and notify the minister next month.