Council meeting briefs for October 14, 2015

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$40,000 for Discovery Science and Technology Centre

Greater Bendigo City Council will provide the Discovery and Science and Technology Centre with $40,000 this financial year and will consider further funding in future years.

The Council also agreed to extend existing lease arrangements for another three years beyond 2016 so long as the Committee of Management can demonstrate the centre’s financial viability.

Mayor Cr Peter Cox said the Council was responding to two petitions signed by students from Big Hill Primary School and Quarry Hill Primary School.

“Council is pleased to be able to support the Discovery Centre. The petitions signed by 185 students from Big Hill and 400 from Quarry Hill shows the centre remains a relevant and important attraction for the young residents of Bendigo,” Cr Cox said.

Council to seek Independent Panel

The Council will ask the Planning Minister to appoint an Independent Panel to look at a proposed planning scheme amendment that seeks to protect the landscapes of Big Hill and the Mandurang Valley.

The proposed amendment follows the adoption of the Big Hill and Mandurang Valley Landscape Report in August 2013, which identified the significance of the landscapes and recommended ways they could be better managed and protected.

The Council called for public submissions on the proposed planning scheme amendment earlier this year. Fifty three submissions were received: 24 supported the amendment; 21 objected to it; and eight covered a range of issues. Information sessions were held at Ravenswood and Mandurang with over 80 residents attending.

If appointed by the Minister, the Independent Panel will consider all the submissions.

Planning scheme amendment to help septic tank management

Council has adopted a planning scheme amendment that seeks to help with septic tank management across the municipality.

The amendment will enable implementation of the recently completed Domestic Wastewater Management Strategy.

City staff consulted with residents and other key stakeholders, undertook site investigations, and soil and water testing during the development of the strategy.

Over 10,000 households manage their wastewater onsite so having a set of clear guidelines will help ensure they do so in a way that limits impacts on the environment, local amenity and people’s health.

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa scheme

Council has agreed to nominate two postcodes, 3550 and 3555, to be considered as part of the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) scheme.

The SHEV scheme is a Federal Government initiative that is not yet available. However, the Municipal Association of Victoria has asked all rural and regional councils to indicate if they are willing to be part of the scheme, should the Victorian Government elect to support it when it is rolled out.

The 3550 and 3555 postcodes were chosen due to their proximity to public transport and other necessities.

There are currently 9,605 refugees in Victoria that would be eligible for a SHEV.

Should Bendigo eventually receive SHEV holders, they would need to have work or study arrangements in place and organise accommodation.

There are a number of local organisations that form the Settlement Network, which would be able to assist SHEV holders move to Bendigo.

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