Recent Council approval Of ‘Flood Mound Developments’
Against the recommendations of Council Staff
In an otherwise appalling Council meeting on 28th March 2017, attended by 4 TRRA members and a huge gallery, we witnessed a welcome turnaround on voting on DAs for earth mounds on flood plains. Three DAs were recommended for refusal by Council officers and these were supported unanimously. This bucked the previous voting by “the bloc of 7” in approving these types of DAs since August 2014.
It seems that Cr Jordan was first to “have a change of heart” as he spoke strongly at the March 2017 meeting in support of refusal. He has maintained that position ever since, along with Crs Dingle, Nell and Kafer who voted against them.
Surprise, surprise, “back again” on the agenda items, for the huge agenda for 29 July 2017 meeting (and expected last one for this Council) were two of the three DAs for building on flood plains which were refused on 28th March!
Once again the DAs were recommended for refusal by Council officers highlighting, amongst many other concerns, the velocity of the river, and the risk to SES volunteers in rescuing people. The use of good agricultural land for residential purposes was another concern regularly highlighted by Cr Nell.
The 29th July meeting was moved to 1st August because of a lack of a quorum for the 900 page agenda.
The two DAs were refused on 1st August, 2017 with Crs Jordan and Dover supporting Crs Dingle, Kafer and Nell. Two members of “the bloc” were absent.
But……. it didn’t end there! The Mayor and Cr Doohan immediately lodged rescission motions. An extraordinary meeting of Council then had to be called for 8th August to re-consider these 2 refusals.
This time Cr Dover voted with the Mayor, Cr Doohan and Tucker and, with Cr Kafer absent, gained the approval of these DAs with 33 conditions.
We were left to wonder “what happened” between 1st and 8th August to change Cr Dover’s vote which put these undesirable DAs across the line.
In response to a question about Earth Mounds on Flood Plains at the TRRA ‘Meet the Candidates’ Forum on Tuesday 15th August Cr Nell reminded Councillors that they can become individually financially liable for the decisions they make, and these approvals were not ones he ever supported. Cr Dingle had also opposed these DAs, and new candidates standing for Council, Ryan Palmer, Des Maslen, David Simms and Jamie Abbott all said that they would not have supported the approval.
Cr Dover was out on a limb. Cr Tucker, who is also standing for Mayor, did not attend the Forum. It would have been interesting to hear his reasons.
Only time will tell whether these approvals will put peoples’ lives at risk. The undesirable precedents set could be costly. Council (ratepayers!) could be up for legal costs in the future should others apply and be refused.
Prepared 20 August 2017 for TRRA by Margaret Wilkinson from research from minutes of Council meetings of 28th March, 1st August and 8th August 2017.
Note the link to her previous article on this issue in 2015. The first recommended refusal by Council officers for the same reason as all the others, was overturned and approved on 26 August 2014 by “the bloc”.