CLEARLY disappointed to be on the losing side of two votes relating to Venus Bay at last Wednesday’s meeting of South Gippsland Shire Council, Cr Kieran Kennedy, a long-time resident of Venus Bay, has signalled that he does not give up easily.
Just days after the meeting, Cr Kennedy submitted two Notices of Rescission regarding Agenda Item E.5 ‘Compulsory Kerbside Collection Service for Venus Bay’ and Agenda Item E.10 ‘Final Cluster Review for Social Community Infrastructure Tarwin Lower/Venus Bay and Meeniyan.’
The Agenda Items were both adopted on Wednesday, but no further actions will be taken on the Resolutions due to these Notices of Rescission, which will be addressed at the council meeting in August. If the Notices of Rescission are unsuccessful, the Resolutions to Agenda Item E.5 and Item E.10 from the Council Ordinary Meeting on July 22 will stand.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Cr Kennedy attempted to defer Agenda Item E.5 for a year “in order to provide time to assess the impact of the removal of rubbish bins at Beach Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5”. He argued that Council should wait until Parks Victoria had trialled its bin removal before imposing compulsory rubbish collection on Venus Bay residents and suggested that $142.80 was too high a rate to pay for six months’ collection of household rubbish. “It’s putting an unfair burden on people,” he said. “We need to monitor the success or otherwise of Parks Victoria removing beach bins.”
Cr Mohya Davies argued that there had been ongoing discussions regarding the rubbish situation at Venus Bay which was, she said, the only built-up coastal area with no kerbside collection. “We do the community a disservice by not offering them a service.”
Cr Jim Fawcett scoffed at suggestions from Cr Kennedy that anyone other than Venus Bay householders was dumping household rubbish on the beach. He declared the recommendation of shire officers that there should be six months of compulsory and six months of optional kerbside collection in a settlement where rubbish dumping has become a serious problem “a good compromise”.
Cr Kennedy had support for his deferral motion from Crs Hutchinson-Brooks, McEwen and Harding. However, it was defeated, with Crs Fawcett, Davies, Brunt, Newton and Hill voting against it. These same five councillors then voted to introduce a compulsory 6 month garbage and recycling collection service for the period of November to April each year. Cr Kennedy has now put paid to that, for the time being, with his Notice of Rescission, as he has to the Cluster Review for Social Community Infrastructure Tarwin Lower/Venus Bay and Meeniyan.
Cr Kennedy’s objection to the Cluster Review centred on the eighth of eight Key Recommendations – “Continue Council’s Strategic Land Review, in consultation with the community, to identify further opportunities for income generation which could be reinvested in more suitable community infrastructure programs.”
Cr Kennedy, who has a well-documented history of antipathy to the Strategic Land Review, said it was “absolutely out of order” to include the clause, as there was “vigorous opposition to the sale of public open space in Venus Bay”. He fumed that Council was using a “backdoor immoral way” to sell off council land.
Mayor Cr Harding ruled that by removing the offending clause Cr Kennedy would be making a substantive change to the motion rather than an amendment, so Cr Davies moved the original motion (to adopt the Cluster Review). Cr Fawcett seconded the motion. “This is not about selling Venus Bay land. We are just saying that the Strategic Land Review has an important place in the Cluster Review,” he said. The vote was divided along fairly traditional lines, with Crs Davies, Fawcett, Brunt, Hutchinson-Brooks and Newton voting to adopt the Cluster Review. Cr Kennedy received support for his position from Crs McEwen, Hill and Harding, though only Cr Hill gave an explanation for why he was rejecting the Cluster Review (he felt the eighth clause was a separate issue).