April 2023 Scheduled Council Meeting wrap

Last updated on 27 April 2023

Council will invite public feedback on its draft Affordable Housing Policy and a review of Customer Service Centres, while a proposal to move the Riddells Creek fire station to Riddells Creek Recreation Reserve was not endorsed at last night’s Scheduled Council Meeting.

Riddells Creek CFA Fire Station

Councillors voted to support a recommendation to not proceed with the current Country Fire Authority (CFA) proposal to relocate the Riddells Creek Fire Station to Riddells Creek Recreational Reserve.

Councillors and the community acknowledged the need for upgraded facilities to support the CFA’s effectiveness in keeping the community safe, however the recommendation concluded that the current proposal did not appropriately attend to the concerns of Council and the community, and further work was required on finding a suitable solution.

Concerns around access, parking and the impact the proposal could have on existing user groups were identified through the community consultation process. It was also noted that the area had been designated for recreational purposes and the proposal could inhibit future expansion of the facilities within the reserve.

Mayor Annette Death said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback on this proposal. Council will continue to work closely with the CFA, Victorian Government and Riddells Creek community to find a suitable outcome for the proposed relocation.”

Draft Affordable Housing Policy

Councillors endorsed the draft Affordable Housing Policy to be released for community consultation – a policy that will guide and inform all Council decisions and actions relating to affordable housing in the Macedon Ranges.

It will supersede the Affordable Housing Interim Policy 2021-2023 endorsed by Council in December 2021, which was implemented to put affordable and social housing on Council’s agenda, and convey an intent to engage with the Victorian Government on its Big Housing Build.

A minimum investment of $30 million has been committed for the Macedon Ranges, of the $5.3 billion investment by the Victorian Government under the Big Housing Build initiative, to be put towards social and affordable housing in the shire.

Relevant to this is a recent proposal for a new 12-unit development at 3-5 Noel Street in Lancefield which, following community consultation earlier this year, Councillors also endorsed to proceed at last night’s Council meeting.

Council will now enter into a lease of the property with Wintringham Housing for a 20-year term, with Wintringham to lead next steps in the process including lodging a planning permit and further community consultation.

Mayor Annette Death said: “I encourage people to read through this important policy and have their say. The Noel Street proposal is a prime example of the positive outcomes that the policy is aiming to achieve.”

Feedback is invited on the draft Affordable Housing Policy from 27 April to 21 May.

Customer Service Centre review

Councillors adopted the revised Customer Service Charter following community consultation earlier this year, while also endorsing a recommendation for further consultation on the future of its four existing Customer Service Centres.

In 2022, Council’s Customer Service Centre opening hours were analysed and a review undertaken across the Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey and Woodend sites, to determine the number and type of in-person interactions over a set period.

This review revealed significant contrasts in attendance and activities performed at all centres, with Woodend and Romsey in particular recording comparably lower levels of foot traffic.

Considering a number of factors, the review led to a recommendation that operating the Woodend site as is was not viable in the long term, and that an opportunity exists to redistribute resources to areas with higher demand, to achieve better customer service outcomes across the shire.

Mayor Annette Death said: “The revised Customer Service Charter focuses on strengthening our service delivery, and in line with this, it is timely that we revisit how best to balance the needs of the community with using our resources most effectively. This proposal would cease customer-facing interactions at the Woodend, while still maintaining a level of service to that community.”

Feedback is invited on the Customer Service Centre review from 27 April to 24 May.