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  • Writer's pictureSerena O'Meley

Darebin Public Question Time & Submissions Diary - 2020-2024

Updated: Mar 11

This diary will be progressively updated with questions and answers over the term of the 2020-2024 term of the Darebin Council. - Serena O'Meley


27 February 2023

  1. Clements Reserve - progress report on purchase of land

  2. Clements Reserve - further damage from slashing

  3. Clements Reserve - remediation

19 December 2022

  1. Graffiti across Darebin

  2. Election litter

  3. Clements Reserve - failure to weed rewilded areas

24 October 2022

  1. Derelict building in Reservoir - 1 Macartney Street

22 August 2022

  1. Clements Reserve - two further questions about the delay in purchasing the land.

  2. Dumbarton Grasslands - questions about Darebin Council's lobbying efforts to swap this land for another area with less significance.

23 May 2022

  1. Senior Biodiversity Officer - question about timeframe for replacement staff member.

  2. DNT - question about skill set of sought for new appointments.

28 & 29 March 2022

  1. Clements Reserve - further answers to my questions of 28 February 2022 and questions seeking a progress report on the purchase of the site from VicRoads.

28 February 2022

  1. Clements Reserve - questions about the delay in reporting site contamination to the EPA.

31 January 2022

  1. Former Ruthven Primary School site - questions about the continued delay in renaming the site in Woiwurrung.

12 December 2021

  1. Northcote Golf Course - submission

25 October 2021

  1. Public question time - requests for questions to be read out by an officer and answered by the Mayor

  2. Vaccination - question about Aboriginal vaccination rates in Darebin

  3. DNT - request for a proper answer to my question from 27 September 2021

27 September 2021

  1. Vaccination - question regarding vaccine equity for Aboriginal people in Darebin

  2. DNT - question about composition of Darebin Nature Trust

  3. Clements Reserve - request for update regarding the acquisition of Clements Reserve

26 July 2021

  1. Minutes and Agendas - request to make reports keyword searchable

  2. Dole Avenue - query why it would cost $1million to upgrade the site

  3. Clements Reserve - query what it is taking so long to finalise the purchase

15 - 23 June 2021

  1. Clements Reserve - letter from Darebin Council about question taken on notice

  2. Clements Reserve - email exchange (16/23 June) requesting that the question be fully answered

24 May 2021

  1. Clements Reserve - request for progress report on acquisition of land

  2. Dumbarton Street Grassland - request for Darebin to lobby Planning Minister to protect the grassland

  3. Former Ruthven Primary School site - request for progress report on renaming of the site in Woi Wurrung.

24 May 2021

  1. Ruthven Primary School Play Space Community Consultation - Submission

19 May 2021

  1. Darebin Budget Presentation 2021 - 2022 (made at the Council Meeting) - repurposing the former Library and former Dole Avenue Kindergarten

9 May 2021

  1. Darebin Budget Submission 2021 - 2022 - repurposing the former Library and former Dole Avenue Kindergarten

26 April 2021

  1. Clements Reserve - answer to questions sent by letter (1 April 2021) and in Governance Report Appendix B.

  2. Clements Reserve - why was further town planning advice required before a valuation could be obtained (which is necessary before negotiations on price)?

  3. Public question time - why are the appendices now incorporated into the body of the agenda, making it harder for the public to find information?

27 February 2023

Serena O’Meley of Reservoir

1. Please provide a progress report on the purchase of three parcels of VicRoads land in Clements Reserve.

2. I remain very concerned by the neglect of Clements Reserve. Most recently instead of weeding the area as requested it was slashed, causing damage to the rewilding efforts. What can be done to ensure that the park is properly maintained?

3. When will remediation works commence at Clements Reserve to address the lead contamination that was discovered in the park?

Response from General Manager Governance & Engagement, Jodie Watson

1. Council and the Department of Transport have reached in principle agreement on the sale of the three parcels of land. This matter will be reported publicly to Council at the earliest opportunity to provide transparency to the process and the sale.

Response from General Manager Operations & Capital, Sam Hewett

2. Council will continue to maintain the site until a decision on purchasing has been finalised. Our contractors and staff aim to be mindful of existing planting. We will arrange for a crew to attend the location later this week to carefully undertake required weeding and brush cutting works.

3. Once Council has made a decision on any purchase of the land, it will consider the remediation works required and agreed and the timeframe in which these works should be undertaken.

19 December 2022

• Serena O’Meley of Reservoir

Q1 .Graffiti is out of control all over Darebin, on buildings, on the base of power polls, on

junction boxes and so on. It gives our city a strong air of urban decay.

One of the worst examples is in Westgarth village where even the sign welcoming people to

the village has been graffitied. Scaffolding was recently left out by builders that allowed

people easy access to the tops of the historic buildings where graffiti is making them look


What steps is Darebin Council taking to address the issue of the increasing amounts of

graffiti in our city, including Westgarth?

Q2. A number of fringe State election candidates covered light poles and power polls with

stickers and corflutes to advertise their runs for office. What steps has/is Darebin Council

taking to deal with this littering?

Q3. Clements is again overgrown with weeds which is damaging the rewilding of the park.

The entrances to the park have recently been slashed, instead of weeded, which is likely to

have caused damage to the indigenous plants. In other areas, enormous chest-high weeds,

including dandelions are obliterating the indigenous plants. What steps will be taken to

ensure that these areas are properly weeded and maintained rather than slashed or

poisoned off?

Response from General Manager Sam Hewett

Thank you for your questions Serena,

1. Council offers a graffiti removal subsidy program for private property owners through the provision of free graffiti removal kits and vouchers for contractors and paint. For safety reason we generally don’t remove graffiti above ground level but we’ll make contact with these property owners again to explain the graffiti services that might be available to them.

2.Council this week wrote to all state election candidates to remind them of their obligation to remove all political poster now the state election has been completed. – Serena believed this response didn’t answer her question therefore this question was taken on notice – Sam to call Serena to discuss

3. Thanks for your feedback. We’ve made arrangements to have Council’s contractors attend the site this week to address maintenance issues

24 October 2022

Darebin Council - Public Question Time - 24 October 2022

• Serena O'Meley of Reservoir

I refer to the block of units at 1 Macartney Street, Reservoir. Several of the units were completed many years ago, but one of the units is not finished, and is just a tall steel frame and some graffiti-covered lower walls.

This unfinished building is an eyesore in the middle of Reservoir. It is directly opposite our new train station and close to the Cheddar Road east linear reserve. How long has the building been in this state, has the building permit expired and when will it either be completed or demolished?

Response from Chairperson, Mayor Messina

A planning permit was issued for this development but has expired. Our records suggest construction has in progress since 2014. This matter has been referred to Council’s planning compliance team for investigation and given the length of time that this has been ongoing, this will be prioritised.

A building permit was issued by a private building surveyor but has now expired. It is a matter for the private building surveyor to pursue. Council officers cannot enforce this however we have notified the private building surveyor.

It is not possible to say how long it may take to resolve, but it is likely to be a lengthy process.

22 August 2022

Below are my questions to Monday's Council meeting about both Clements Reserve and the Dumbarton grassland.

In relation to the Dumbarton Street grassland, sadly it looks like Darebin Council has thrown in the towel and the option of swapping development sites is no longer being explored.

The 2016 Darebin Council, including three current councillors who were at the relevant meeting, failed to exercise its right to acquire all the land within the site, and later the remaining right of way owned by Council was compulsorily acquired.

The upshot is that the State Government is going to build social and market housing on the site and there will be little that can be done to protect it through the planning process. This environmentally significant volcanic plains grassland is just below the threshold size that would trigger protection under the EPBC Act.

Council should be more up front about how little influence it is likely to have when it comes to protecting the natural values of the site.

Serena O'Meley Of Reservoir


1. Which EPA approved model for remediation of contaminated soil at Clements Reserve is going to be adopted by Darebin Council?

2. Can you please give a progress report on the purchase of VicRoads land within Clements Reserve? If the land has not yet been purchased can you explain why?

3. Can you outline any further lobbying efforts which Darebin Council has undertaken this year with the State Government to protect the Dumbarton Street grasslands from development?

Response from CEO, Rachel Ollivier

1. Where that is up to at the moment is Darebin Council has engaged a specialist environmental consultant. That consultant is advising on the options of treatment for that site. The preliminary options are there’s two options that are acceptable to the EPA. What needs to happen next is that the sites primary owner, which is VicRoads needs to consider those options, but at this stage I can’t give you a specific answer but that will come.

2. To progress the purchase, VicRoads and Darebin Council are working together to progress the acquisition of the VicRoads land at Clements Reserve. One of the things that we are doing at the moment is factoring in estimated remediation costs. As I mentioned earlier, Darebin Council jointly with Vic Roads have engaged Enviropacific which is the environment consultant they are preparing an estimate of remediation costs. The purchase of the land has been delayed by the complexity of the contamination and the need for remediation and impact on land value, so it is taking longer than we had originally expected

3. The site at Dumbarton Street is being developed by the State government for a mix of social housing and market housing. Darebin Officers have continued our advocacy on Council’s position and met the appointed builders in April 2022. The key thing Officers have been advocating for is the protection of significant patches of vegetation within the grasslands and we have called on the builders to undertake all the appropriate ecological studies ahead of development. The town planning formal process that will run has not yet started, and we will have an opportunity to advocate further through that process.

23 May 2022

1. Darebin Council’s Senior Biodiversity Officer position has been vacant for around one month. This is a crucial position for Darebin’s re-wilding program. Can you please confirm when this position will be advertised?

2. Darebin Nature Trust no longer has sufficient participants with a deep understanding of biodiversity and/or with environmental experience. Noting that there are currently four positions open for Expressions of Interest, what steps will Darebin Council take to recruit additional people with these skill sets to DNT?


1. While the position is vacant, a person has been appointed to act in the role so as not to lose continuity of work. This is common practice in the sector and the individual in question is highly qualified in the field. This question was taken on notice and Officers will get back to Serena.

2. Council has access to several highly qualified and experienced experts on staff and through the engagement of consultants when necessary. The DNT augments that knowledge by providing a sounding board and ‘critical friendship’ to Council so that it’s work is well informed. The current DNT bring a rich diversity of experiences and knowledge to the table which is highly valued by Council. In considering further applications to the DNT, Council will seek to ensure that the skill set of future members compliments existing members and staff.

28 March 2022

1. Can you please give a progress report on the purchase of three parcels of VicRoads land within Clements Reserve, including whether a new Valuer General valuation has been sought, whether a sale price has been fixed and when the land is likely to be acquired?

2. Can you please provide an update on whether the EPA has accepted either of Darebin Council's remediation proposals for contamination at Clements Reserve, and if so, which one has been accepted?


1. To assist in advancing discussions with Vic Roads, Officers instructed Council’s

valuer to update its previous valuation obtained in 2021.

The updated valuation (March 2022) has regard to the independent planning advice

which contends that the highest and best use of the land is continuing as an area of

informal open space and a biodiversity asset in forming part of the wider Darebin

Creek Corridor. Council Officers are due to meet with Vic Roads officers on 29 March

to discuss the respective valuations and the next steps toward acquisition.

2. Since formally lodging Council’s proposed Clements Reserve Management Plan and

associated documentation, Council has had a number of discussions with the EPA on

this matter and is still awaiting a formal response.

28 March 2022

[I wasn't satisfied with the answers to my questions about Clements Reserve put on 28 February 2022 because they were evasive on points relating specifically to the lead contamination on the site. I sent a follow up email on 1 March 2022 and received the following response on 28 March 2022. My questions are in bold and Council's answers are in italics.]

Good Afternoon Serena,

I trust you are well and I thank you for your patience.

On behalf of Mayor Messina, please see answers to your questions below.

The Council immediately addressed the asbestos contamination after Terry Mason and I reported it to Mayor Rennie.  Remediation of the lead contamination risks did not take place until late in 2021.

Council addressed the asbestos risk immediately and immediately addressed part of the area contaminated by lead – the remainder of the lead hotspot was addressed as soon as all studies and the management plan were completed (later in 2021). It was important that Council completely understood the risks through these further studies and it took advice from experts in order to form its view. Mulch and fencing were added later in 2021 as an additional control.

The lead contamination was identified in the Prensa Report which was already complete in September 2020.  The later Aurecon Report was merely supplementary. 

Thus, the answer to my question does not provide an explanation of why there was more than a year delay in reporting the lead contamination to the EPA.  The land contamination duty relates to when the land manager becomes aware of the contamination.  Council was aware over a year before it was reported.

The new regulations which contain the duty to notify came into effect on 1 July 2021. The Aurecon report was not supplementary. It performed a gap analysis and considered the matter in the context of the new EP Regulations. The Act requires that contamination is reported ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ once discovered. However, reporting to the EPA required additional studies to be completed as well as negotiation with the VicRoads as the predominant landowner.

The reporting process is new and still being refined. There is an issue in that the Act requires the contamination to be reported as soon as reasonably practicable, but that the reporting portal requires various studies and management plans to be developed before a report can be made. The EPA has acknowledged that this is a challenge to land owners.

There are claims that Cr Laurence, not Council, made the initial report of lead contamination to the EPA.  Is this the case?  Notification some months prior to 3 December 2021 still puts the notification at late 2021 instead of 2020 when Council first became aware of the contamination.

We aren’t aware of any reports made by Councillor Laurence to the EPA. You may wish to make an enquiry direct to Councillor Laurence in relation to this.

Councillors were informed of the presence of asbestos in Clements Reserve on 18 June 2020 and as explained above, officers undertook comprehensive due diligence to understand the risks – something the EPA insists upon. The EPA has not expressed any concern with the timing or the way that Council notified it of contamination at Clements Reserve. Council remains committed to its obligations under the EP Act and we’re working very closely with the EPA in relation to the soil conditions at Clements Reserve. It has not been critical of Council in any way in this regard.

Only works regarding asbestos, not lead, were immediately carried out at the site.  It is not correct to imply that the EPA was advised in 2020.

As mentioned above, part of the initial works were also intended to mitigate the lead risk. Council has not implied that the EPA was notified in 2020.

Again, the Prensa report was completed in September of the previous year.  Why were Councillors not informed at that time about the lead contamination?  Didn't they have a right to know?

The result of waiting a year was that the tan bark remediation was not put in place until late 2021. This is not correct. The Prensa report was withheld from elected Councillors for a whole year as noted above.  My question requests a reason why.

The report was not withheld from councillors. It’s the duty of officers to manage and control a variety of risks in the community continuously. A lot of work was being undertaken to fully understand the risks at this site and to negotiate the management of these risks with the predominant land owner, VicRoads. It is quite common for operational matters to be dealt with by the administration, and on occasion, some risks are reported to Council. In this case given the land ownership negotiations that were underway with VicRoads, it was thought important to inform Council given the consequences the soil condition had on public health messaging and the potential land purchase.

Many thanks,

[Redacted] [Redacted] | CEO's Office

28 February 2022

1) The Prensa report on soil contamination in Clements Reserve was received by Darebin Council in September 2020. The EPA's Contaminated Land Policy (Publication 1915) was published on 22 February 2021, and came into effect on 1 July 2021. Darebin Council had apparently still not met its duty to report the contamination at Clements Reserve to the EPA at the time it received the Aurecon report on 21 October 2021. Land managers are required to make such reports when they "become aware" of notifiable contamination. Why was there such a lengthy delay in reporting the notifiable contamination at Clements Reserve to the EPA and on what date was the report finally made?

2) On what date were Councillors (during the term of the current and/or previous Darebin Council) first informed about the contamination of land within Clements Reserve and provided with a copy of the Prensa Report? If the report was withheld until late in 2021 can you explain why?


1) Council had mitigated the identified risk by the completion of various works within days of becoming aware of a contamination issue at Clements Reserve. The notification process requires the completion of various studies in order to fully understand the contamination and any associated risks. These studies take some time to complete. EPA had been informally notified of the contamination some months prior to the formal notification process and it was satisfied with Council’s approach. The EPA was formally notified on 3 December 2021.

2) Councillors were informed of the presence of asbestos in Clements Reserve on 18 June 2020. As previously mentioned, immediate works were undertaken at the site, further investigations were carried out, EPA was verbally advised and complex discussions were had with the predominant owner of the land Vic Roads. A report was provided to Council at its meeting of 27 September 2021 and this report included the detailed site investigation report undertaken by Prensa. The report was not withheld – the above process led to Council being given a comprehensive picture of the condition of the site and an understanding of its obligations which it has met.

30 January 2022

On 4 September 2019, Terry Mason represented the Ruthven Community Reference Group (CRG) in a meeting with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee (DAAC) to discuss recommendations for naming the park at the site of the former Ruthven Primary School. On 29 October 2019 members of the CRG met with Darebin's Aboriginal Contact Officer, and representatives from the Wurundjeri Land Council for a site tour and to further discuss the naming in the Woiwurrung language.

On 25 May 2021, I asked at a meeting of Darebin Council that naming of the site be treated with some urgency to overcome confusion with W.R. Ruthven V.C. Reserve, both in terms of emergency services which may be called to the site, and in relation to securing government grants for the improvement of the park. I was told in response that the naming was in progress. Since that time, a bridge and a sports stadium have been named but not the former Ruthven Primary School site.

On 28 January 2022, a Council Officer emailed me as follows, "Renaming of Ruthven Park – preliminary works have commenced with internal staff to start this process in the new financial year, subject to adoption of the budget."

Because the site does not have an existing name there are far less hoops to jump through in terms of the Geographic Place Names Committee; if the name is unique it should be quickly accepted. Therefore, this further indefinite delay is unacceptable.

Can you explain if/why the process for naming the former Ruthven Primary School site is apparently being started from scratch and why the Council Officer believes that there are budget implications attached to the naming, what expense is likely to be involved and if there is an expense why it is not already budgeted? What steps will Darebin Council take to hasten the naming process so that it can take effect in this financial year?

Question 1

Can you explain if/why the process for naming the former Ruthven Primary School site is apparently being started from scratch and why the Council Officer believes there are budget implications attached to the naming?

Response The Parks and Open Space unit is following the renaming process as determined by the Wurundjeri Woi- Wurrung Heritage Corporation. The process to rename the former Ruthven Primary School in the Woi Wurrung language recognises the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung as the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters in this area.

This process has commenced, and Officers are optimistic that the complete naming process will be finalised by late 2022, however this may be earlier.

Following the statutory process for renaming sites, the shortlisted names will go through a community consultation process. Following determination of the selected name by Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, we will make application to Geographic Names Victoria (GNV). GNV is currently in the process of releasing it’s the Naming Rules for Places which is expected in February 2022.

Question 2:

What expense is likely to be involved and if there is an expense why it is not already budgeted?


The cost associated with the application to Wurundjeri Woi- Wurrung Heritage Corporation for names and the ongoing licence is approximately $3,000. There are no budget implications that will affect this process.

Question 3:

What steps will Darebin Council take to hasten the naming process so that it can take effect in this financial year?


Darebin City Council is following the statutory process applicable to this matter and is unable to influence the timeline, however as stated above we are keen to complete the process promptly.

12 December 2021

I've just tried to make a submission to Darebin's survey on the Northcote Golf Course and I'm staggered by how inadequate it is. The survey is skewed towards 'shared use' and there is nowhere separate that I can see to make a written submission. The most important element of the course - namely its environmental significance - is completely absent from the survey.

The debate about future use of the course has turned into a Greens vs Labor fight which is dividing the community as people back their 'team'. I fear that this is not creating an atmosphere that's conducive to good decision making.

The only reason this issue has come up at all is because people, who would typically not leave their houses to visit a local park, were suddenly confined to a 5km radius because of pandemic restrictions. With the restrictions lifted is the demand for access truly still there?

I also find it extraordinary that some highly entitled people, who are living in an area where the median house price is $1.75 million, would try to run their campaign to open up as some kind of class issue. It's a public golf course not a country club. It serves an important recreational and social function for older members of the community and that should be respected. The fact is that we owe a debt of gratitude to the golfers for ensuring that the whole area wasn't cut up and sold off as building blocks years ago.

In my view any move towards shared access must be done cautiously, with the environmental significance of the land considered first and foremost. The course doesn't need thousands of people trampling it, it doesn't need dogs off lead chasing the swamp wallabies, the fences must stay in place to reduce the impact of feral animals. As a recent article in The Conversation notes," Urban golf courses are biodiversity oases. Opening them up puts that at risk".

As desirable as it would be to re-wild the area, Darebin Council simply doesn't have the will or the resources to do it. I've seen firsthand how they are struggling to manage comparatively small areas of parkland in the north of the municipality because they don't have enough staff in their bush team to deal with issues such as weed invasion. Therefore, re-wilding work should be prioritised along the creek line of the golf course as this would be the best use of resources.

There's also a philosophical point to consider here: why does land have to be 'used' at all? Why can't it just 'be'? Why does it have to in some way pay for itself through patronage? The golf course as it is, right now, serves an immensely important function as the 'lungs' of the city, drinking in carbon dioxide and making oxygen via the trees. If it did nothing else, that would be enough.

25 October 2021

  1. Given that members of the public cannot currently ask their own questions from the gallery due to COVID-19 restrictions, would it be possible for an officer or Councillor to read our questions so that the Mayor can focus purely on the response? This will make it easier for people to follow public question time online.

  2. Indigenous vaccination rates for COVID-19 are lagging, on average, 10% behind the rest of Victoria, and in some areas as much as 20%. Can you please provide information about the number of Indigenous people 15+ years living in Darebin who: - are eligible for vaccination; - have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; - have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

  3. At the 27 September 2021 Darebin Council meeting I asked a question relating to allegations that the Darebin Nature Trust was inappropriately spilled by officers. My question was not answered, even after I followed up with a complaint in writing to a governance officer. I again ask this question, "Can you tell me how many community nominations for the reconstituted committee have been received by the 10 September deadline, and how many of these are from members of the outgoing committee?" If you won't answer the question again can you please provide a justification with reference to governance rules?


  1. Yes it is would be possible for this to occur and there is no doubt that the volume of questions from the public does at times see me speaking continuously. However the convention at this stage is that the mayor read and respond to public questions. I have at different times in the past asked the CEO to read and answer questions to assist with the flow of the meeting and I will continue to do this when I feel it is needed. Thanks for your support and feedback.

  2. This data is not publicly available and we will take your question on notice. Today, through our partnership with the North East Primary Health Network, Council has requested that this information be provided on a regular basis. Council continues to work with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service including partnering with the new mobile van initiative, local Aboriginal led organisations and our partners to promote and support COVID vaccination uptake in local First Nations communities. Last week there were pop-up vaccination clinics in Kingsbury, Reservoir and three secondary schools in the north of Darebin. On Saturday evening, a vaccination clinic was held at Dardi Munwurro, an Aboriginal men’s gathering space in Preston. This week there are pop-up clinics at The Hub at Northland, William Ruthven Secondary College and Dole Avenue Community Sport Stadium.

  3. Apologies that our response to your question in September did not provided the clarity you required. Our response in September noted that we had received keen interest from community members to join the Darebin Nature Trust. This was indeed accurate however we should have made it clear to you that in the interests of all those persons who had made application (including those existing Committee members who may have decided not to apply) it would be inappropriate during the recruitment process to make comment on the composition of the applications. Such an approach in our view could undermine the process, in particular in the context of the incorrect statement in your question regarding the ‘inappropriate spill by Officers ‘and allegations regarding the Committee members being offended ‘ etc . I hope this response explains why we did not directly respond to this question on the 27 September and why we have not entertained it again this evening. Council will be considering tonight a report that recommends appointees to 11 of Council 15 Advisory Committees including the Darebin Nature Trust. Whilst we have adopted this approach to protect the integrity of the recruitment process in the interest of transparency we would be pleased to report to Council via the November Governance Report the total number of applications for each Advisory Committee, the number of past / current members who applied and the composition of new and past members appointed. Council’s Governance Rules do not provide specific detail on this matter.

27 September 2021

1. There is immense pressure to open up the community once baseline vaccination rates are met in Victoria. Can Darebin Council tell me the current vaccination status (1st and 2nd dose) of its approximately 1200 Aboriginal residents, and how this compares with the rest of Darebin? If rates are lower than the general population and/or other priority vaccination groups will Council urgently lobby the State Government about this situation?

2. I'm extremely concerned to hear that Darebin Nature Trust was apparently spilled without cause and that outgoing committee members are deeply offended by how this was managed. Such people, with valuable knowledge of indigenous plants and wildlife, are not easy to find. Can you tell me how many community nominations for the reconstituted committee have been received by the 10 September deadline, and how many of these are from members of the outgoing committee?

3. Can you please provide a progress report on the purchase of three parcels of Department of Transport land within Clements Reserve?

Response from Chairperson, Mayor Messina

Question 1 - Data from the Federal Government 22 September 2021, shows that the vaccination rate of people, who self-identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in Darebin is 63.20% for first dose and 42.16% for second dose. This compares to the Darebin rate of 64.4% first dose and 38.7% second dose.

Council will continue to work with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service and local Aboriginal led organisations to support this vaccination uptake.

Question 2 - There’s been a lot of interest from community members to join the Darebin Nature Trust and officers are assessing these expressions of interest in order to make recommendations to Council. At this stage, Council will consider the Darebin Nature Trust along with membership of most other advisory committees at its meeting in October 2021.

Question 3 - Officers are continuing to work through stages of the acquisition relating to due diligence and there is a confidential report listed on tonight’s agenda that relates to this process titled ‘Clements Reserve’. The timeline for the acquisition is by nature a lengthy process, given the steps required. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any further information relating to the details of the acquisition given the confidential nature of the matter.

Once there is news to share, it will be shared with community as soon as possible. Officers appreciate your ongoing interest in the purchase of Clements Reserve.

26 July 2021

  1. Since Darebin Council has shifted all Appendices into a single document with its meeting Agenda, not only is the document enormous and unwieldy but many of the reports that are incorporated are no longer keyword searchable. Taken together this is a serious accessibility issue for the public which I am asking, again, for Council to correct. At the very least, will Council ensure that all reports can be keyword searched? I note that there has been no follow up that I am aware of from my related question on 26 April 2021, where an undertaking was given as follows, "I will speak with the team to see if we can streamline that process to make it easier for the community to access."

  2. Darebin Council's response (12 July 2021) to my budget submission (19 May 2021) claims that it would cost $1million to remediate the former Dole Avenue kindergarten for a public tenant. This is many times more than the existing building could possibly be worth. Has an error been made in the response to me, and if not, can an explanation be given for the projected cost?

  3. Has Darebin Council made a formal monetary offer for each of the three parcels of VicRoads land within Clements Reserve (1-11 McMahon Road and the rear of 22 & 32- 34 Clements Grove) to the State Government, and if it has, when was the offer made on each parcel of land, and if it hasn't what is holding up the purchase?

Response from Chairperson, Mayor Messina

  1. Apologies for not following up with you after the April Meeting. Officers are working on a system upgrade that will rectify this issue which is scheduled to be completed by the 3rd quarter.

  2. The figure of $1M provided on 12 July 2021 is an estimated cost of the funds required to enable the building to be repurposed for community use. The works required would include hazardous material removal, general building renovation and upgrades required for building code compliance. Further investigations into the building and options for the former Dole Avenue Kindergarten site will be completed in the current year as part of Council’s Strategic Property Review.

  3. Officers are continuing to work through stages of the acquisition relating to due diligence, prior to requesting a Valuer General’s valuation. As previously communicated, the timeline for the acquisition is by nature a lengthy process, given the steps required. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any further information relating to the details of the acquisition given the confidential nature of the matter. Once there is news to share, it will be shared with community as soon as possible. Officers appreciate your on-going interest in the purchase of Clements Reserve.

15 June 2021

The latest on the at-risk #ClementsReserve parkland in Reservoir. The Town Planning advice has been received though there is no information about why it was suddenly required. I'm guessing it was to try to negotiate down the price of the land fronting McMahon Road.

For reasons that no one will clarify #Darebin is refusing to tell me if the Valuer General valuation has been received for the land. I'm not asking for what's in it, merely the fact of its existence. Without it negotiations cannot proceed. With it negotiations should be completed within a month (or another valuation may be required).

From: [snip]

Sent: Wednesday, 16 June 2021 11:14 AM

To: [snip]

Subject: Re: Response to Council Question 24 May - Clements Reserve

Dear [snip],

Thanks for getting back to me with a response on the town planning advice.

There was a second part to the question regarding whether a Valuer General valuation for the Clements Reserve site had been sought.

While the contents of that valuation may be deemed confidential; the fact of its existence or otherwise should not be.

Knowing whether the valuation has been received would allow me to get a better picture of when the negotiations are likely to be finalised.

Can you let me know if that valuation has been sought and/or received?



From: [snip]

To: [snip]

Sent: Wed, 23 Jun 2021 23:32:09 +0000

Subject: RE: Response to Council Question 24 May - Clements Reserve