Gisborne plans cause confusion

By Steph McNicol

A DRAFT plan for the future of Gisborne is expected to be open for community consultation at the end of July, after the item caused confusion during Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s June meeting.

Councillors initially debated whether the draft documents, which included the Draft Gisborne Structure Plan, Draft Gisborne Urban Design Framework and Draft Gisborne Neighbourhood Character Study, should be endorsed and open for community consultation.

Cr Jennifer Anderson said the consultation should be delayed and more information provided through workshops for councillors so they were fully informed about the draft plans.

Cr Mandi Mees opposed the alternate motion and said she felt strongly the community should have its say on the drafts.

“I understand there are a number of areas of contention and a number of ideas missing from the documents, but I feel very strongly that all proposals need to be on the table for the community to have their say,” Cr Mees said.

Cr Andrew Twaits, in support of Cr Mees, said he valued the consultation that had already taken place.

“Let’s get on with it. I appreciate the sentiment around having another workshop…out of respect to the officers, that’s not going to change their view about what they’ve put forward,” Cr Twaits said.

“Let’s hear what the community has to say with what’s in front of us and deal with it from there.”

Councillors voted against Cr Anderson’s motion five to four, and the motion was lost.

Cr Mees suggested council amend the motion to include land located at 284 Kilmore Road, Gisborne, known as Glen Junor, be included in the proposed settlement boundary and identified to be included in the urban growth zone in the Draft Gisborne Structure Plan.

She said including the land would mean council had substantial open space that was ‘shovel ready’ for active transport assets and a possible school site.

“If we do not lock in this public open space and this open space today we’ll have limited or no opportunity to pull it back,” Cr Mees said.

The amendment to the motion meant more research by officers would have to be done regarding the cost and time allowed for the inclusion of the land in the plans.

The implications of the amendment, including concerns and confusion about the cost for council and a timeframe for the release of the draft to the community for consultation, meant councillors had to adjourn the item until the end of the meeting.

Cr Anderson expressed her concern and confusion and said ‘councillors should be prepared for meetings’.

Cr Mees said it was ‘unfair’ and ‘unhelpful’ to say councillors were unprepared because council had received new information and were trying to come to a resolution.

By the end of the meeting, council agreed to endorse the Draft Gisborne Structure Plan, Draft Gisborne Urban Design Framework and Draft Gisborne Neighbourhood Character Study, while also agreeing more time had to be allowed for a revised plan to be compiled for community consultation.

It is expected the draft documents, with the amendments in place, will be available to councillors at their July meeting.