Hume power battle

Hume council (Damjan Janevski). 336543_02

Zoe Moffatt

Hume councillors debated the importance of who gets to raise issues at council meetings, following a push and pull to lead the advocacy for a Jacksons Hill Master plan update.

Councillor Jarrod Bell raised a notice of motion that council write to both Josh Bull and and the Planning Minister Sonya Kilkenny, seeking an update on the progress on the implementation of the Jacksons Hill Master plan.

This follows councillor Trevor Dance’s notice of motion on February 12, that “council write to Josh Bull asking why Jacksons Hill has seen no improvement or works done to open this majestic site that is rotting away since the master plan was approved”.

In “the spirit of cooperation and collaboration,” Cr Bell offered Cr Dance the opportunity to move the officer recommendation in the meeting’s agenda.

Cr Dance accepted the offer and said public pressure has been applied “which was good to see”.

“Everyone knew I obviously raised a similar notice of motion… and for the first time ever this term no councillors in the chamber even bothered to second it,” he said.

“Obviously there’s been a lot of public pressure out there in the last weeks… but Cr Bell has gone a bit of a way to amend that tonight… so I thank him for that.”

Cr Bell said he understood why there may have been some confusion across the chamber and community as to why he submitted this notice of motion that was so similar to Cr Dance’s previous notice.

“I disagreed with some of the underlying functions and the claims and I was planning on seeking a number of amendments in line with the content of my notice of motion being put forward to us tonight,” he said.

“I do not think it correct or proper to second a motion that I fully agreed to amending.”

Councillor Joseph Haweil said it was very nice to see Cr Bell and Cr Dance working together and said he thought something should always be given the opportunity for discussion.

“Very many cases in the past term I have seconded motions that I’ve subsequently voted against,” he said.

Discussing the motion, Cr Dance said he wants to know what the government is going to do in the future regarding Jacksons Hill, not what they’ve done in the past.

“When are you going to get off your butts government and get out there and do something there?” he said.

“The longer this goes on the worse the state of that building is going to get, and it’s very crucial to the history of Sunbury and Hume.”

Cr Bell said he also feels frustration with the pace of development of the site.

“We would love to see more happening and more achieved in the execution of this important plan to preserve Jacksons Hill,“ he said

“I would like to invite representatives of the department to join us at a council briefing to share… their plans so we can hear directly and they can hear directly from us our concerns and our issues.

“We need to use every single tool that’s available to us and that includes getting the bureaucratics to sit across the table from us so they can hear from us directly.”

Mr Bull declined to comment.