Greater Shepparton City Council last month endorsed Victoria’s Planning Minister becoming the planning authority to expedite processes facilitating the new Shepparton Art Museum development at Victoria Park Lake.
At the April council meeting, the council signed off on facilitating ‘‘the timely approval of a planning scheme amendment’’ for the new SAM by requesting the minister become the planning authority.
Background to the council meeting outlined that the minister could exempt himself from the notice requirements of the Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme and ‘‘ensure council meets its timeframes for deliverables in order to satisfy key funding requirements from the state and federal governments.’’
‘‘It is considered that the Minister for Planning will favourably view a request to expedite a planning scheme amendment and exempt himself from the notice requirements of the Planning Act,’’ the report continued.
The report outlined that government funding commitments came with ‘‘key milestones for delivery, which must be met in order to satisfy the conditions of the arrangement’’.
The council’s sustainable development director Johann Rajaratnam said the move would primarily serve to expedite decision-making around the project.
He said time was of the essence to ensure the state and federal government funding attached to the project came with qualifications and time constraints were honoured.
‘‘To meet some of those, we need to move the project as quick as we can through whatever mechanisms,’’ he said. ‘‘This is one way to expedite the project.’’
Mr Rajaratnam said the planning process had the potential to add timelines, the project had already ‘‘gone through significant consultation’’ and that views on the project were well understood by the council.
He said the new SAM was a complex project and the council needed to ensure it was thorough but also hit timelines.
Mayor Dinny Adem said for projects of the scale of the new SAM with different authorities involved, it was ‘‘not unusual to hand it over to the minister’’ to expedite the planning approval process.
The next two project milestones sketched out by the council include having a completed detailed design by the end of September ahead of construction starting by the end of March next year.