Opinion

Victoria Park pathway to betterment

By Shepparton News

Thumbs up to Greater Shepparton City Council’s ‘‘hot-mix’’ contractors for their mighty well-constructed Victoria Park ‘‘round-the-lake’’ pathway deviation job — construction completed, just waiting for the lighting to be done.

Now there’s a choice for cyclists, wheelchair users, run-lappers (including Park Fun runners), triathlon competitors, dog-walkers and public exercisers – change to the new curved track with its smooth ‘‘soft’’ even surface, round the back of the three large sheds or stick with the scenic route as usual (detouring now and again to avoid big water events).

High road or the low road? Take the high trail and enjoy the scenic water interface to the east or take the low road making sure you avoid the eastern industrial colourbond ‘‘view’’.

All good — the choice is there.

Strikes me though that the main attraction of our iconic lake is the water bordering with the mainly river red gums — something that should never be compromised.

In case there is an inherent intention to reduce any stretch of our lake’s public water-frontage, and I can’t find any such proposal in the master plan or the council minutes, we should know about it.

Is the area in front of the boat sheds likely to be out-of-bounds for those who prefer to have full waterside walking — or is there some nefarious proposal ‘‘down the track’’ (sorry) for unnecessary restricted punter access planned for the future? Just asking — posing the possibility.

●Ever wondered how a particular councillor voted on a particular issue — or perhaps how each and every councillor voted on a particular issue?

Of course, that’s easy, the council meeting minutes — they’re recorded on the council’s website.

Well yes, in most cases at council meetings officers’ recommendations are, almost mechanically, moved verbatim, as motions with scant minimum of alteration, put to the vote sharply becoming endorsed resolutions — no need to record individual votes.

According to the meeting by-law if a councillor in attendance chooses not to vote he or she is considered to have voted against the motion.

Now if the vote is unanimously in support of the motion the voting result is recorded (introduced nearly 12 months ago) just as the motion is ‘‘carried unopposed’’ but if say two councillors, out of the nine, voted against the motion, and no division was called for, the minutes’ recording would be just ‘‘carried’’ — no official documentation of who, or how many, voted one way or another.

Many Victorian councils’ meeting minutes record the individuals’ names for all votes taken — won or lost. Time we did the same here, don’t you think — proof to blame or evidence to thank?

●On Tuesday night Greater Shepparton councillors, six voted in favour (apologies from Crs Summer, Oroszvary and Giovanetti), to adopt a revised Waste and Recourse Recovery Management Strategy for the next four years, after considering 105 submissions from the public received up until February (0.477 per cent of the total residential ratepayers receiving council waste services).

Key initiatives submitted were hard rubbish collection (50), free tip vouchers (29) and different frequencies for rubbish, green and recycling collections (83). No surprises there particularly the first two — be nice but logistically and financially not on.

Little ‘‘debate’’ ensued but mention was made of the horrendous costs of the first two suggestions — EPA levies, landfill capacity and the willingness of users to meet the fiscal implications.

Result? No change.

Shepparton’s John Gray has vast experience in local government, urban water reform and natural resource management.