In a council meeting with an unusually sparse agenda, two issues dominated. The first was a motion, put forward by Councillor Belinda Coates to note and support a recent petition by 13 schoolchildren who wished to highlight their participation in the Global Climate strike on September 20.
Councillor Amy Johnson immediately countered, criticising the lack of notice. "I don't like having things sprung on me," she said, adding that she would be happy to consider a position of support once the CEO had considered the letter and petition. She suggested an amended motion that merely noted the petition rather than supported it, which was seconded by Councillor Mark Harris.
I am a big supporter of the global climate strike... but this is not the way to do business.Cr Mark Harris
While wishing good luck to the petitioners, Cr Harris said it was not within council's remit to articulate support for the students. "Good luck to the kids," he said. "I am a big supporter of the global climate strike... but this is not the way to do business. It's untidy."
After other councillors also spoke in support of the amended motion, Cr Coates conceded and Cr Johnson's motion was passed. Cr Coates, however, pointed towards the many organisations - including the City of Ballarat - that have already declared a climate emergency and accused opponents of her original motion of "debating about semantics".
Dowling Road was the other major issue of discussion. Local residents are campaigning for the road, which runs south to north from Remembrance Drive to Miners Rest, to be sealed. A council officer recommendation said that the road missed the 250-vehicle per day levels required to justify the sealing.
The former mayor and councillor John Philips attended in person to articulate his support for the sealing of the road. He said that traffic counts had missed seven properties, which may have affected the result.
He also encouraged council not to base all its decisions on a traffic survey, saying the road's potential importance should qualify it for a level of discretion.
Councillor Daniel Moloney suggested a tweaked recommendation which recognised the strategic importance of the road, and committed council to putting 50 per cent of the funding forward for resealing work if state or federal governments provided the other half.
He said Dowling Road was "painfully close to being a connector road" and that it was a chance to take action to help a growth area in good time. His motion was carried, with just Cr Harris speaking against it.
Councillors also discussed 10 tenders to provide smart parking technology - including 146 new parking meters - in the city centre. These were considered in camera - behind closed doors - as they were contractual discussions. The details of the decision should be available next week once the companies with unsuccessful tenders have been notified.
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