We are some of the people, in the words of Cr Scott Rosetti, who live in “those houses” who will benefit most as we live next to a council playground.
The way the motion was raised, debated and ultimately voted on is also of concern considering that the mover (Cr McCubbin) and the seconder (Cr Ripper) were both absent from the council meeting.
Whilst this action may be in accordance with council rules, we do not think it is in the spirit of inclusive local government.
Cr Hole has raised concerns about the cost of the proposed change to the fencing policy and commented that other approved projects may have to be put aside.
We understand that council officers have estimated that the annual cost to council of the proposed policy change was no more than $10,000 per annum.
In an annual operating budget of, we understand to be more than $70 million per annum, it is hard to agree with his concerns.
There is some confusion under the law in Victoria whether councils are obliged to contribute to shared fencing costs.
However, a number of Victorian councils do contribute to fencing costs for shared boundaries.
Our neighbour council, Latrobe City, is one of the councils who do contribute.
In fact, up until 2005 it was also Wellington Shire policy to contribute (Source: Wellington Shire Council meeting minutes of February 1, 2005).
It is our view that Wellington Shire should amend the current fencing policy so that it again contributes to fencing costs as it is only fair that council should be required to contribute to costs similar to what the ordinary ratepayer is required to do.
We would like to thank those councillors who either spoke in support of or voted in support of the motion (Councillors Cleary, McCubbin, Cook and Ripper) and we would particularly like to thank Cr Darren McCubbin for all his efforts in trying to get the current fencing policy amended to be more equitable and reasonable.
It would appear that the only option available now, is to wait until a new council is in place and trust that they amend the policy.