This month I’ll cut straight to the chase on two items that have caused significant community interest and discussion.
Nanga Gnulle site is well known as a former wedding and function centre venue, and was given the name Nanga Gnulle by the owners at the time.
The site has since been sold and a planning permit application for subdividing this site was lodged. During the advertising process for this application there were a number of objections to the demolition of the buildings and gardens on the site.
As a Councillor, as considered all the information in front of me I couldn’t help thinking that when one sells a significant property, you would expect to get the best possible dollar for the sale, and that if there was something sentimental or something worth preserving from a heritage perspective, that you would put those restrictions on future developments before the sale? Disappointingly in the case of Nanga Gnulle, it hasn’t been the case.
If there was something sentimental or something worth preserving from a heritage perspective, would you put those restrictions on future developments before the sale?
In response to the number of objections, Council commissioned an independent report to assess the heritage significance of the site, as this was the primary objection to the subdivision application. The citation prepared by Built Heritage Pty Ltd (March 2017) found that the main residence was of heritage significance for its association with Alistair Knox. Knox was an important and influential figure in the development of post-war residential style architecture in Victoria, who promoted a self-build, mud brick architectural style. This has resulted in heritage issues on the site being identified.
The City undertook a further review of the gardens to determine if they are of heritage significance in their own right, or contain notable flora. An additional citation by Context Pty Ltd (July 2017) was prepared to specifically consider the gardens. Context found the gardens did not meet the HERCON significance criteria, or contain notable flora for protection. The citation identifies that gardens from the 1970’s and 1980’s are generally not considered to meet the heritage criteria unless they have a rare example that may be of botanical interest, technical or scientific or design quality from this era.
The Built Heritage Pty Ltd (March 2017) citation found that the surrounding gardens and other buildings constructed later were not considered to be of heritage significance as they are not related to work by Knox himself, or of special architectural significance, as is the main residence.
Therefore I supported the recommendation that Council request the Minister for Planning to authorise Council to prepare Amendment C234 to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme The Amendment proposes to apply a Heritage Overlay to the Mud brick and reclaimed materials house at 40 Harley St, Strathdale known as “Nanga Gnulle”.
The owners of the site have been notified of this proposal and have amended their subdivision application accordingly to allow the main dwelling to be retained.
Naming of the new Aquatic Facility at Kangaroo Flat
I wholeheartedly supported the provisional naming of the new aquatic and wellbeing centre being constructed in Kangaroo Flat the “Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre”.
I acknowledge the significant community discussion it has since raised and would like to put my reasons for my support to the name forward (of which I spoke to at the 16th August Ordinary meeting of Council). Let me be perfectly clear that my view is in no way a reflection on Faith Leech as an athlete or her achievements. I am however concerned about naming facilities after individuals. You don’t have to look far in Victoria to see naming “gone wrong”. We also must recognise that not everyone will have a connection to Faith Leech’s achievements across our region.
A place for old and new, locals and visitors, for our region, not just Kangaroo Flat.
I supported the provisional name of Gurri Wanyarra as it signifies a sense of place. Gurri Wanyarra refers to ‘Kangaroo Water Hole’, I visualise the soothing connotations that a water hole typifies: an oasis, nature, relief, a place to meet, to rest, recharge and recreate. A place of wellness. A wellbeing and aquatic facility for a region, one we can all be proud of, experience and connect with. A place for old and new, locals and visitors, for our region, not just Kangaroo Flat.
I was disappointed to read statements on social media and in the local newspapers suggesting that the provisional name was pandering to political correctness. Such statements demonstrate exactly why progress with reconciliation action is less than ideal. We still have a long way to go, and as a Council we need to be prepared to lead in a manner that promotes harmony, reconciliation and understanding. I thank the Dja Dja Wurrung on their submission of the name “Gurri Wanyarra”, by sharing their language, it sets a wonderful standard for our future generations.
The provisional name is still subject to a further 30-day period of public consultation. Residents can email their objection to the name at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to City of Greater Bendigo, Name our Pool, P.O. Box 733 Bendigo 3552 before September 18, 2017. However Council will not consider objections that do not explain why the objector opposes the name.
Drafts released for community feedback
The August Council meeting also endorsed the following draft plans and strategies to be released for community comment:
Trial Commercial Fitness Operator Policy
This month the Commercial Fitness Operator policy was updated and adopted after a trial concluded in early 2017. The policy will formally manage operators conducting commercial fitness activities in the City’s parks, gardens and sporting reserves. It aims to manage these activities in a manner that balances industry needs, provides protection of built and natural asset and maintains community access and amenity.
As a Council we support commercial activity in public spaces in particular with commercial fitness operators that provide a range of alternative physical recreation activities for residents that would otherwise not be available.
The adoption of the policy will also be integrated within the review of Local Law No. 5 Municipal Places that is scheduled for review in late 2017. Local Law No. 5 regulates activities in public spaces to ensure that those activities or use of these areas do not cause public nuisance or public disturbance. Inclusion within this Local Law will provide Council with the ability to enforce the policy and if continued breaches occur to fine or withdraw permission from the operator.
It was great to be able to attend the St Martin Heathcote Wine Show awards hosted by the Heathcote Winegrowers Association this month, and I congratulate Burke and Wills Winery from Mia Mia who won four trophies! The 2015 Vat 1 Shiraz winning - Best Young Shiraz, Best Single Vineyard Wine, Best Heathcote Produced Wine and, ultimately, The Tonnellerie Saint Martin Trophy for Best Shiraz.
I thoroughly enjoyed our August Eppalock Ward Councillors Listening Post at Strathfieldsaye IGA and thank everyone that popped by to see us and discuss items important to them and their communities.
Celebration at Jenny’s ELC Strathfieldsaye have proudly achieved and been recognised in the Victorian Cancer Council “Achievement Program’ and Eppalock Councillors participated by placing the physical activity achievement sticker on their display board.
A new initiative in Heathcote was held last weekend the ‘New to Heathcote’ Community Meet Up, which is an idea of local resident, Vanessa Wiltshire, it encourages new (and existing) residents to meet up over a coffee to get to know one another. I was pleased to be able to pop in and say hello. Keep an eye on Facebook for the next event.
What else is happening?
Eppalock Ward Councillors Listening Posts ‘Meet your Councillors, Have Your Say’ Redesdale, Rural Café, Saturday 2 September 2017, 1 – 2.30pm.
The next Council meeting is on Wednesday September 20, 2017 at 6pm at the Bendigo Town Hall, perhaps I might see you there? Or you can tune in via the live broadcast on Phoenix FM 106.7.
Yvonne Wrigglesworth is a Councillor in the Eppalock Ward, City of Greater Bendigo Council.