Commitment To Transparent Government In Action
Careful checks were required for Council to consider Amendment No. 8 of the Local Planning Scheme No 24 at the October Ordinary Council Meeting.
Amendment No. 8 is an omnibus amendment, covering a diverse range of matters across the Shire such as changing parking ratios and adding uses to improve commercial property functionality, some zoning changes, and road dedications and closures.
Because the Amendment covers so many matters, the area affected includes a large part of Esperance, triggering Proximity Interests for most Councillors. Interests may be related to Proximity, Financial or Impartiality, and Councillors are required to disclose any Interest that may adversely affect their objectivity in any matter discussed at a Council or committee meeting.
To achieve quorum and vote on matters bought before it, Council must have 5 Councillors present. In this instance so many Councillors were made ineligible to vote because of Proximity Interests that quorum could not be achieved.
In order to consider this matter, an application for dispensation was made to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. The Department considered all details of the Interests, and granted approval to enough Councillors to achieve quorum, subject to stringent conditions.
Once all this hard work had come to fruition, Council were able to consider Amendment No.8 of the Local Planning Scheme No 24 – everyone working together for a win!
The Amendment was advertised for feedback from the community for 49 days between July and September this year. All opinions submitted through feedback were carefully considered, and several modifications proposed as a result.
Council supported the Amendment with the proposed modifications, now it goes to the Department of Planning, Land and Heritage for a determination.
At the end of this process the community will have a more flexible, effective Local Planning Scheme to work with in matters of land use and development; just another way the Shire is working for our region.