Shared pathway route approved

Latrobe City Council has endorsed a route for a shared pathway between Morwell and Traralgon following public consultation, years after the idea was first mooted.

The proposed route, released to the community in August, did not gain majority support from the public, with an alternative route being adopted.

The adopted route will join Kay Street in Traralgon with Morwell’s Waterhole Creek, running alongside Old Melbourne Road.

The adopted plan differs from the proposed plan in that it does not divert through Easterly Drive, and Beau Vista and Regan roads to avoid vegetation.

This change follows negative feedback to the diversion, with some people arguing the route was not direct and would bother those in the neighbouring residential area.

The project will progress further after the results of a biodiversity study and other information relating to design and cost of the pathway come back to council next year.

Letter to PM

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be among politicians to receive a letter from Latrobe City Council regarding Federation University’ Australia’s amalgamation of the Monash University Gippsland campus.

Councillor Christine Sindt moved that council advise Mr Abbott, Federal Education Minister Chris Pyne, State Premier Denis Napthine and local parliament members that a community member has written a letter to the Governor General Quentin Bryce.

Alison Ryan’s letter details FedUni’s alignment with sustainable education and Ms Ryan’s opposition to the merger.

Despite several councillors and a community member speaking against the motion, it passed with chair Cr Dale Harriman casting the deciding vote.

Future uses for court house

Businesses have been invited to express their interest in occupying part of Traralgon’s heritage-listed court house and surrounds.

Latrobe City Council decided to start the process which could lead to community groups using the bulk of the court house building, while a commercial entity uses the non-heritage portion.

The spilt use is in line with a conservation management plan and will ensure there is enough funding for community use.

“This way we can have the best of both worlds. The commercial side will provide funds to maintain the building,” Councillor Sandy Kam said.

The expression of interest phase will take place from today to 28 February.

Bar opening hours extended

A Traralgon late-night venue will extend its hours to shut at 2am on Friday and Saturday nights after Latrobe City Council granted approval.

Star Bar’s owner said the extension in trading hours would help them to increase turnover and stay afloat, while allowing their patrons to stay in the one location.

Councillor Dale Harriman said the benefits of staggered closing times allowed the transport systems to cope better and the existing 2am lock-out meant patrons leaving the venue at closing time would not be able to enter other venues.

Cr Harriman said this helped to prevent violence caused when many alcohol-affected people spill on to the streets at once.

Two of the three objectors to the proposal withdrew their protests after mediation, but a community member at Monday night’s council meeting said the trend was now to restrict liquor-supplying venues’ opening hours.

However Cr Sandy Kam pointed out that Victoria Police and Victorian commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation were notified of the proposal and neither submitted objections.

A Traralgon function centre was also granted an extension in trading hours from 11pm to 1am seven days a week, along with an increase to the number of patrons allowed, from 100 to 322.

Shelters retained

Four shelters on Hammersmith Court, Traralgon will be retained after Latrobe City council found no reason to remove them.

The issue was brought before council in September, when annoyed Strand Estate residents complained of the shelters blocking visibility when backing out of driveways and attracting unwanted attention from pedestrians.

However at Monday night’s council meeting two residents spoke about the merits of the shelters, which provided a place to rest out of the elements for pedestrians.

Council voted unanimously to retain them in line with council officers’ recommendation.

Highway concerns

Latrobe City Council has moved to declare a Traralgon road a public highway.

There has been a dispute over whether Deakin Lane is owned by council or an adjoining land owner, with conflicting legal advice given to each party.

Council will consider any submissions in relation to the proposed declaration at a council meeting on Monday, 17 February.

Councillor Sandy Kam said by letting all adjoining land owners and the public know of the proposal council could receive formal submissions and progress the matter.

“We can look at what avenues we have available and what complaints are made and how we can resolve them,” Cr Kam said.