Shire in running for new events policy


ONE result of the Sufferfest triathlon in Mt Martha earlier this month is that councillors may take over deciding which events can be held.

Permit applications are now determined by council officers.

Cr Sam Hearn is expected to move at the next meeting that councillors develop an evaluation policy “as a matter of urgency”.

The most obvious date-clash over the 3-4 March weekend was with the annual Clean-up Australia Day which has been running 19 years.

The clash – which saw a six-hour closure of the Esplanade from Mornington to beyond Mt Martha – was described as “highly disappointing” by former mayor Cr Bev Colomb.

The current mayor Cr Bryan Payne admitted there was “some confusion and we have just got to do it better”.

Complaints came from traders complaining about lost revenue and residents upset at having their quiet Sunday ruined by loudspeakers, roads closed for event parking and crossings along the Esplanade made dangerous by racing cyclists – in an event which had council and VicRoads approvals.

The council permit did not officially come through until the Thursday before the Sunday triathlon although entries were accepted by the organiser months in advance.

The events policy will seek to evaluate and regulate how such events impact on residents, businesses and infrastructure – before any permits are granted.

Cr Simon Brooks said there was a “realisation that the peninsula is now attracting a growing number of events, often impacting local communities, businesses and infrastructure, but that the evaluation process has not kept up and needs improved guidance and an over-arching policy”.

“This policy would provide good guidance to staff assessing proposed events against community, environmental and financial impacts and benefits,” he said.

The events policy would look at creating a sliding scale of charges “commensurate to the nature and scale of the proposed event” – a possible reference to the $160 permit fee charged for the privately-run triathlon.

A workshop to write and adopt an events policy had the backing of CEO Carl Cowie, Cr Brooks said.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 20 March 2018


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