URGENT BUSINESS

Magee moved a motion that Council that sports grounds in the centre of the racecourse be considered as URGENT BUSINESS. Hyams declared a conflict of interest as did Esakoff. LIPSHUTZ DID NOT DECLARE ANY CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND REMAINED IN THE CHAMBER. No councillor challenged his presence. (Delahunty was absent).

MAGEE: moved the motion that council’s position was that the centre should be used for sporting grounds; that on the 7.30 Report the MRC CEO stated that ‘community sport would be welcomed’; that council writes to the Trustees and that they ‘ensure’ that community sport be developed in the centre and that a copy of the letter go to the Minister for Crown Lands , the minister for sports and to the minister for racing. Motion seconded by Sounness.

Magee went over council’s resolution for the centre of the racecourse where many sporting teams were missing out and that the ’54 hectares of land’ could be used for sportsgrounds. Said that this ‘vision’ was presented to the community and ‘accepted widely’ and that all councillors have ‘worked tirelessly’ to get this done. Magee said that it was good to hear that the MRC CEO ’embraced this vision’ and that it’s the first time they have said anything like this. Magee welcomed this statement. At the moment there’s a ‘lease being prepared’ and Magee thought it was ‘incumbent on us to work with the’ MRC and to write to the trustees and ‘inform them of this agreement’ and how the MRC ‘have now embraced’ this vision. The trustees have to now ‘take this advice’ and work it into ‘any lease agreements that are before them at the moment’. Said that the MRC should ‘only ever be given a lease’ for areas outside the actual racetrack and not the racetrack itself nor the centre of the racecourse. Stated that this is the ‘first time in 150 years’ that the ‘two groups can actually work together’. The turstees job is to administer the racecourse ‘for the benefit of all Victorians’. Claimed that here’s the perfect time to do all this ‘given that there is an agreement’ and that the MRC spokesman has ‘made it very clear on national television’ that sport is ‘very clear to the’ MRC and ‘we welcome that’. Said that since they’ve stated this that all that’s left is to ‘inform the minister’ to ‘let them know there is an agreement in place’.

SOUNNESS: asked Magee if he would accept a change in wording from ‘community sports grounds’ to ‘organised sport’. Magee refused to accept change in wording. Sounness still accepted the motion and said that he ‘copped it in the neck’ about lack of sporting ovals, lack of off leash dog areas because of organised sports, and lack of passive areas. Said that this is an opportunity and should be followed up. Open space for sports grounds can’t be found that easily in a built up city so the centre could be the solution.

LIPSHUTZ: said he didn’t declare a conflict of interest because he didn’t think there was one but that it is ‘appropriate’ that he ‘report’ on what’s been happening in ‘recent times’. Claimed that the trust ‘has not been sitting on its hands’. Said that for the first time the ‘non MRC trustees as of one voice’ and that there have been ‘ongoing lease negotiations with the MRC’ for the past 2 years but these negotiations haven’t as yet ‘reached fruition’.   Said the lease is about the Tabaret and the grandstand and not to the ‘infield and the tracks’. Said that the MRC ‘does not have any legal right’ to anything in the infield. Said that the trustees are therefore committed to a ‘license agreement’ for the infield so the MRC ‘knows precisely what it can do and what it can’t do’. Went on to say that the trustees have got a valuation for the land rental and have put that to the MRC. Claimed that the trustees had ‘always taken the view’ that the valuation should be done by the Valuer General and that the chairman has asked for this. Said that he had been at a meeting today with Greg Sword and the governor executives and that the ‘valuer general will get a brief’ and that if there’s disagreement the Minister will ‘arbitrate’. He didn’t ‘expect that agreement will be reached’.

Said that he didn’t declare a conflict of interest because the trust ‘has taken a very strong view’ that the ‘centre of the racecourse should be used for sport’. Didn’t think that even though the MRC CEO said he welcomed sport, he wasn’t that sure that the MRC itself would endorse this view. Said that the ‘government has also advised’ that there should be sport in the infield but that boils down to the ‘license’ negotiations. Thhere is training and he didn’t think that ‘in reality’ training would go ‘any time soon’ and this would be in the ‘scope of 10 to 15 years’. So if training remains there are ‘safety’ issues both to the public and to the animals. Thus claimed that ‘this motion itself does not actually further anything’ since there is ‘already a commitment by the trust’ to have sport and that won’t happen very soon because they still have to negotiate the ‘license arrangement’. And if there’s no agreement then the ‘minister will step in’. Reassured everyone that ‘the trust has been very active’. Stated that at his morning meeting with the MRC they discussed the issue about opening up access to the racecourse. Said that ‘everyone’ recognises that entrance through the tunnel ‘is not satisfactory’ but ‘equally it is an issue of safety’. Claimed that the MRC has now ‘committed to looking at those issues’ and seeing where there could be ‘palisade fencing’ so that there could be the ‘visual entrance’. Didn’t know whether these things would ‘come true’ but reiterated that the trust is ‘committed’ to having sport, but unsure of the ‘extent’ of this. Therefore he didn’t see that there’s any conflict of interest since the Magee motion ‘is in accord’ with the ‘wishes’ of the trustees.

OKOTEL: asked Magee if he would consider writing to the trustees asking for their position on sport in the centre. Magee didn’t accept this proposal. Okotel then queried the value of writing to the trust asking them to state a position that they are already taking. Thought it ‘would be better’ to have the trust put their ‘position in writing’ so that it would be public and council might ‘utilise’ whatever is written to them as an ‘advocacy tool’.

PILLING: thought that Magee’s motion is only what council is asking for and is ‘complementary’ to ‘what’s going on behind the scenes’.

MAGEE: thanked Lipshutz for remaining in the room since he thought it’s important that people know what the trustees and councillor reps on the trustees are doing. Said that he wasn’t surprised that when Lipshutz became a trustee ‘he would always be acting in the best interests of Glen Eira’. Stated that he thought that Greg Sword was trying ‘to do his best’. Two years ago the trust’s position was a ’64 year lease with no conditions’ and now ‘they’re looking at the same things we are’. Now the MRC CEO wants ‘the same thing’ and the government ‘wants sport in the centre of the racecourse’. ‘Everybody’s together. There’s nobody opposing this’. Wanted his motion to ‘stay the same’ because it sends ‘a strong message’ that council ‘wants to work with them’. Conceded that ‘no one is saying’ that training should go ‘tomorrow’ but important to say that a ‘section of the racecourse’ can be ‘given up’ such as ‘3 ovals’ and then build on that’ and ‘phase out training’. Said he ‘wanted to see racing stay there forever’ but that training is ‘not a permitted use’ and it’s not written anywhere that it is a ‘permitted use’. Concluded by saying that Tang and he first moved the motion that the lease be reduced from 61 years to 21 and that this motion was defeated by 9 to 2. So they never wanted a 21 year lease . ‘We’re not going to tolerate the exclusion of Glen Eira residents’. Said that the 21 year lease ‘is pivotal’ to the future. Quoted the president of Ajax about the lack of space for sport and that 75% of his team can’t play in Glen Eira and ‘that’s a shame’. So there are about 130 or 140 kids who can’t play sport where their ‘parents pay rates’. ‘No one in this room thinks that’s acceptable’ and here’s the ‘opporunity’ to do something. Everyone (trustees, mrc, community) is ‘all on board’ with this.

MOTION PUT TO VOTE. OKOTEL VOTED AGAINST. LIPSHUTZ DID NOT RAISE HIS HAND IN SUPPORT OR OPPOSING THE MOTION. TECHNICALLY THIS MEANS AN ABSENTION!

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