By Kate Taylor
Council is operating a dangerous depot in the heart of Ballan, according to two Moorabool Shire Councillors.
West Ward Councillor Tom Sullivan and Woodlands Ward Councillor Pat Toohey both argued at the July council meeting that the depot is dangerous – but CEO Rob Croxford stepped in to say that it is not.
The issue arose when councillors discussed adopting the draft budget, in which it was proposed to defer funding of $1 million towards building a new depot until next year’s budget
Cr Toohey told the meeting that he has a problem with deferring the funding.
“We do have an unsafe depot in the middle of Ballan in a residential area,” he told the meeting.
Cr Sullivan also argued that the depot is not safe.
“The Ballan depot is something we need to do – it’s located at the back of the shire offices in Ballan, we have this facility in a residential area, it’s totally inappropriate,” Cr Sullivan told the meeting.
“We have dodged a bullet over Ballan for a very long time.”
Central Ward Councillor Paul Tatchell asked at the meeting if council was operating a dangerous depot and if so, why – but Mr Croxford responded that while there might be better ways to operate, there are certainly no infringement notices from Worksafe.
“It’s fair to say the bullets are rubber“, Cr Tatchell said.
Cr Tatchell argued for deferring the funding because no cost had been outlined for the whole project, although estimates are at least $3 million, and because initial drawings for the design had only just been received by council.
Mr Croxford pointed out that the current depot has not actually been assessed in any capacity as being unsafe.
“The depot in Ballan has not been deemed as unsafe. At the last Council meeting, Councillors deferred making a decision on funding a new depot and asked that officers prepare a report that sets out greater details on the project. Officers will prepare a report in the later part of 2017,” Mr Croxford told The Moorabool News.