Council meeting cancelled and further changes in services

Published on 17 March 2020

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Surf Coast Shire Council has cancelled its 24 March Council meeting in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision reflects the Council’s focus on reducing gatherings of people where possible to reduce spread of infection.

“Councillors have taken the lead in following the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer to limit group contact and minimise risk where possible,” Chief Executive Officer Keith Baillie said.

“They agreed during a teleconferenced briefing today that all Council meeting agenda items are able to be deferred to subsequent meetings.

“The move demonstrates how seriously Council is viewing the situation and its obligation to respond on all levels possible.

“Given the circumstances, matters relating to planning applications and submissions will also be held over. It is not ideal but is necessary, and we will keep people informed.”

Council has also today extended its service changes by closing the Torquay Surf Coast Sport and Recreation Centre and the Winchelsea Health Club.

Closure of the recreation centre will affect group fitness classes, all levels of netball at the centre, Futsal, kindergym and the associated occasional care service. The occasional care service offered as part of Council’s early years program at the Kurrambee Myaring Community Centre and Torquay Children’s Centre remain available at this time.

Council has also taken the significant decision to instruct users to no longer hold gatherings of people at facilities and land owned or managed by Council. This significant change is being communicated to users and customers this evening, with exceptions being where the site is used for emergency management, pre-school or specific activities nominated by the State Government.

The moves follow other Council actions including transitioning public-facing customer service, planning and building services and Visitor Information Centres to phone, email and internet-based services.

A Hearing of Submissions committee meeting scheduled for 31 March has been cancelled.

People wishing to expand on planning submissions are able to do so via email on planningapps@surfcoast.vic.gov.au

Council has mobilised its pandemic plan and a working group is meeting daily to evaluate and respond to latest COVID-19 developments.

All other Council services which bring people together into groups are also being reviewed.

“The health and safety of our valued customers, members and staff is our number one priority,” Mr Baillie said.

“We hope people will understand the situation and our duty of care. Our communities can expect more change as we negotiate this dynamic situation.”

Council’s aged care and kindergarten services are continuing as usual at this time.

People should refer to www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/covid19 for latest updates on changes to Council services.

People seeking COVID-19 updates and health advice can visit the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website www.dhhs.vic.gov.au.

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