Heritage a priority for council

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Greater Shepparton City Council has made preserving history a priority as part of its latest strategy.

Councillors gave the draft strategy the tick of approval at its meeting on Tuesday night, highlighting the advocacy work that has been undertaken in recent years.

While all councillors voted in favour of public exhibition of the strategy, some were concerned about the rights of people and their properties in regards to planning policy and heritage overlay.

Cr Bruce Giovanetti said he was against parts of the strategy.

‘‘It takes away the whole concept of owning your own home,’’ Cr Giovanetti said.

Cr Dinny Adem also shared some of these concerns.

‘‘At the very least the people that will be impacted need to be contacted directly,’’ Cr Adem said.

Cr Dennis Patterson said balance was important when protecting heritage.

‘‘Don’t let captain bulldozer chair our heritage committee,’’ Cr Patterson said.

‘‘There is balance with heritage that should be maintained.’’

Planning for the strategy started in 2014 when council received funding from the Rural Council Planning Flying Squad to assist with preparation of the document.

The draft was completed in 2015 and helped identify a number of gaps in the management and protection of heritage places, which inspired new studies and planning.

After the meeting, City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said it was important to have reasonable guidelines in place when discussing heritage in the region.

‘‘When you have significant, incredible, heritage-listed buildings and houses we need to preserve that, but we need to make it’s done in a fair way and that’s why these type of things go out to draft to get the proper processes in place,’’ Cr O’Keeffe said.

Submissions are open from today until August 26. They can be made by post to Greater Shepparton City Council, Locked Bag 1000, Shepparton VIC 3632, or by emailing or via the online form.