Council eases coronavirus restrictions

RESTRICTIONS on access to local parks and playgrounds have been eased by the Derwent Valley Council in accordance with the State Government’s “Roadmap to Recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic.

Coinciding with yesterday’s partial relaxing of emergency regulations around public gatherings, the council announced that its parks, playgrounds and public toilets had reopened, with a maximum of 10 people allowed at one time, and physical distancing to be observed.


Responding to a question on Facebook, a council spokesman said park and facility users were asked to observe signposted instructions about physical distancing and the 10-person limit. “We ask that people show consideration for others and move on after using the facilities so that other people can enjoy them as well,” they said.

“Council does not have the resources to provide additional cleaning or disinfecting of playground or exercise equipment. Users are encouraged to practise hand hygiene and wipe equipment with sanitiser wipes before and after use.”

Council-owned barbecue areas remain closed until further notice, along with council offices and public halls.

The council’s monthly meetings remain closed to the public. Members of the public wishing to put questions to this week’s meeting can email them to up to 5.30pm this  Thursday, May 21. Public Question Time forms are available from the council website. Agenda documents are available via the same link.

At the last council meeting, near unanimous support was given to a community support package with the following elements:

  • Suspend all debt recovery actions against community members for the remainder of this financial year (for outstanding rates and charges or outstanding invoices) with the exception  of where council has endorsed legal proceedings to commence  (DN 269/2019) and regulatory enforcement action (i.e. MPES for Infringement Notices); ;
  • Cease to charge interest on outstanding rates and charges until 30 June 2021;
  • Encourage payment arrangements to enable residents to apply to repay their rates and charges over an extended period in response to financial hardship;
  • Waive the two week notification period for the Valley Childrens Centre for when a child is  being withdrawn from our childcare service and the associated childcare fees and hold existing childcare places for parents for the remainder of this financial year.
  • Waive dog registration fees until 30 June 2021 while maintaining the requirement to register all dogs.
  • Waive the fee to obtain a Kennel Licence until 30 June 2021 while maintaining the requirement to obtain the licence.
  • Waive fees for food licences and health inspections until 30 June 2021 while maintaining the licencing and registration requirements.
  • Review the capacity of lessees of council properties to continue to meet lease or license fees and suspend debt recovery action in the meantime.
  • Endorse in principle a 0% increase to rate or waste service charges for 2020/2021.
  • Endorse in principle the community grants program being refocussed to support local business and not for profit recovery or conversion to a digital environment or circular economy during 2020/2021.
The council did not adopt the Local Government Association’s recommendation to pay its local creditors within 14 days regardless of their trading terms. Cr Luke Browning declared a pecuniary interest in the community support package and did not take part in the discussion. Cr Paul Belcher was absent from the meeting, telling the New Norfolk News that he had not been sent the necessary codes to log in to the online meeting.
Video recordings of the last two council meetings can be seen here.

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