Policy and Legislation Committee Agenda

 

 

 

28 October 2020

 

 

 

 

 


ALL INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN VARIOUS FORMATS ON REQUEST

city@busselton.wa.gov.au

 

 


CITY OF BUSSELTON

MEETING NOTICE AND AGENDA – 28 October 2020

 

 

 

TO:                  THE MAYOR AND COUNCILLORS

 

 

NOTICE is given that a meeting of the Policy and Legislation Committee will be held in the Committee Room, Administration Building, Southern Drive, Busselton on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, commencing at 10.00am.

 

The attendance of Committee Members is respectfully requested.

 

 

DISCLAIMER

Statements or decisions made at Council meetings or briefings should not be relied on (or acted upon) by an applicant or any other person or entity until subsequent written notification has been given by or received from the City of Busselton. Without derogating from the generality of the above, approval of planning applications and building permits and acceptance of tenders and quotations will only become effective once written notice to that effect has been given to relevant parties. The City of Busselton expressly disclaims any liability for any loss arising from any person or body relying on any statement or decision made during a Council meeting or briefing.

 

 

 

Mike Archer

 

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

 

23 October 2020


CITY OF BUSSELTON

Agenda FOR THE Policy and Legislation Committee MEETING TO BE HELD ON 28 October 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ITEM NO.                                        SUBJECT                                                                                                                              PAGE NO.

1....... Declaration of Opening and Announcement of Visitors. 4

2....... Attendance. 4

3....... Public Question Time. 4

4....... Disclosure Of Interests. 4

5....... Confirmation and receipt of Minutes. 4

5.1          Minutes of the Policy and Legislation Committee Meeting held 23 September 2020. 4

6....... Reports. 5

6.1          LOCAL PLANNING POLICY REVIEW - REVIEW OF LOCAL PLANNING POLICY 1.5 'COASTAL SETBACKS' 5

6.2          REVIEW OF COUNCIL POLICY: AUDIO RECORDING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS. 22

7....... General Discussion Items. 30

8....... Next Meeting Date. 30

9....... Closure. 30

 


Policy and Legislation Committee                                  4                                                                 28 October 2020

1.               Declaration of Opening and Announcement of Visitors

 

2.               Attendance 

Apologies

 

3.               Public Question Time

 

4.               Disclosure Of Interests

 

5.               Confirmation and receipt of Minutes

5.1             Minutes of the Policy and Legislation Committee Meeting held 23 September 2020

Recommendation

That the Minutes of the Policy and Legislation Committee Meeting held 23 September 2020 be confirmed as a true and correct record.

 


Policy and Legislation Committee                                  6                                                                  28 October 2020

6.               Reports

6.1             LOCAL PLANNING POLICY REVIEW - REVIEW OF LOCAL PLANNING POLICY 1.5 'COASTAL SETBACKS'

STRATEGIC GOAL

2. PLACE AND SPACES Vibrant, attractive, affordable

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE

2.1 Planning strategies that foster the development of healthy neighbourhoods that meet our needs as we grow.

SUBJECT INDEX

Development Control Policy

BUSINESS UNIT

Statutory Planning

REPORTING OFFICER

Planning Officer - Joanna Wilkinson

AUTHORISING OFFICER

Director, Planning and Development Services - Paul Needham

NATURE OF DECISION

Legislative: to adopt legislative documents e.g. local laws, local planning schemes, local planning policies

VOTING REQUIREMENT

Simple Majority

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment a   Existing LPP 1.5

Attachment b    Proposed LPP 1.5

Attachment c    Data Review  

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION

That the Council resolves to initiate for the purposes of public consultation an amendment to Local Planning Policy 1.5 Coastal Setbacks (Attachment A) by advertising Proposed LPP 1.5 (Attachment B) in accordance with clause 5 of Part 2 of Schedule 2 – Deemed Provisions for Local Planning Schemes of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The City is currently reviewing its suite of local planning policies. As part of this review, officers presented a general discussion item to the Policy and Legislation Committee at its meeting on 25 August 2020. The purpose of this discussion item was to raise awareness of some of the initial review findings and recommend that the Committee note that the review of Local Planning Policy 1.5 Coastal Setbacks (LPP 1.5) had commenced.

 

Officers have since undertaken a comprehensive review of how the existing policy (Attachment A) has been applied since it was adopted, whether the application of the policy has impacted streetscapes, and whether the objectives of the policy have been achieved.  As a result of this review, officers have amended the content of the policy and recommend that amendments to LPP 1.5 be initiated for the purposes of public consultation (Attachment B).

 

A summary of the officers’ review is contained in this report.

 

BACKGROUND

The Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations (Regulations) provide that Local Planning Policies (LPPs) may be prepared by a local government in respect of any matter relating to planning and development within the City of Busselton Local Planning Scheme No. 21 (Scheme) area.

 

The intention of an LPP is to provide guidance to applicants/developers and the community in regard to the decision-making process, as well as to the local government when exercising discretion under the Scheme. An LPP must be consistent with the intent of the relevant Scheme provisions, including State Planning Policy 7.3 – Residential Design Codes (R-Codes), and cannot vary development standards or requirements set out in a Scheme or impose other mandatory requirements upon development.

 

LPPs are given due regard in the assessment of development applications and are listed as a “matter to be considered” when making determination of a development application under Schedule 2, clause 67 of the Regulations.

 

In March 2019, the City commenced the first stage of the LPP review. This stage was policy neutral and did not alter the intent or provisions within the LPPs. The LPPs were re-formatted into an easier-to-read template, taking the policies from a single manual structure and separating them into individual policies. These changes were adopted by Council at its meeting on 27 March 2019 (C1903/053).

 

The City has now commenced the second stage of the review process and is currently reviewing the content and relevance of all LPPs. Due to the number of policies and complexity of issues which need to be addressed, this review has been broken down into a number of stages. It is proposed as part of this report that LPP 1.5 be amended. A detailed discussion is set out in the officer comment section of this report.

OFFICER COMMENT

LPP 1.5 originally formed part of the broader Residential Design Guidelines Policy which was adopted by Council on 17 October 2007 (C0710/236). The policy applies to low density coastal nodes (coded R25 or less) that abut coastal foreshore reserves fronting Geographe Bay Road, or which directly abut Geographe Bay Road, but excludes Special Character Areas (e.g. Quindalup).

 

Broadly the policy provisions can be split into two main parts:

·        Primary street setbacks; and

·        Rear setbacks.

 

The policy varies the R-Codes in the following ways:

·        For development less than five metres in height, the minimum setback is to be in accordance with Table 1 of the R-Codes (noting that reduced setbacks are not permitted); and

·        For development greater than five metres in height, the minimum setback is to be in accordance with Table 1 of the R-Codes plus an additional three metres. A balcony that is unenclosed on three sides does not require the additional three metre setback.

 

This means that a reduced setback or “averaging” under the R-Codes (where a reduced setback is allowed provided it is compensated for by an equal area of open space behind the front setback line) is not encouraged, however it could be considered on a case by case basis through a development application. Where this has occurred, it is referred to below as a ‘discretion’.

 

Other provisions relate to rear setbacks only and address matters such as:

·        Retention of reserve amenity, private access into a reserve;

·        Filling and retaining at a reserve boundary;

·        Fencing of the reserve boundary; and

·        The setback of ancillary development (e.g. tennis court, gazebo etc).

 

During 2006 and 2007, the draft Residential Design Guidelines Policy was advertised twice to the community, with a total of six submissions received. Of these, one submission objected to the coastal setbacks provisions. Officers provided rationale in support of the provisions, which aimed to strengthen and maintain the open landscape context of the coastal areas as a determinant of local character and identity.

 


 

The following policy review is broken down under the broad headings below:

1.         Desktop data review (policy application and impact on streetscape);

2.         Relevance of current policy provisions; and

3.         Proposed policy amendments.

 

1.         Desktop Data Review

Officers carried out a desktop assessment of all lots to which the policy applies, with the findings collated into broader ‘streetscape’ and ‘locality’ assessments in order to determine the extent to which the policy has been applied, any resultant effect on the streetscape, and whether the objectives of the policy have been achieved.  A breakdown of approvals, setbacks, building height and street block context for the localities within the policy area is provided at Attachment C.

 

Policy application

In total, there are 587 Residential zoned lots within the policy area, of which:

·        111 or 19% of those lots have been subject to planning and/or building approvals since 2008;

·        60% of approvals were compliant with the LPP;

·        40% required a discretion; and

·        81% of lots have not been subject of any relevant approvals since the policy was introduced. 

 

Impact of built form on the streetscape - Setbacks

The density coding for lots to which the policy applies varies from R2 to R15. Front setbacks vary from 20m for R2 lots to 6m for R15 lots (which comprise the bulk of the policy area).  

 

The data review revealed that there is very little consistency in front or rear setbacks within street blocks or localities, except where other planning controls such as easements, building envelopes or structure plans apply.

 

Closer analysis revealed that where the setbacks are substantially less or greater than required, the development pre-dates the LPP. It is likely that future development applications will seek to locate development closer to the relevant boundary to maximise views and the overall development potential of the lot, resulting in a more consistent setback line over time.

 

Impact of built form on the streetscape - Building Height

Built form within the streetscape is also influenced by whether dwellings are single or double storey. The data review indicates that the majority of dwellings within the LPP area are double storey. A high percentage of approvals since 2008 have been for double storey dwellings, and it can be assumed that the majority of vacant lots will be developed as double storey given the high property values and access to sea views. In some localities such as Marybrook and Broadwater a significant percentage of dwellings that were constructed prior to 2008 are also double storey.  In some areas subject of the policy, the broader strategic direction is towards greater density and urban consolidation, including apartment development of 3-5 floors in time.

 

Rear setback provisions

The current rear setback provisions apply to one or more street blocks in almost all localities, except Dunsborough and Quindalup. In almost all cases, planning instruments and considerations other than the LPP are relevant. Various factors include the Coastal Management Special Control Area (CMSCA), easements, structure plans, presence and density of vegetation, and bushfire considerations. These factors tend to override the LPP and in the case of rear setbacks it is considered that the LPP adds little value to the higher order planning framework. Instead it adds a layer of complexity that is not required.

 

2.         Relevance of current policy objectives

One of the purposes of this policy review is to determine whether the objectives of the policy have been achieved. This leads to a further two questions – are the objectives appropriate, and are they achievable? The following is a broad assessment against the policy objectives and assumptions.

 

B1.1          To provide for development projects of a low rise residential character and reduce the dominance of the built form in the coastal setting outside key nodes which the Scheme zones or identifies land for more intensive residential development.

 

Clause 4.8.1 of the Scheme includes controls relating to Building Height and states:

“4.8.1  A person must not erect any building that -

(a)       contains more than two storeys or exceeds a height of 9 metres where land is within 150 metres of the mean high water mark; or

(b)       contains more than three storeys or exceeds a height of 12 metres where land is more than 150 metres from the mean high water mark, except where otherwise provided for in the Scheme.”

 

Sites to which this LPP applies are either wholly or partially subject to the 9 metre building height control however, it is also noted that Clause 4.8.3 of the Scheme provides discretion to vary the maximum heights. As demonstrated in the data referenced above, development across all localities is a mix of single and double storey. Given two-storey development is anticipated by both the Scheme and the R-Codes in the areas to which the policy applies, this objective is considered unclear (e.g. what is low rise?) and redundant.

 

B1.2          To ensure coastal processes are not adversely affected by the modification of ground levels for building purposes in the coastal management area.

All development sites abut either the coastal reserve or a road reserve that abuts the coastal reserve. Impacts of development on coastal processes is a significant matter that is being addressed at a higher level through the City’s Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP) and does not need to be addressed through this LPP which carries limited statutory weight.

 

B1.3 (a)   Setbacks from coastal reserves are important to protect the intended use for which the adjoining land has been reserved, and to recognise coastal processes within coastal residential areas.

All of the lots affected by the front setback provisions are separated from the coastal reserve by a road reserve. Factors that may affect the impact of development on the coastal reserve include:

·        The width of the road and/or coastal reserve;

·        The presence of vegetation within the reserves;

·        The location of the dual use pathway (beside the road reserve or within the coastal reserve);

·        Sections of streetscape that are intercepted by different zoning (e.g. Tourism); and

·        The approximate ‘era’ that land parcels were created and dwellings constructed.

 

It is considered that the presence of mature vegetation such as peppermint trees and the location of the dual use pathway away from the road reserve are critical factors in ‘softening’ the impact of built form – this applies to localities such as Dunsborough, Quindalup, Abbey and Broadwater.

 

Mature vegetation contributes to the amenity of users of the coastal reserve by enhancing the streetscape; providing micro-climate, habitat and shade; and particularly where peppermint trees are present by maintaining a local ‘sense of place’. There are many instances where the dual use path is located within coastal reserve vegetation and built form is either partially or wholly screened by vegetation.

This scenario is not evident in portions of West Busselton and Geographe, where the dual use path is located at the northern edge of the road reserve and there is very little mature vegetation to provide screening. These areas are addressed below.

 

West Busselton (between Craig Street and Dolphin Road)

In West Busselton, between Craig Street and Dolphin Road, the road and coastal reserves are generally narrow.

 

Between Craig Street and Earnshaw Road the dual use path is located on the back of kerb and there is only a very narrow stretch of coastal reserve with setbacks of approximately 20m – 38m from the front boundary of the affected lots and the edge of the beach as there is no, or very little, dune system.  The impact of building bulk on these three street blocks is noticeable because of the proximity of dwellings to both the dual use path and the beach.  It is considered reasonable in this location that additional setbacks be encouraged through the policy to reduce the impact of new development on the users of the adjacent dual use path and beach.

 

Between Earnshaw Road and Dolphin Road however, the dual use path moves off the back of kerb and the width of the coastal reserve widens.  Setbacks of approximately 40m – 98m between the front boundary of the affected lots and the edge of the beach which lessens the building bulk impact associated with these two street blocks to a point where it is considered unlikely that any additional setback, over and above what is required by the R-codes, would have a significant impact on the coastal amenity.

 

Geographe (between Guerin Street and Ford Road)

In Geographe, while there is very little vegetation, the width of road reserve/verge depth varies and is generally wider than in West Busselton, in places substantially so with properties near to Ford Road having front verges of up to 37m.  While the dual use path along this section of coast is generally located close to the road reserve, it is not located on the back of back of kerb (minimum setback of approximately 5m).  Further, the dune system in Geographe is substantial in comparison to the section of West Busselton discussed above, with setbacks of approximately 80m - 150m between front property boundaries and the beach. 

 

Given the wider road verges, the siting of the dual use path off the back of kerb and the significant distance provided between the front of the lots and the beach, the impact on the public realm posed by new residential development in this area is not considered significant enough to justify the imposition of additional setback requirements.

 

Further, it would be difficult to argue that there is a consistent character along this section of coast that is worth protecting through policy given the age, height, bulk, architectural style and setbacks of dwellings vary significantly.

 

B1.3 (b)   Setbacks from development should assist in ameliorating the impacts of building bulk when viewed from the coastal reserve and primary street.

B1.3 (c)    The taller and longer a wall is, the further it should be setback from the coastal reserve or primary street.

Apart from the various factors noted above, the impact of building bulk is also influenced by building design and the use of materials. Rather than bulky, buildings can be perceived as visually interesting through adopting a combination of articulation, horizontal and vertical elements, and use of different materials, openings, and other elements.

 

The setback provisions within the LPP may assist in ameliorating the impact of building bulk, but they may also contribute to poor design outcomes, for example when ‘visually interesting’ upper floors are setback behind ground floor garages which tend to provide little visual interest.

The policy requirement for an increased upper floor setback also conflicts with visual privacy requirements within the R-Codes, where an unenclosed balcony must be set back 7.5 metres from the side lot boundary. Use of good design elements can serve to both satisfy visual privacy requirements and provide a visually interesting building. 

 

B1.3 (d)   The localities along Geographe Bay Road and associated foreshore areas, comprise predominantly single storey detached single dwellings on large lots with generous front and rear setbacks. These developments are low rise, contribute to the open landscape character along the beachfront locality and generally reflect a Western Australian seaside architectural vernacular.

This objective is considered to be a statement containing a series of assumptions; it is broken down into parts and addressed below.

 

·        Predominantly single storey detached single dwellings – it has been demonstrated above that dwellings within the policy area are not predominantly single storey.

·        Large lots with generous front and rear setbacks – this assumption is, very broadly, correct.

·        Low rise contributing to open landscape character – the terms ‘low rise’ and ‘open landscape character’ are subject to interpretation and neither term is defined within the policy.

·        Western Australian seaside architectural vernacular – again this is a subjective term that isn’t defined within the policy. It is difficult to quantify any evidence of a ‘seaside vernacular’.

 

It is questionable whether the objectives of the policy have been achieved, and whether all of them are appropriate. Accordingly, the policy is proposed to be amended so that the two key and appropriate objectives are retained – the impact of built form when viewed from Geographe Bay Road and the coastal reserve, and contribution to/consistency with the established streetscape.

 

3.         Proposed policy amendments

As detailed above, it is recommended that the scope of the policy be reduced to cover only the section of West Busselton between Craig Street and Earnshaw Road.  Further recommended modifications to the policy are as follows:

 

·        The objectives (purpose) have been refined so that they are relevant and appropriate;

·        Introduction of interpretations for clarification;

·        Removal of all rear setback provisions;

·        Clarification that the policy applies to all sites adjoining Geographe Bay Road, where previously corner lots where Geographe Bay Road was the secondary street were excluded;

·        Introduction of a provision that allows for privacy screening;

·        Introduction of diagrams to clarify setback provisions; and

·        A change to the title, to reflect the much narrower scope proposed.

 

Statutory Environment

The key statutory environment is set out in the Planning and Development Act 2005 and related subsidiary legislation, including the City of Busselton Local Planning Scheme No. 21 (the Scheme) and the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations), especially Schedule 2 (Deemed Provisions) of the Regulations, which form part of the Scheme.

 

Division 2, clauses 5 and 6 respectively set out the requirements for the amendment or revocation of a local planning policy.


 

Relevant Plans and Policies

State Planning Policy 7.3 Residential Design Codes Volume 1 (R-Codes)

The purpose of the R-Codes is to provide a comprehensive basis for the control of residential development throughout Western Australia.

 

The R-Codes provide for residential development of an appropriate design for the intended residential purpose, density, context of place and Scheme objectives.

 

Local Planning Scheme No. 21 (the Scheme)

Relevantly, the purposes of the Scheme are to control and guide land use and development; and to set out procedures for the assessment and determination of applications for development approval.

 

Financial Implications

There are no financial implications associated with the Officer Recommendation.

 

Stakeholder Consultation

Should Council resolve to initiate for the purpose of public consultation the amended policy, then the following consultation will be undertaken:

 

Part 2, Division 2 of the Deemed Provisions requires that a local government undertake consultation before adopting or amending a local planning policy (although a minor amendment can be made without consultation). At least 21 days must be allowed for the making of submissions.

 

It is proposed that consultation will be for a period of four weeks and will be undertaken as follows:

·        Targeted letters/emails to landowners within the policy area;

·        Notices in the local newspaper for four consecutive weeks, as well as on the City’s website, including the subject and nature as well as objectives of the proposed LPP; and

·        A portal is to be created using the City’s YourSay platform for the online lodgment of submissions.

 

Risk Assessment

An assessment of the potential implications of implementing the officer recommendation has been undertaken using the City’s risk management framework. No risks of medium or greater level have been identified.

 

Options

As an alternative to the proposed recommendation the Council could:

1.         Retain the existing policy;

2.         Further modify the policy recommended to be initiated for the purposes of public consultation; or

3.         Revoke the policy in its entirety.

 

CONCLUSION

It is recommended that Council consider the discussion set out in this report and resolve to support the amendments to LPP 1.5 and initiate for the purposes of public consultation.


 

TIMELINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF OFFICER RECOMMENDATION

Implementation of the Officer Recommendation would involve notification of the amended or revoked policy as outlined in the consultation section of this report. It is expected that this will commence within one month of the Council decision.  


Policy and Legislation Committee

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28 October 2020

6.1

Attachment a

Existing LPP 1.5

 




Policy and Legislation Committee

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28 October 2020

6.1

Attachment b

Proposed LPP 1.5

 





Policy and Legislation Committee

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28 October 2020

6.1

Attachment c

Data Review

 



Policy and Legislation Committee                                  25                                                               28 October 2020

6.2             REVIEW OF COUNCIL POLICY: AUDIO RECORDING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS

STRATEGIC GOAL

6. LEADERSHIP Visionary, collaborative, accountable

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE

6.1 Governance systems, process and practices are responsible, ethical and transparent.

SUBJECT INDEX

Council Policies

BUSINESS UNIT

Governance Services

REPORTING OFFICER

Governance Officer - Melissa Egan

AUTHORISING OFFICER

Director Finance and Corporate Services - Tony Nottle

NATURE OF DECISION

Executive: substantial direction setting, including adopting strategies, plans and policies (excluding local planning policies), tenders, setting and amending budgets, funding, donations and sponsorships, reviewing committee recommendations

VOTING REQUIREMENT

Simple Majority

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment a   Proposed Council Policy Recording and Livestreaming of Council Meetings

Attachment b    Current Policy - Audio Recording of Council Meetings  

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION

That the Council adopts the revised Council policy: ‘Recording and Livestreaming of Council Meetings’ at Attachment A, to replace the current Council policy ‘Audio Recording of Council Meetings’ at Attachment B.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report presents a revised Council policy ‘Recording and Livestreaming of Council Meetings’ (Attachment A) (the Policy), with officers recommending it replace the current Council policy ‘Audio Recording of Council Meetings’ (Attachment B).

 

BACKGROUND

The policy was originally adopted by Council at its Ordinary Meeting on 11 June 2019 (C1906/108) following a request from a member of the public for a copy of a recording of an Ordinary Council Meeting and pursuant to advice from the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA). The review of the policy also considered the recommendations of the Governance Services Review conducted in 2017.

 

The City’s Standing Orders Local Law 2018 (Standing Orders) provides for the Chief Executive Officer to audio record meetings for the purpose of taking minutes. Any such recordings are considered a record under the State Records Act 2000 and are required to be retained for one year after the minutes are confirmed. These recordings are therefore considered to be available under the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

 

The City has, in the past, facilitated the electronic attendance of Councillors at meetings pursuant to regulation 14A of the Local Government (Administration) Regulations (Regulations), only on an as-needs basis and in accordance with the conditions of the applicable regulation. With the onset of COVID-19 and amendments made to the Local Government Act 1995 (Act) to provide for circumstances of a natural disaster, public health emergency or state of emergency, officers have provided electronic means of attendance (i.e. Zoom meeting connection) and have developed meeting procedures that incorporates electronic attendance. The City also began livestreaming its meetings on a regular basis to allow the public to watch a meeting when personal attendance in Chambers was restricted.

 

Due to COVID, and the physical restrictions on attendance at Council meetings, the City facilitated the attendance of Councillors and the public through electronic means as a way to continue Council business and the engagement of the public in the Council’s decision-making processes. This process also included receiving questions to Council via email to be responded to during Council meetings (as provided for by regulation 14E of the Local Government (Administration) Amendment Regulations 2000).

 

As an outcome of a briefing to Council on 14 October 2020, officers have prepared a revised Policy that incorporates Council’s direction and extends the scope of the Policy to include video recordings and livestreaming of meetings, with the renaming of the Policy to reflect this extension of its scope.

 

OFFICER COMMENT

Following a relaxation of physical distancing guidelines imposed as a result of COVID, Councillors and Senior Management have been attending meetings in person, with public attendance encouraged but carefully regulated to maintain social distancing and health guidelines. Officers are comfortable that the Act, Regulations and the City’s Standing Orders are sufficient to guide the attendance of Councillors at meetings, by electronic means or otherwise. As the City has an obligation to encourage and enable public participation in Council meetings – and the increasing expectation that alternative (electronic) means of participation will be offered – officers have sought direction from Council as to providing these options to the public on a standard basis. Having obtained Council’s direction at a briefing presented on 14 October 2020, officers recommend that the current policy is amended to provide for video as well as audio recordings and the livestreaming of meetings. This will give greater clarity for officers and enable further development of operational practices as required.

 

In revising the Policy, officers considered several relevant issues which are set out briefly below.

Technical Requirements 

The City has sufficient technical infrastructure to manage the electronic attendance of Councillors and the public at its meetings. The City’s technical capabilities will continue to be developed into the future in conjunction with the implementation of the City’s new website, which will assist in a more efficient process and ease of public access.

 

It will be important to manage expectations and the extent of the City’s responsibility for a person’s electronic connection to a meeting. Unless it is clear that a technical issue is caused and can be remedied by the City, a person should remain responsible for their technical and interest capabilities. This will be managed at an operational level, for example, when accepting a request for electronic attendance, the City’s response will contain a disclaimer of the City’s responsibilities to the extent a person is responsible for their own internet connection and computer technology, and that the City takes no responsibility if a person loses connection to a meeting.

Confidentiality

There is a concern that a recording of a meeting will expose matters of confidentiality and that the City has less control over a broadcast of a meeting than it does with written minutes (which record only a summary of pertinent questions and responses, and the decisions made by Council). The Local Government (Administration) Amendment Regulations 2000 deal with matters of confidentiality, in the sense that a recording and livestream of a meeting can be ceased in the same manner a meeting is closed to the members of the public. This provides clarity to officers to simply cease the audio and video stream of a meeting at the time a meeting is closed for reasons of confidentiality, so that any confidential matters heard behind closed doors are not broadcast or recorded.

 

Defamation

There is also the concern that Councillors and members of the public may be conscious of being recorded and broadcast live, which in turn impacts on their ability speaking freely while in Chambers.

 

Section 9.57A of the Local Government Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (WA) encourages local governments to livestream its proceedings and provides statutory protection for the local government from defamation for publishing Council proceedings on its website. This protection does not extend to the individual who made the comment, however, this is no different to circumstances if the meeting is not broadcast, as it is still deemed to be a statement made in a public forum.

 

Record of Meeting

It is important to emphasise that a livestream and recording should not replace the Minutes as the formal record of a meeting. This can, again, be managed at an operational level with, for example, a written disclaimer on the City’s streaming platform, and the ability to add a caption or watermark on the video which states that it is a broadcast only and not a formal record of the meeting.

 

It is also important to note that a video or audio recording of a meeting would be considered as a “record” under the State Records Act 2000, and that the publication and storage of the recording should be treated pursuant to the requirements of this Act. Officers are comfortable, having received internal advice from the City’s Records officers, that the intention to retain the record on the City’s streaming platform, with a link to the recording available on the City’s website, provides sufficient access to, and storage of, the record to meet the requirements of the State Records Act. The file of the recording and its link will be removed or deleted after one year in accordance with the guidelines of the State Records Office.

 

Statutory Environment

–    The Local Government Act 1995 and the City’s Standing Orders provide for and encourage public attendance and transparency at meetings.

–    The Local Government (Administration) Amendment Regulations 2000 deal with matters of confidentiality and the closure of meetings.

–    Section 9.57A of the Local Government Legislation Amendment Act 2019 provides statutory protection for the local government from defamation for publishing Council proceedings on its website.

Relevant Plans and Policies

There are no relevant plans or other policies to consider in relation to this matter.

Financial Implications

There are no financial implications associated with the Officer Recommendation.

Stakeholder Consultation

No external stakeholder consultation was required or undertaken in relation to this matter.

Risk Assessment

An assessment of the potential implications of implementing the Officer Recommendation has been undertaken using the City’s risk management framework, with risks assessed taking into account any controls already in place. No risks of a medium or greater level have been identified.

Options

As an alternative to the proposed recommendation, the Council could:

1.         Make additional amendments to the Policy; or

2.         Decline to endorse the Policy and rely on the current Policy. It is the opinion of officers that the scope of the current Policy does not sufficiently cover electronic means of attendance and the livestreaming of meetings, which is becoming an accepted practice for local government. 

CONCLUSION

A revised Policy ‘Recording and Livestreaming of Council Meetings’ is presented for Council’s approval.

TIMELINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF OFFICER RECOMMENDATION

The Policy will be placed on the City’s website within one week of Council adoption.

 


Policy and Legislation Committee

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28 October 2020

6.2

Attachment a

Proposed Council Policy Recording and Livestreaming of Council Meetings

 



Policy and Legislation Committee

29

28 October 2020

6.2

Attachment b

Current Policy - Audio Recording of Council Meetings

 


 


Policy and Legislation Committee                                  30                                                               28 October 2020

7.               General Discussion Items

 

8.               Next Meeting Date

 

9.               Closure