Cape Paterson Scheme To Go To Council
Bass Coast Shire Council will vote on whether it will give notice of intention to declare the Cape Paterson road and drainage project at the 19 February meeting.
This is the start of the democratic process.
This will give all affected property owners and others in the community to make submissions on the Special Charge Scheme.
Council’s Infrastructure Director, Felicity Sist, said the notice of intention to declare the Scheme and the following submission period is part of a legislated process.
“In fairness to both those that want the project to go ahead and those that do not want the project to go ahead, Council must undertake the legislated process to determine the level of support,” Ms Sist said.
“If the majority of property owners decide that they do not want the project to go ahead, then it will not proceed. The resources for this project will be reallocated to the next upgrade on our priority list,”
Council understands there are people within the proposed schemes that do not have the ability to pay a special charge, particularly those on fixed incomes.
Bass Coast was one of the first councils in Victoria that recognised major road and drainage infrastructure upgrades can cause financial stress to those that do not have the ability to pay due to their circumstances, such as pensioners.
This is why Council has a policy with provisions to deal with the possible financial hardship that a special charge may cause.
Council’s Corporate Services Director, Steve Piasente said around 10 per cent of property owners within the proposed Cape Paterson scheme currently receive a pensioner concession rebate.
“It is likely that these property owners will qualify for assistance from Council for flexible payment options as part of the scheme,” Mr Piasente said.
“Other property owners can also apply in order to determine if a suitable payment arrangement can be put in place in line with Council’s policy surrounding financial hardship.
“Every individual property owner’s circumstances will be considered confidentially, with respect in a non-judgemental manner.”
Mr Piasente said it was important for residents to understand a special charge is a charge of the property, not the person.
“This means that there is no risk that Council would sell the property to ensure payment of the debt,” Mr Piasente said.
“As mentioned, our provisions ensure that individual owners do not suffer from financial hardship as a result of the special charge.”
More information on the proposed Cape Paterson Special Charge Scheme can be found at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/capescs.