Friday, November 14, 2008

the tecoma supermarket application – the public meeting

Last night I was invited to a public meeting to discuss the Tecoma Supermarket application. It was a very hot and oppressive night but in spite of the hot weather many community members came out to share their concerns and get some pointers about what to address in their objections.

I estimate there was around 150 – 200 people there and a quick show of hands indicated that 99% of those there were against the application. There was also a couple in support of the application.

I asked for Shire of Yarra Ranges staff to come along to answer any questions the community may have, our traffic engineer and two executive statutory planners were kept busy with a vast array of questions from the community.

Today I’ve had some terrific feedback from community members about the meeting, people were pleased about the level of contact with planners and the fact that I was there listening to them and their concerns along with two of my colleagues.

I reiterated to the community my position in relation to the application...

As the councillor for Tecoma I am here to listen to you. No decision has been made. It is not council’s application but council is the responsible authority and it is up to council to weigh up the merits of the application against the planning scheme but it is NOT council’s application.

Many people in the community have asked what my view of the supermarket application in Tecoma is, I can understand your need to know as the application is a significant development for the region.

Councillors must be fair to both objectors and applicants and consider all the facts before them prior to making a decision. The 'bias rule' of natural justice requires decision makers not only to be impartial but to conduct themselves so that no fair minded person might reasonably believe the decision maker was biased.

It would be unfair of me to state a position prior to this application coming to council. I know this is frustrating for you, the community but I want to make sure that I am sitting at the table representing you when the time comes to vote.

I can assure you I will take into account each and every one of the matters raised in submissions (both for and against), to date council has received over 400 objections and 1 letter of support.

I have always listened to the community and I always will, I want to be at the table representing the community when the time comes to vote on the Tecoma Supermarket application.

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