Wednesday, August 29, 2012

birdsland discovery day - have your say on the masterplan

Cr Samantha Dunn on the boardwalk over the wetlands
area of this high conservation bushland reserve.
Join with me, the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group and the Shire's Environment team for the Birdsland Discovery Day.

The day will celebrate this unique reserve and give community members a chance to learn about the draft Birdsland master plan.

Yarra Ranges council wants to hear what you think about the master plan, this is a 10 year plan that will steer what happens at our much loved Birdsland Reserve.

I'll be there will be there to listen to your views.

But there's much, much more:
Kids Activities
Story Tent
Espresso Coffee - yes the real thing
Planting Event
Nature Walks
Food is available too.

Thanks to Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group for their support.

Want to know more email Gavin Prentice on
Can't wait till then? You can check out the Draft Birdsland Masterplan here.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 27, 2012

time to get on board again

It's nearly time to get back on board the No Maccas express, the appeal for McDonalds in Tecoma will recommence at VCAT on Monday 3rd of September and is scheduled for 2 days (Mon 3 and Tues 4).

No Maccas in the Hills are coordinating the No Maccas Express, departs Belgrave Station at 8:31am (last carriage), might see you on board.

The hearings commence 10am daily and VCAT is located at 55 King Street, Melbourne.

You can find out campaign info at the No Maccas in the Hills website.

One of our community's more creative submissions, Hambuggery by Joy Serwylo.

by Joy Serwylo

My Daddy drove me up to see
The forest lush and green,
When I was just a babe in arms
And hardly even weaned.
He held me in his arms and sang
And showed me birds and trees.
He marvelled at the grandeur
Of the forest in the breeze.
Though I was far too young to know
He wanted me to feel,
How precious was this lovely place
How sacred and surreal.

Well, I grew up but always longed
for forests rich and green.
To live where good folk knew my name,
To breathe air fresh and clean.
To share in a community,
Believe in what is good.
To put my faith in honesty
And do the best I could.
And part of that, is cherishing
The gifts that we’ve been given.
Not always wanting greater, bigger,
Always being driven.

We’re just a little village
And we don’t want huge and tall,
We don’t need fast food megamarts
Or fancy shopping malls.
We don’t want yellow lights all night
With all their advertising.
Or that awful black box building
Spewing out those fast food wrappings
We’re fighting rampant urban sprawl
And cooperate domination,
That says to us that “we need this”
But feels like strangulation.
And all that extra traffic
Clogging up our little roads.
If we’d had really thought it out
We’d never have cane toads.

Well, its clear I am no poet,
I’m an artist, I just paint.
And the reason that I live up there
Is that its never changed.
Now, I understand there’s “progress”,
And there’s “moving up and on”.
But mega modern fast food joints
Don’t fit our sleepy town.
Tecoma’s far from perfect,
Its a cute and small and neat.
A tourist spot, a family place
A holiday retreat.
Please let our hometown stay the way
that we want it to be,
Without a truckstop mega drivethru
huge hamburgery.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

three one six oh! calling for entries

Yes it's that time again, for short film makers to submit your work to the Three One Six Oh! short film festival.

The Yarra Ranges Council supports this event through our cultural and festivals community grants program. I'm also pleased to provide funding for best film award.

Entries open - now
Deadline - 30 September, 2012
Festival Date - 1 December, 2012
Where - Cameo Outdoor Cinema, Belgrave
Submit online -

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

samantha in the press - swinburne

Yarra Ranges Council attacks Gembrook MP over Swinburne campus closure
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
23 August 2012

Labels: , ,

birdsland discovery day

Mark the 9th September in your diary, it's Birdsland Discovery Day.

Enjoy this wonderful reserve and discover what's been proposed in the Draft Birdsland Masterplan at the same time. Back at council's meeting on the 24th July,we endorsed the draft to go out for public comment.

When: Sunday 9th September, 11am to 3pm
Where: Main Picnic Ground, Birdsland Reserve, 271 Mt Morton Rd, Belgrave Heights

Council officers and environmental volunteers will be there to talk about the masterplan. I'll be there as well to listen to your views.

Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group will also be on hand to show off one of the Shire's most unique reserves.

The day will include:
Kids activities
Story Tent
Espresso Coffee - that's right the real stuff!
Planting event
Nature Walks 
and there's food available too.

If you'd like to know more you can email Gavin at 

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

fire ops plan - out for public comment

Fire Operations Plans outline where DSE and Parks Victoria intend to carry out fire prevention and preparedness activities on Victoria’s public land over the next three years.
These activities include planned burning, slashing, mowing and clearing works, creating and maintaining fuel breaks and fire infrastructure maintenance.
The Fire Operations Plans are reviewed annually and updated with the latest local information to help the DSE work out what, where and how often to burn.
The plans are also shaped by conversations DSE and Parks Victoria have with stakeholders and Victorian communities throughout the year. They develop the plans in consultation with community members, local councils, Melbourne Water, forest managers, CFA, wineries, tourism boards, flora and fauna specialists and any other parties who register their interest.
Here's your opportunity to have your say about what's proposed, if you'd like to know more visit the DSE's website here.

Please note public comment will close on the 31 August, 2012.

Labels: , , ,

frocking up for fashion meets fiction

It was terrific to be able to launch the Fashion meets Fiction exhibition coming up at Burrinja.

Fashion meets Fiction is the Eastern Regional Library Corporation's way of marking the National Year of Reading 2012.

Charlotte Smith, Linda Dalziel, Jilly Higgs and
Cr Samantha Dunn. It was wonderful to see
some of the pieces of the Darnell Collection, with
the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s being worn by
Charlotte, Linda and Jilly.

Fashion meets Fiction is an exciting and innovative exhibition concept that brings together the love of popular fiction and its many famous colourful characters with the cultural trend towards high end fashion, and particularly period pieces.

Cr Samantha Dunn, Charlotte Smith, Shannon
Anderson from Guide Dogs Victoria, Willow
the Guide Dog and Marion Boyce
(costume designer for Phyrne Fisher).
The exhibition will travel through time and the popular culture and fiction of the periods, drawing together the threads of character, period, fashion and finery.

Visitors will be able to see what Phryne Fisher might have worn on her adventures, how Elizabeth Bennet might have looked as she sparred with Mr Darcy or how Holly Golightly dressed on her visit to Tiffanys.

The Eastern Regional Libraries has proudly partnered with Guide Dogs Victoria as our charity partner and is also sponsored by Computers for All and Digital Education Services.

There's an exciting range of events around the exhibition including a catwalk event, cocktail evening, night time viewings, workshops, education programs, Valentine's Day event, meet the author sessions with Kerry Greenwood and opportunities to meet Charlotte Smith, custodian and curator of the the Darnell Collection and author of Dreaming of Dior and Dreaming of Chanel, which have been exceedlingly popular and now into new editions due to demand.

It will provide a great opportunity for local businesses, including B&B's, who can leverage off the exhibition.  If you're a local business and would like to explore the opportunities you can contact Lorraine Seeger at ERL on

To keep up to date with exhibition details visit Burrinja here.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

samantha in the press - swinburne

Council attacks MP on Lilydale campus closure
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
21 August 2012

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 20, 2012

samantha in the press - public transport

Case Study: 2 buses for 10km trip
Leader Newspapers
by Kylie Adoranti
20 August 2012

Labels: , , , , ,

tafe4all, swinburne lilydale, the impacts continue

Me with Amie and Jacinta, students at Swinburne
Lilydale. Last week Amie spoke to us about
the impacts the closure will have on students.
Last week I attended the TAFE4All rally in Melbourne, I was there to support locals also attending.

The petitions so far, in the thousands.

At its meeting of 12 June, the majority of Yarra Ranges Councillors voted to support the TAFE4All campaign. At our meeting of 10 July, we unanimously resolved to write to local, state and federal members of parliament expressing concern regarding the state government’s decision to reduce funding to the sector, which has resulted in Swinburne University of Technology’s announcement that it will close its Lilydale campus. To support students we’ve also had copies of the petitions available at all of our community links throughout the shire.

As has been well documented, Swinburne University of Technology will close its Lilydale campus, with up to 240 staff to lose their jobs. 

TAFE courses in hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism will no longer be offered. With health related courses in nursing, community health, childcare, children’s services and home and community care will be a direct blow to the skills base of Yarra Ranges.

The march took up a few blocks from the State
Library to Parliament House.
This decision will see withdrawal of the following opportunities for local students:
·6 post graduate courses
.6 research courses
·69 TAFE courses
·26 undergraduate courses

Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik was at the rally.
The same day in Parliament she raised the
 issue of training rorts, you can read more
 in hansard.
Similarly, the closure will impact international student options with the loss of:
·3 research courses
·9 TAFE courses
·27 undergraduate courses

The decision comes after the Victorian government slashed $290 million from TAFE funding in the 2012/13 budget. Swinburne had $35 million cut from its budget for this financial year.

The Economic Development Unit of the Shire has analysed the economic impacts to the region. As a result of the closure of Swinburne will see a substantial loss of jobs in the education and training sector for our municipal economy.

At this stage definitive numbers on the amount of job losses that will be lost from the Lilydale campus across teaching, administrative support and maintenance staff has not been fully detailed by the University.

Whilst these NMIT students performed 'We are the
Champions', the Lilydale students leapt up on the stage.
The education sector is the sixth most important sector for output and is the third most significant sector of employment in Yarra Ranges (source Remplan 2012). Any impact to this sector will be immediately felt within the municipality leaving a significant challenge to replace this economic activity. Furthermore, the negative social impacts to our community by reduced access and opportunities for higher education will be significant and long term in effect.

If the assumption that the loss of direct jobs is 240, this loss corresponds to a decrease in output of approximately $26 million to the municipal economy. From this direct contraction in the economy, flow on impacts of the reduced purchasing of local goods and services could result in the loss of a further 25 jobs, as well as secondary job losses which could generate a further 51 job losses.

Modelling completed by the Shire’s Economic Development Unit shows that the cumulative loss is as much as $46 million for our local economy when you take into account the direct, industrial and consumption effect of the losses.

Add to this the harrowing story of Swinburne Students, who we heard from at last week’s council meeting, who will have to face 2 hour plus one way trip to alternate campuses to access their courses, would you travel 4 hours a day?

It is even more galling when considering the response of the Member for Gembrook who says “the government welcomes the strengthened focus on these areas” (science and technology.. by Swinburne) and goes on to say that the decisions made by Swinburne “makes sense”. Tell that to students in the Upper Yarra who now have to travel a considerably longer time to take up vocational education. 

If you’d like to keep in touch with what’s happening you can visit the TAFE4All website or Save Swinburne Lilydale/Prahran Campus facebook site.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

fundraiser for forests

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

women in leadership, inspiring

Pictured from left to right: Deputy Dean Eddie Blass -
Swinburne, Cr Jeanette McRae - Ryrie Ward, 
Cr Samantha Dunn - Lyster Ward, Ronni Kahn -
Ozharvest, Margaret Brooks and Jessica Cruff. 
One of my favourite events in the calendar is the Women in Leadership, Be Inspired forum, a partnership between the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Swinburne - Lilydale.

This year's forum heard from Ronni Kahn, founder of OzHarvest Food Rescue, a non-denominational charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be discarded. This excess food is distributed to charities supporting the vulnerable in Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide and Brisbane. Ronni is looking to set up in Melbourne soon.

Ronni's story certainly inspired women attending that night. Following Ronni's presentation was a panel session which included experiences, stories and advice from Yarra Ranges Councillor Jeanette McRae, Yarra Ranges Ian de la Rue Award recipient 2012 Margaret Brooks and 2012 Swinburne University Scholarship recipient Jessica Cruff.

I was delighted to be able to talk about the importance of women in local government, a topic that is dear to my heart. If you're thinking of running in the upcoming local government elections click here for more information. 

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 17, 2012

making history in belgrave

I was delighted to join with BRAG and the community to
officially launch the Heritage Walking Tour.
What a glorious winter day welcomed the official launch of the Self Guided Heritage Walking Tour of Belgrave.

My congratulations to the team at BRAG, Liz, Ian and Dianne, you've done a marvellous job organising the plaques, the designs and installing them throughout the township.

Jean, a Tecoma local who joined the tour representing the Historical Society, has lived in the area her whole 94 years. It was terrific to learn more about the rich history of Belgrave and how it developed in the early 1900's.
I've been pleased to support the project and encourage you to pick up a Self Guided Heritage Walking Tour brochure and explore our rich history.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

samantha in the press - planning

McHearing rolls on
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
16 August 2012

Burger battle sizzles on in Tecoma
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Claire Thwaites
14 August 2012

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

national tree day hits lysterfield

It's great to plant up this riparian area on the Monbulk
Creek with indigenous species. Monbulk Creek
is important habitat for local platypus populations.
What a terrific day out planting up in Lysterfield Park with community members. Supported by Parks Victoria, the Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery and the Shire of Yarra Ranges, in very wintery conditions a team of 30 people planted 600 trees and shrubs in Lysterfield Park.

From Left to right: Cr Samantha Dunn - Lyster Ward,
Garrique Pergl - President Southern Dandenongs
Community Nursery, Anton Pergl - Committee
Member SDCN and Andrew Van Vloten - Parks
Victoria Ranger for Lysterfield Park.
Parks Victoria have done a lot of work along the streamside to kill the woody weeds, it was great to be able to plant Manna Gums as well as a whole range of understorey plants to take their place.

Its surprising how quickly a site can be revegetated
when many hands take part.

This planting sees revegetation take place right up to the boundary of Lysterfield Park, ensuring that it continues to be a place for native fauna so dependent on the high conservation bushland in this area.

Well done to all, many hands make light work, even in very muddy and wet conditions. 

Even under adverse conditions community members came out to be part of National
Tree Planting Day, it was also great to have Sea Shepherd volunteers there to help.

Planted right up to the boundary with the Monbulk Creek at the rear, Parks Victoria
provided great support on the day.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, August 13, 2012

2nd annual th'ink tank project

2nd Annual Th'INK Tank Project

CJ and Brent from Limerence have announced the time has come again, for their annual hills community illustration competition. The Th'INK Tank Project has come to a close and it's time to present the entries, and winners, to us, and I for one can't wait. 

It's a terrific project, last year's inaugural project was a great success and showcased some amazing ink art on t'shirts.

Each year Limerence open entries to anyone who lives in the Shire of Yarra Ranges to submit a work in the form of a black and white image, of any medium on a particular theme - This years theme is 'Forest'. 

Limerence proprietors and artists CJ and Brent, they
are the driving force behind the Th'INK Tank Project.
Now that entries are closed Brent and CJ begin the arduous task of determining a winning design (or two) to be printed on a limited edition series of 100% organic fair trade cotton t-shirts, and as of this year, 100% organic cotton hoodies also.  It is a community event is designed to get locals excited about art, to help be a platform for young and emerging artists, and to create some truly enique and exciting clothing to be sold from their store. 

Be sure to mark Friday August 31st between 6pm and 8pm in your diary to celebrate the fantastic work of our local artists.  Limerence are located at 2/1642 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave. On the night the Limerence team will be announcing the winning design and releasing the t-shirts and hoodies for sale.

It's sure to be a great night, I'll look forward to seeing you there. 

If you need any more info check the Limerence facebook site or email

Labels: , , , , ,

mcdonalds appeal - day 6

The community has continued
to be passionate about this
Day 6 of the hearing started at 2:15pm, in deference to Wilf Wharton’s funeral to allow community members to attend without having to make a decision between being at the tribunal or the funeral. I certainly thank the tribunal for their sensitivity and understanding.

First up some preliminary matters with Ms Mimi Marcus (for Yarra Ranges council) around the planning application for 1525 Burwood Hwy (Saffron Cottage), a locality plan showing where objectors are located (for some reason McDonalds seem to think our objectors aren’t local) and a schedule of signage, indicating that the signage application for approval equals 47.7 sq mtrs, clearly exceeding that allowed as of right.

Next Mr Townshend SC for McDonalds reported that in the context of two additional days of hearing with reflection of the number of submissions and the hope to have a resultant well crafted permit condition, the applicant was working on a revised permit conditions (with tracked changes) for consideration around the lighting to represent a more dynamic light management plan with a short memo to explain the detail of the proposal.

Member Carew asked for the information to be ready by 24 Aug as it is quite complex for residents.

Member Rundell suggested to community members there today that they look at the permit conditions and make comments and include as part of the right of reply.

At 2:31 Ms Porter (for McDonalds) introduced Landscape Architect, Mr Atkinson from Urbis. Mr Atkinson went through the detail of how he came to develop the landscape plan, taking into the account the design objectives, visiting the site taking note of the context and broader surrounding area. On his inspection he made a number of changes to the original landscape plan submitted with the planning application.

Those changes include change of plants along the car park boundary, particularly in the garden bed which had been widened. He talked about the planting along the residential interface which includes Blackwoods intended to grow up above the acoustic fence to a height of 8mt. He went on to talk about plantings in the garden beds, near the disabled car park and in the planter boxes, the materials used on the building, suggesting that the stacked stone was in character within Yarra Ranges. He also said that the veranda blends with the character of the existing streetscape and the flat roof was pleasing as it continued to feature hills to the north.

Ms Mimi Marcus was the first to cross examine Mr Atkinson around the species selected and their fire resistance, she also raised questions around a eucalyptus on a neighbouring private property.

Anne Elizabeth, community submitter, was next to cross examine Mr Atkinson. She raised issues around the existing Liquidamber suggesting that putting a path and seating under the tree had inherent dangers due to the size of seed pods dropped by this species and encouraging pedestrians more so than what occurs on site now. Mr Atkinson said that these were issues to be considered as part of the maintenance program for the site.

Anne went on to query the use of White Cedars along the driveway, also known for their prolific seed pods. Mr Atkinson explained that these were a subspecies that produce less seeds, however confirmed that they do produce seeds. When the issue of pedestrian safety was raised by Anne, Mr Atkinson said he doesn’t expect many people to be walking through this area, however did concede that people would be walking through (the drive through is also the access to car parking), he once again reiterated that the seed pods were an issue to be taken up as part of the maintenance program.

Anne raised issues around the use of Convolvulus, a member of the bindweed family, Mr Atkinson said it was a cultivar for use in planter boxes and garden beds and concluded it was a very safe weed, drought resistant and very hardy. Anne suggested that the use of Convolvulus send a message to people that it’s alright to plant this species, a known weed in Yarra Ranges, Mr Atkinson accepted what she was saying and said it could be easily modified on the plan but stands by it not being an environmental weed.

Anne asked if the plants in the EVC Mountain Grey Damp Forest had been incorporated into the design. Mr Atkinson said the Lightwoods (Acacia) and Yellow Box (Eucalyptus) were included in the EVC, but he also drew upon the McDonalds Landscaping Guidelines to inform the plan.

Anne raised issues around the White Cedar becoming a problem along local waterways, of most concern the nearby Monbulk Creek, however Mr Atkinson did not agree they were a threat and read a brief explanation of the habit of the species out of the Metropolitan Trees Handbook. Anne went on to ask if Mr Atkinson understood the environmental sensitivity of the Yarra Ranges which is greater than metropolitan Melbourne, Mr Atkinson said he had approached the plan that way.

Community submitter, Roz Yeung, also raised a query around the use of Chinese Star Jasmine, Mr Atkinson said the plan was suggested planting at a concept phase.

After the cross examination the Tribunal Members raised a number of issues around the landscape plan.

Member Carew asked about the Liquidambar and pedestrian access to the area, the acoustic fence treatment proposed for 1535 Burwood Highway (on land outside of the proposal – at DVD Destination) where Mr Atkinson confirmed there was consent from the owner to build the fence, the landscape buffers, the ability to relocate the weeping birch (outside Saffron Cottage) and a range of other questions.

Member Rundell also asked questions around the Liquidambar, whether the climbers would need netting or support to grow along the fence line, how many years before the trees would be an effective screen to the site, irrigation and the use of water tanks, the dependence on a good maintenance scheme, the ability of the drive through planting to grow to its full potential, whether landscape bonds were an appropriate mechanism to get effective outcomes, finishing his questions by saying landscaping was a very important part of this development.

Ms Porter (for McDonalds) then continued her re-examination and asked about the width of landscape planting and how it interfaces with neighbouring properties and also made mention of the large outstand to the rear which includes a Eucalyptus Melliodora (Yellow Box).

After the examination was over Mr Townshend SC suggested we were on a reasonably tight leash and should not proceed beyond what we’d agreed. He invited tribunal members to visit other stores and said at a corporate level an internal set of guidelines were in use. Mr Townshend SC went on to say the corporate application to landscaping was driven by a desire to use less water, so there’s an internal return. The plans are over a span of 30 – 40 years and take on a generic quality and with that tabled a set of McDonalds Landscape Guidelines for the tribunal’s consideration.

The day ended with Ms Marcus reporting back that it was council’s view that no permit was required for the fence under Clause 53.

The day ended a little earlier at around 4pm.

The hearing will continue on Monday 3rd September and has been listed for two days (3 and 4 Sept). Next up, traffic experts and if it sticks to what was first intended it will be Mr Hunt from Cardno.

I’ll keep you posted.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 10, 2012

mcdonalds appeal - day 5

Community members came out in droves to the
No McDonalds meeting held in May 2011.
Last day of the hearing for this week, it opened with the community refuting the claims that the community had attacked the brand throughout the submission process, this clearly hasn’t been the case.

Mr Townshend SC continued his submission on behalf of McDonalds. He spoke about the need for tribunal members to look at objective facts around the attributes of the building and highlighted that much of what had been heard so far related to use, such as intensity, activity, role and function, all issues of use raised by a number of objectors.

He went on to urge the tribunal members not to gauge the response by the number of objectors, saying those who support the application aren’t inclined to participate in the process and spoke to one letter of support he’d seen suggesting this Tecoma local was looking forward to a “decent cup of coffee”.

He made particular reference to the submission by Jamie Walvisch, saying that this proposal and the Romsey proposal (for pokie machines) were not the same and cannot be compared in terms of measuring social effect.

He said the proposal will provide a multipurpose function in the town, providing convenience needs in the centre, that it would rejuvenate Tecoma by bringing additional customers to the centre and support local employment for younger people. He went on to say the proposal included an attractive dining place for all ages and mobility, it would reduce car trips and provided safe and clean surrounds. 

Mr Townshend SC went on to mention the permit issued for Saffron Cottage (note: this permit has not been issued as it is being taken to appeal by objectors). At that point Member Rundell asked for futher detail. Mr Townshend SC did say  it was a Section 2 use (note: this means permit required) in a Low Density Residential Zone, that council had accepted activity extended on the end of the Business Zone and was interested in the attitude and approach of that new building in the street, suggesting the application got through because Saffron Cottage weren’t selling hamburgers.

He talked about the residential interface saying that it was an existing interface and relationship which was not changing materially due to the proposal.

He talked about the Supermarket decision/application saying it was a hopeless comparison and there was no basis for this building (McDonalds) to be characterised as large, borne out by a simple comparison of the plans, he then proceeded to compare the footprint of plans, frontage and elevations of this proposal and the supermarket.  He reminded tribunal members that the ultimate decision by the tribunal was that is could be a supermarket but a smaller supermarket. He said the proposal was balanced, compatible with the established character, with generous setback and landscaped car park.
He made particular mention of the council officer’s report and with regard to the Shire’s Urban Design internal referral (requested by Member Carew on Thursday) said it was hopelessly flawed and generic in the comments. He said that Mr Radisich had made a cheap point with regard to the hang over public land (the veranda signage).
Mr Townshend SC went on to talk about the articulation of facades, the contemporary version of canopy which defines the street and maintains the existing fine grain vertical articulation as well as signage, lighting, amenity, scale and impact.

Member Rundell asked Mr Townshend SC as the land abuts Low Density Residential Zoning (LDRZ) does that elevate amenity standards. Mr Townshend SC said no, neither in potential or practical terms, that zoning was in name only as there were medium density developments to the rear of the site. You can’t say you have to be kinder because it’s LDRZ.
He went on to say that any permit conditions that apply must be fair and reasonable, and questioned whether a reduction of operating hours (from 24 hours per day) was fair and reasonable.

Both tribunal members asked a number of questions that covered off on the Patron Management Plan (PMP), conditions about turning off signage at night, noise from CODs at night, closure of half the drive through at night time, the Torquay case (where protecting the foreshore amenity was discussed).

At 12:01pm, the first expert witness for McDonalds, Stuart McGurn took the stand to present evidence based on his expert planning report. He opened by saying the proposal meets the purposes of the State Planning Policy, meets the purposes of the zone and Melbourne 2030 which suggests activity centres should have a broader range of use over a greater spread of hours. He said, “I think we do meet the thrust of policy guidelines”. 

He talked about the proposal covering the elements of built form. He did criticise the southern wall of the corral suggesting that it should have either the timber or stacked stone treatment. He talked about the significant benefit of revamped car park which at the moment is unlit, not safe and quite poor and said the landscaping and lighting will be a significant benefit for the site and the centre.

When talking about the signage he said there was no detriment, it did not contribute visual clutter and in describing the blade, called it relatively restrained. Mr McGurn also highlighted 2 things he thought the PMP lacked, litter control was not included as well as regular patrols of the car park area, he thought they should be included. He went on the say he was supportive of the 24 hours operation as a reasonable proposition.

After a big morning we broke for lunch.

On return from lunch the community raised another point of clarification, as part of Mr Townshend SC’s submission he talked about the community consultation inferring it had been consultation. David Jewell said it was a PowerPoint presentation, not a consultation, about a McDonalds restaurant on the site. Member Rundell suggested to David that these were matters that could be pursued as part of the right of reply.

Member Carew said that they cannot give a lot of weight to it, as it relates to a past application.

At 2:20pm Mimi Marcus commenced her cross examination of Mr McGurn on behalf of council. Ms Marcus asked questions around the difference between amenity and character and how character could be defined and if there is agreement that cumulative aspects that contribute to neighbourhood character. She went on to ask about the building being like a corner site, particularly focussing on the blank wall greeting people to the West. Mr McGurn said he didn’t think the wall is particularly blank as it had a modulation in forms but could be improved with stacked stone or timber finish.

As part of cross examination by Ms Marcus, Mr McGurn agreed there were 12 signs along the frontage. Ms Marcus asked if he was familiar with clause 22.04 and the need to avoid repetitive signage. Mr McGurn said he didn’t agree the signs were repetitive.

Ms Marcus asked Mr McGurn if he’d visited the site at night time, which he confirmed once at midnight and once at 6pm, he confirmed it was certainly quiet at midnight. Ms Marcus went on to ask questions about the PMP, lighting and noise.

Next up to cross examine Mr McGurn was David Hall, owner of 1527 Burwood Hwy. He queried what materials were being used for the loading bay and highlighted concerns about the visual impact of the loading bay. Mr McGurn said he was not concerned about their amenity (the people in the offices/shops opposite the proposal), particularly as the height of the loading bay wall was 2.7mt and stepped in the middle.

Karl Williams was next to cross examine Mr McGurn. He raised questions around light spill, lighting, advertising signage, Mr McGurn's qualifications and the ability of the lighting to meet Australian Standards. On numerous occasions Mr McGurn stated he was not a lighting expert or engineer and suggested that permit conditions are the appropriate mechanism to ensure lighting compliance with Australian Standards.

Next to cross examine Mr McGurn was Claire Ferres-Miles. She asked questions around bushfire and fire management plans on Code Red days, the typical built form of Tecoma (where 77.8% of commercial buildings directly abut the footpath). She made mention of the new elevations designed to improve the interface, dated 27/06/12, that it had taken 6 weeks to have them circulated.

She went on to ask about the planter boxes at the front of the building, lowered to improve the public/private interface even though the McDonalds signage remained at a higher level. She asked questions about the relative scale of the building in comparison to others in Tecoma.

As part of the cross examination Mr McGurn said the blade is a useful architectural element and accepts that it also holds signage. Claire went on to ask about any other examples of stacked stone in Tecoma suggesting that it is not consistent with the character of Tecoma.

The issue of the two flagpoles was raised, as they don’t appear on any of the elevation plans. The visual bulk of the building was also questioned with specific mention of the blade protruding and interrupting the view line to the backdrop of Tecoma.  Mr McGurn confirmed he had come to the opinion that the building did not have an unreasonable impact on the view line from the forest, even though he hadn’t visited Sherbrooke Forest and looked toward the subject site.

Lastly Claire tackled the issue of whether McDonalds is a ‘destination’ venue, as we’d heard Mr Townshend SC declare that it was not the day before. Claire led Mr McGurn through a series of questions in relation to birthday parties, which saw him confirm that the venue is indeed a destination.

At 4:07pm Tim Radisich began his cross examination of Mr McGurn. He raised questions around the context of the site, the functionality of the disabled car park, the levels across the site and how to access the site once parked.

Mr McGurn said he couldn’t understand how it would be difficult to use the CODs at the current grade, when asked where other McDonalds drive throughs were located on a slope, Mr McGurn said he was not personally aware of one. Mr McGurn said that you might get some view of the CODs although there was significant landscaping on the site. 

Tim continued to ask questions around lighting, the terrace lighting and the views from neighbouring residential properties. Member Carew asked questions around the PMP and conditions around closing the back of the drive through.

Member Carew went on to ask about the materials and finishes. She said she was driving on Victoria Parade last night and noticed a McDonalds there which also had stacked stone pillars. Mr McGurn said that this store (Tecoma) was particularly different, different to others highlighting the Malvern store didn’t have that style. He went on saying he’s not saying it’s not in other McDonalds stores, the fact it’s been used in other stores doesn’t mean it’s rolled out in all stores and that the stacked stone treatment seemed appropriate for this site.

Member Carew went on to ask about the interior layout, the pedestrian connections and the disconnect between the car park and frontage.

At 5pm Member Rundell thanked everyone for the contribution over the week in the spirit of respect. Prior to closing Member Carew requested a copy of the 1525 Burwood Hwy planning application (Saffron Cottage), a map plan of council/VCAT objectors and confirmation of the signage applications council believes are necessary.

Mr Radisich advised the tribunal that the 1525 Burwood Hwy application was a matter before the tribunal. He also said that as he had no issue with the landscape response he would not be in attendance on Monday.

As part of final comments the community thanked the tribunal members for allowing us to go to our friend’s funeral.

Member Rundell reaffirmed that Monday’s hearing would commence at 2:15pm to hear the landscape evidence and passed on the tribunal’s condolences to the community and the family.

I’m thankful of the Tribunal’s sympathy around the issue of Wilf’s funeral and thank them for their thoughtfulness in adjusting their schedule around what is a sensitive issue in our local community.

Labels: , , , ,

eXTReMe Tracker