Community outrage continues as word gets out about VCAT approving a
24hr McDonalds for Tecoma. The passion and energy of the community to continue to
fight this decision does not surprise me. It is characteristic of the people of
the Dandenong Ranges. Our connection to place is deep seated and our sense of
community strong. The community are not going to take this lying down.
So far there’s two online petitions going
In an act of reclaiming the space, the community have organised Reclaim
Tecoma from McDonalds – Community Garden planting, you can find out more on
The tribunal decision makes for disappointing reading (you can read a copy
here). When I read the 56 pages, it seemed I was at a different hearing to the
Tribunal Members. They have paid scant regard to the 320 written objections to
VCAT or to the 30 community submitters at the hearing.
The residents live and breathe Tecoma, they know what it’s like to
traverse Burwood Highway, they understand the character of the area, their
intrinsic understanding of place has been utterly ignored.
There’s been no recognition of the built form issues, we’ll still be
getting a boxy, blocky, bulky building out of character with the Tecoma
Village. The traffic issues raised fell on deaf ears as tribunal members
accepted that a McDonalds would only generate 1 extra car in the Burwood Hwy
traffic queue and the issue of ‘rat running’ through local streets has been
disregarded all together. The context of the Tecoma township has not been taken
into account at all, highlighting the bluntness of the planning scheme when interpreted
in it’s most basic form.
Reading the permit conditions makes for gloomy reading. In terms of
built form the only concessions were tokenistic with the roof now to be a subdued
and non-reflective material and colour, the ‘blades’ on the north and the
canopy to be muted tones, a timber treatment on the blank wall to the west and the
use of local stone for the vertical column (blade signage) rather than stacked
stone out the front. The canopy along Burwood Highway is to be reduced to a
width on no more than 3m and be painted in subdued brown, green or ochre
As a concession to residences to the west a 2.7m high transparent
timber screen has been included to mimimise the visability of the Customer
Ordering Devices. The bicycle parking will now need to be separated in an
enclosure under the building not stuck up the back of the loading dock where they
were in the original plans.
Minor tinkering with signage includes the deletion of the flagpoles and
banner, one thank you sign, a small wall sign at the front and either the
deletion of another thankyou sign or welcome sign and the replacement of a wall
sign that was 3.87m x .45m with one that measures .93m x .77m. The enormous
5.25m wide sign at the rear has not been changed through permit conditions,
however will be required to be turned off between 10pm and 7am.
In terms of the landscaping, the planter boxes to the front are to be reduced
in extent and height. If the Liquid Ambar gets removed a suitable replacement
native tree is to be planted, the trees originally planned to line the drive
through, White Cedars, are to be replaced with a species of tall slender native
Lighting will need to achieve the recommendations of the “Dark
Surrounds Residential Areas” (part of Aust Standards 4282-1997) for the dwellings
at 85,87 and 89 Sandells Rd and baffling required to limit views to external
lighting in the car park and drive through for residential areas to the north
and west of the site.
The permit conditions include a clause on the preparation of a Litter
Management Plan which among other things means the McDonalds will need signage within
the restaurant and adjacent to the drive through food collection booths advising
patrons that they are within the scenic Dandenongs and encouraging patrons to
not litter public areas and road side reserves. They’ll also be required to conduct
a litter patrol each day that the premises are open for trading to the public
within a 200 metre radius of the site to collect and dispose of any litter
emanating from the site.
Deliveries can’t take place between the hours of 10pm and 7am, a small
concession to nearby residential areas.
Another permit condition includes the construction of left and right
turning lanes in Sandells Rd which will see the centre line of Sandells Rd
moved closer to the angled carparking near DVD Destination therefore narrowing
the northbound lane of Sandells Rd. This will create a very interesting dynamic
when someone is pulled up to turn right into Burwood Hwy from Sandells Rd and a
bus turns right from McNicol, on to Burwood Hwy and attempts to turn left into
Sandells Rd as submissions provided to the Tribunal indicate that a narrowed Sandells
Rd means buses will have to cross the centre line to make the turn and if there’s
a car waiting to turn right into Burwood Hwy, the bus wont be able to make the
Pedestrians will now have a marked crossing point at the rear of the
building and the conditions require details of pedestrian safety measures in
the northbound aisle of the carriageway to Burwood Hwy adjacent to the loading
bay (this is the ‘entry’ way from Burwood Hwy). There’s also conditions that
are subject to the consent of adjacent landowners that there be details of the provision,
cost and maintenance of car parking and traffic management measures including
speed control devices, directional signage, car parking information and
restrictions including any signs designating car parking areas for particular
premises between identified times. This is to cover off on McDonalds traffic
management, car parking and signage on other people’s land but those landowners
must consent if it’s to happen.
The conditions provide the framework of how the plans and construction are
undertaken. It’s sobering to see so few concessions to community or councillor concerns.
But rest assured I will stand united with the community in what is the third
round of this battle.
Labels: cr samantha dunn, mcdonalds, tecoma, vcat