report from the roundtable – 23 oct
The last meeting of council for this term of councillors turned out to
be a much bigger event than the agenda conveyed. The gallery was packed with community members from the Dandenong Ranges (in my reckoning 200 plus), there to urge council to support a Supreme Court appeal in relation to the McDonalds VCAT decision.
In support of the Dandenong Ranges community push for council to lodge a Supreme Court
appeal I moved an urgent motion for council to lodge an appeal in relation to
the VCAT decision P3933/2011 McDonalds v Yarra Ranges Shire Council and others.
My first challenge was for the motion to be considered urgent, and
there was a great deal of urgency around it. This would be the only opportunity
for council to hear the matter given the tight timelines around lodging an
appeal (it’s due by 6 November).
Contrary to reports on social media, there is no window for a new council to
consider the matter. Councillors only become councillors after the statutory
meeting on 7 November. Councillors do not have the power to change the date of
this meeting. So the meeting last night was the only practical opportunity to
raise the issue.
Councillors agreed to hear the motion, which meant I didn’t have to
attempt to call a special council meeting for later this week.
In speaking to the motion I talked about the contentious nature of this
application, it has broken every record in Yarra Ranges, 1090 objections, 670
attending the council meeting, 320 objectors at VCAT, to me this defines it as the
most contentious planning application in Yarra Ranges history. I recalled to
councillors that we refused the application unanimously, based on 15 different
I reminded councillors of our role, to represent the community and we
would be doing the community a disservice by not lodging an appeal. I also
reminded councillors of the oath we took, “to undertake duties in the best
interests of the people”. If the people resoundingly say no, then we should be
saying no too.
In summing up I assured councillors that the intent of this motion was
in accordance with the Local Government Act and was within the provisions of
the caretaker period. I went on to say that the gallery (some 200 plus people)
was a small slice of the community and that for every 1 person who was for
McDonalds there were 100 against.
We supported the community when we heard the application and refused it
unanimously, we need to support them now. With that I urged councillors to
support the motion.
Disappointingly the motion was lost, the votes, 3 for and 6 against.
Cr’s Dunn, Cliff and McRae
Cr’s Warren, Cox, Templer, Avery, Higgins and Heenan
I know the Dandenong Ranges community, you will continue the fight and
I’ll be there fighting with you.
Labels: cr samantha dunn, mcdonalds, tecoma