Monday, August 06, 2012

mcdonalds appeal - day 1

Well day one of the hearing saw over 30 community members in the gallery to support community presenters.

At opening the hearing Mr Geoff Rundell, Chair, considered a number of matters. Mr Rundell advised that both himself and Ms Carew had been out to Tecoma to visit the site, Mr Rundell as recently as last Saturday. The two VCAT members have read all the expert statements, 80% of the statement of grounds, council’s refusal and the council officer’s report.

As part of the opening, Mr David Jewell, representing TVAG advised the tribunal, that although the community had made its best endeavours to coordinate community submitters, the 31 person speaking list submitted does not preclude any other community member who is a party to this matter from submitting.

The second matter raised by David was the tragic and sudden passing of Wilf Wharton, a key member of the community organising committee to prepare for VCAT, a passionate member of the Tecoma PreSchool Committee and a committed member of our local community. David asked for an adjournment should Wilf’s funeral be held during the VCAT hearing. At this stage the Tribunal have ‘taken it on advisement’ and will look at options around forward planning and scheduling.

Of concern to the community was the comments around time to submit with 3 days allocated to McDonalds, reducing the time available to community members, which is contrary to the time allocation prescribed by VCAT Deputy President Gibson at the Practice Day Hearing who clearly allocated 3 days to the community and 2 days to McDonalds.

I have no doubt, given the passion and commitment of the local community that they will exercise their right to be heard and I encourage them to do so.

Ms Mimi Marcus from Maddocks, opened representing council. Ms Marcus focused on the how the proposal would be at odds with the individual character of the Tecoma Township and how it would not deliver an acceptable outcome having regard to the notion of net community benefit demanded by the Planning Scheme. Ms Marcus also said that the proposed building will not fit and will create a visually dominating element that will be discordant with the village and landscape character of the commercial centre of Tecoma.

Ms Marcus went on to talk about the failure of the applicant to appropriately manage important issues such as the off site impact on the amenity of nearby residential properties to the north and resolving the traffic and pedestrian access to and within  the site.

Ms Marcus outlined why the proposal is not consistent with the strategic and planning policy framework, is not appropriate in terms of the form within the context and character and the broader landscape perspective. She went on to say the proposal will produce unacceptable impacts on the amenity of the nearby and adjoining land and there is inadequate pedestrian access within the site as well as inappropriate and safe vehicular access to and from and within the site that unreasonably impacts on the surrounding road network.

Ms Marcus continued to highlight the values, aspirations of the community and the specific low scale, fine grain neighbourhood character of the village of Tecoma nestled amongst an area of residential bushland.

The next submitter, Mr David Hall, spoke about issues with traffic on the driveway, intensity of vehicular traffic and safety concerns about heavy vehicles delivering on site.  He also raised concerns that the proposal had taken at least two of his car parks (located on his land) and McDonalds driveway is over his private land. He raised his issues of concern as an owner of 1527 Burwood Highway.

There was a small amount of time to allow some community submitters, first up was Michelle Jones who raised a number of key issues including traffic, amenity, litter, noise, impact on tourism and the impact on volunteers who will be cleaning up higher volumes of rubbish if the proposal went ahead.

Next up was Carolyn Ebdon, representing the Save the Dandenongs League on behalf of league president, Betty Marsden. The League raised issues around the demolition of the only remaining historic buildings in Tecoma, the Hazelvale Dairy and attached residence, now Hippie Haven and Saffron Cottage. Of particular importance the irrevocable change to Tecoma should the development go ahead. 

It was terrific to hear the passion of community members and I look forward to hearing more submissions tomorrow.

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At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Nikky said...

good luck samantha plz keep us posted. all the best to all those who are fighting to keep Tecoma as it is

At 11:38 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Congratulations Samantha, TVAG and NMITH! Thank you for your hard dedicated efforts towards this. It's lovely to live in the 'Hills' where people appreciate the natural uniqueness of nature and local small businesses.

At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should go in and buy a coffee from Hippie Haven and show your support rather than pretending you care about local people when you dont you only care about your personal profile in politics you should be ashamed of yourself!!! you are a moron

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous said...

Samantha, as a past resident of the Dandenongs I have been watching this with bated breath and with crossed fingers and still am....good on you all for your tireless work. My daughter and partner still live there and I visit frequently and the last thing we have ever wanted to see in our beloved hills in a bloody "maccas" so good luck with day 3 and lets pray they see sense and that the powers that be are on our side once again.......

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

To anonymous, so brave you can't even reveal your identity, I assure you over time I have bought many a coffee at Hippie Haven and many, many other cafes throughout the Dandenongs, particularly those in the Lyster Ward - hey I'm parochial. Perhaps I am a moron, working 50 hours a week on behalf of the community for about $10.36 an hour, could be seen as moronic, but I love what I do and I love representing my community. So be assured I don't pretend I care about local people, I DO care about local people.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Naomi said...

Has anyone looked at lodging a nomination for heritage listing for the building. If it is of some historical value an heritage listing may protect it from development.

Also I believe there is a mural inside the building painted by a prominent indigenous artist. Has anyone looked into the protections of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and whether this could protect the site.


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