Sunday, June 02, 2013

no mcdonalds, community reflective walk

I joined with 250 community members for the 'Show You Say...NO! To McDonalds in Tecoma: Reflective Walk Protest' on the weekend. I was impressed by the turnout, given it was the wettest June day on record.

One of the purposes of the walk was to pledge on behalf of family members to No McDonalds in Tecoma. Organisers report that the 250 who attended on the day were representative of over 2,000 family members saying No to McDonalds in Tecoma.

Merryn and Jessica wanted to take action and came up
with the idea of a reflective walk from Belgrave to Tecoma.
Community members walked from the Belgrave Town Park to the site in Tecoma and stood in one minutes reflective silence led by event organisers Jessica and Merryn.

After the minutes silence community members placed their messages of No on the fence and moved to FatSpace (in the same building as DVD Destination) where I spoke, followed by Brian Baker who led a rousing rendition of the Ballad of Tecoma. In speaking to the crowd I reminded people as to why I thought McDonalds in Tecoma was a bad idea. I acknowledged that we are all here and say no for our own reasons but for me, these are my reasons.
Local singer/songwriter Brian Baker is
intrinsically linked to the campaign as the
writer and performer of the Ballad of Tecoma,
you can check out his performance on youtube.
I voted against the development based on concerns around intensity of traffic, we know that Burwood Highway will be so much more dangerous, more congested and because of that we'll see more 'rat running' through local streets. I was concerned about the cultural significance of the Dandenongs, namely Sherbrooke Forest, which is so important that view lines in and out of the forest are listed as being of state significance by the National Trust.  I was concerned about the built form, being blocky, boxy and bulky, terms that came very familiar at the VCAT appeal.

I was concerned with the poor articulation to the street frontage, the building does not integrate well to the frontage. I am very concerned about the interface with residential areas, I would not like to be one of the residents abutting the development as I think the impacts on their amenity will be enormous. I'm concerned about the acoustics, as hills dwellers we all know that the hills and valleys play tricks with the sound and noise can travel long distances. I was concerned with the drive through configuration which crosses a public carriageway not once but three times.

I'm concerned about the safety of pedestrians on site and the lack of dedicated pedestrian space on site, I believe it's because McDonalds don't want you to get out of your car, particularly as 70% of their business in generated through the drive through. I was concerned about the configuration of the disability car park, located close to the driveway entrance and exit on Burwood Hwy, it will be nightmarish to try and get out of that car park.

I was concerned about the excessive signage and visual clutter of the signage proposed and last but certainly not least I was concerned about the failure of the development to be in keeping or enhance the neighbourhood character of Tecoma.

Let there be no doubt that my concerns were based on planning matters. When council voted unanimously to refuse the application that was representative democracy in action. However the decision by VCAT to approve the application was far from democratic. Made by tribunal members that have no accountability to the local community, are not representative of the local community and don't need to take into account the number of community objections nor community aspiration, it is far from democratic and fundamentally flawed.

I finished by making an observation, last time I said this I was accused of incitement but I wanted people to know categorically that this was not incitement but an observation and that is that you aint seen nothing yet.  

Thanks to Gregg who's uploaded a video of the reflective walk on youtube, you can check it out here.

Located at 1535 Burwood Hwy, Tecoma, FatSpace is a retail space set up to tackle contentious, confronting, current and controversial community issues, they are currently calling for entries to "Junk Food: fast, fried and fatal".

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At 11:36 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It was an absolute honour to have your attendance at the mini event - Show You Say...NO! To McDonalds In Tecoma - Reflective Walk Protest.

Thank you from your Community & those in support of this vital Campaign & what it represents. That this is not over!

Yours gratefully

Merryn Griffiths

At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Geoff Cassar said...

This is very disappointing, Cr. Dunn.
I'd hoped you would support businesses in our towns. McDonald's may not be to everyone's tastes but it will bring employment and commercial traffic to Tecoma at a time when the area is in dire need of practical support, and not principled obstruction.
I'm afraid you've lost my support and that of many others in the ward.

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Lee Fuller said...

A terrific summary of the day's activity, Samantha!
Sorry I wasn't there....but I was elsewhere supporting another fabulous event - the book launch of "Lunar the Leadbeater's Possum" by Macclesfield Primary School student Mieke Florisson.
VCAT are disconnected from communities and their expectation to be heard, listened to and have their concerns acted upon, they are failing miserably in that regard, and have a LOT to answer for!
I believe their life of privilege separates them what is really happening in different communities. This is not the only REALLY BAD decision they have made in recent years where the community clearly does not want something to happen!
I feel it is time for VCAT to be made accountable, and with a State election coming up in 2014, that is one of the issues each incumbent and candidate needs to be clear about.
Community matters! Bureaucracy must pay attention.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

I always have and always will support local businesses in all the townships in my ward. My problem is not with McDonalds but the implications of intense use on a site that encourages people to stay in their cars to transact business.


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