“WHAT HAPPENED AT THE VCAT HEARING?”
The five-day hearing was presided over by two VCAT Members. The first day saw the room filled with about 60 Warrandyte residents in support of Council’s rejection of the proposed land use and development for a petrol station and convenience store.
Not a seat remained empty. The flow of residents arriving throughout the whole 5 days was heart-warming support to those who had spent countless volunteer hours preparing to stand up and defend Warrandyte’s unique and precious character against inappropriate and unnecessary over-development.
OBJECTORS’ EVIDENCE: INSPIRING AND POWERFUL
Objectors presented a massive amount of material by way of submissions – extensively researched, detailed and technical. Much was of professional quality, delivered by residents experienced in particular areas. Some was passionate and personal.
The reasons advanced by objectors for opposing the application covered a broad range of likely or anticipated adverse impacts that would result from the development – namely, impacts relating to planning, traffic (internal and external), amenity, character, heritage protection, the natural environment, emergency and risk management (especially with regard to bushfires and floods), and so on.
Many individual Warrandyte residents and representatives of key Warrandyte groups spoke at the hearing. Groups represented included Friends of the Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP), Anderson Creek Catchment Area Landcare Group (ACCA), WarrandyteCAN (Climate Action Now), the Yarra Riverkeeper, and Warrandyte Community Association (WCA.)
Around 68 objectors had previously provided written statements of grounds. Petitions with over 1800 signatures were also tabled. Evocative videos and slide presentations enhanced the impact of the objectors’ 2 submissions.
Mr Darren Wong of Maddocks Law Firm convincingly supported Manningham Council’s rejection of the applicant’s development proposal. Our barrister, Mr Daniel Epstein, made excellent submissions which formed a vital part of the case in opposition to the development.
VicRoads and the CFA made presentations. Three experts have given evidence for the Applicant so far on traffic and landscape issues and our Barrister and the objectors raised challenging questions.
VCAT MEMBERS TO VISIT THE SITE
The VCAT Members will make one or more unaccompanied visits to the proposed site and numerous related areas recommended by WCP.
THREE DAY EXTENSION OF HEARING: JULY 26 – 28
VCAT has directed Melbourne Water to appear during the further hearing of the matter on July 26 – 28, when the Applicant will call evidence from its remaining expert witnesses. We will have an opportunity to question those witnesses.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
To ensure we can stay as strong and professional during the extended hearing, additional funds for our excellent legal team will be essential. As one of our supporter reminds us, “if we all just put in $10 – the equivalent of two mugs of coffee at your favourite coffee shop, it would help us get over the line.”
Direct Deposit: Warrandyte Character Protection
BSB: 633 000 Account no: 155176894 reference: your name
or with credit card: warrandytecitizens.org
And as another who attended the hearing said, “Congratulations on all the hard work to date. Warrandyte is fortunate to have so many amazing, clever, dedicated people. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of it.”
Stay tuned for more updates and details: warrandytecitizens.org
Warrandyte Character Protection Team
WCP Website: http://warrandytecitizens.org/
To donate to the cause to help preserve Warrandyte’s character, click HERE.