Nov 29

Rodier St Report

Last week the good folk from Rodier St attending a two day hearing in Melbourne. A huge effort from residents who really just want a quiet life and to live in the place they call home. A huge effort to learn the planning scheme, planning laws, how VCAT works, what can you say, what can’t you say, days weeks months of preparation, days off work to attend, the nervousness of having to present in a court, with knowledge and facts and just a whisp of passion…

And who are you compared at VCAT? Lawyers, Town Planners, Property Consultants, VCAT Sitting Members, Developers – people who live these laws and are paid vast sums of money to tell you you are wrong. But what do we have? Passion, commitment and a deep abiding love for the places we live, we play, we grow our next generation, our home, Ballarat East.

The development at Rodier St remains in the hands of the sitting VCAT member who has promised to attend the site in the next week before she makes her determination. Why can’t we have hearings in Ballarat? we need to continue to request them…

Here is how local resident Ron Marshall saw the action at VCAT:

Having not attended a VCAT Hearing before in relation to building matters, I admit to being somewhat naive as to the process.

The thing that struck me though was it became apparent that the ‘hired guns’ terminology to describe some ‘ expert witness’ is appropriate.
I was alarmed to hear their Ms Heggan state:

  • the Precinct is peppered with industrial sites?!  Where I ask?
  • the dwellings are more like small homes than Units and they have eaves!?  I must be blind and dumb?
  • the Precinct would change because the industrial sites in Rodier St would be sold off at some stage and the inference was development such as is proposed at 23 Rodier St, would occur – rather alarming!

Her knowledge of the local area, despite having ‘visited’ the site was exemplified when she repeatedly referred to the Specimen Vale Trail as The Bunny Trail. She was corrected of course.

The upshot is:
i) The Developer wants a Permit to build issued before they do a full flood assessment survey as the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) require and Dr Geoff Taylor from CCMA said was the norm!  He can be contacted on 03 52329100 or email at:  to ascertain further information about the flooding aspect which is of considerable concern I would venture to say.
It seems clear that the Developer and the consultants they are engaging, are a tad lazy and assume this will happen as a matter of course without having to put in the requisite work to substantiate their development beforehand?

ii) Up to 2 culverts would need to be installed into Rodier St at the Specimen Vale Creek (SVC) to supposedly help flood mitigation? As you know SVC is part of the Creeks and River Channels Heritage Precinct in its own right. The existing culvert at Rodier St is all made from bluestone.

iii) Madam Chair Wilson is to visit the site in just over a week.

The objectors left when proceedings finished at 6.03pm last Friday, after two days deliberations.

Some questions that need accurate responses to I suggest are of:
1) Mr Taylor CCMA – why do you require the Developer to complete a full flood assessment study? NB: Mr Taylor wants to ensure that not only the land and any development on the land at 23 Rodier St will not be adverselyHe needs to be completely satisfied that the effects of building on it as well as any flood ‘mitigation’ that is undertaken by the Developer; does not adversely impact other properties, especially those downstream.

2) Mr Taylor CCMA – is issuing a building permit prior to having completed a full and proper flood assessment study as is required by the CCMA normal practice? NB: He has already answered this in person to us at the Hearing; viz, it is normal practice.

3) All City of Ballarat Officials – do you support the issuing of a Building Permit before the requirements of the Statutory Authority viz CCMA in requesting a full flood assessment survey to be done; is completed and found acceptable by the CCMA?

4) All City of Ballarat Officials – do you support the possible ‘tampering’ with the SVC culvert under Rodier St and/or the concrete channeling walls themselves to facilitate this development?

5) All City of Ballarat Officials – isn’t the land encompassing an area whose borders are Eureka St, Stawell St, Charlesworth and George Sts and Belford St part of the Historic Eureka Rebellion Site which is on the National Register?

6) If this land is part of Historic Eureka Rebellion Site which is on the National Register do you support any housing development on these industrial sites on the west side of Rodier St opposite the Eureka Centre between Eureka St and George St?

7) Are there any plans what to do with this land if it were ever not used for industry?

8) Can this land actually be used for development of housing into the future, given its previous use for industry?

I think it would be in the public interest to make some enquiries re these matters and I am doing so; but I’d be interested to hear from others any other input?

My gut feeling and plain logic and common sense tells me that Ms Wilson SHOULD knock it back, especially given the CCMA are the Statutory Authority who on behalf of the State must ensure that development proposals such as this one, meet the required criteria and do not impose any liability on the citizens of the State. My logic may be flawed though!?

Of course and then there are the effects on the Heritage Precincts and the neighbourhood characteristics. What more can one say?
Thanks for your interest in following this story.

All the best.
Ron Marshall


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