UPDATE AUGUST 2021:
VCAT bridge application hearing.
The VCAT hearing on the Blazing Saddles bridge application was held in front of two Senior Members on 30 June and 1 July. In all, the bridge would cover an area of 63 x 3 metres of Crown land, public reserve and public waterway. It would not allow public access. AIDA was represented by its lawyers. Several individuals and the Surf Coast Shire also presented objections to the application and referred to a range of issues, including:
1. failing to satisfy the purposes of policies and regulations including those in the Rural Conservation Zone, Public Conservation and Resource Zone, and the Environmental Significance Overlay;
2. being inconsistent with a range of state policies, including those pertaining to Protection of Biodiversity, Coastal Crown Land, and Water Bodies and Wetlands;
3. being inconsistent with local policy including the Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Structure Plan (2015);
4. providing no community benefit as the use of the bridge would exclusively benefit the applicant for its private use;
5. being inconsistent with relevant provisions of the Crown Lands (Reserve) Act 1978;
6. having a detrimental impact on the flora, fauna and water quality of the Painkalac Creek and Valley;
7. having a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the Painkalac Creek and its surrounds.
We will not know the outcome of the hearing for some weeks. AIDA members will be alerted promptly once the result is known.
Late in the hearing the lawyer for the Surf Coast Shire produced some fascinating historical documents to add weight to the argument about the purposes of Crown Land. These were the Crown Lands Act 1884, by which the Victorian Parliament gave the Crown the authority to remove from sale Crown lands ‘required for any public purpose whatsoever’, whether temporarily or permanently. Clause 10 listed these grounds as including ‘for watercourses’, ‘for the use or benefit of the aboriginal people’, and ‘for the recreation, convenience or amusement of the people’. Subsequently the Government Gazette of 18 May 1888, p. 1511, detailed such land to be set aside ‘for public purposes’ on the western bank of ‘Airey’s Creek’. In all, this land was about fifteen acres running along the length of the creek to a width of at least one ‘chain’ (a chain is 66 feet or about 20 metres). The Government Gazette of 15 June 1888, p. 1981, then detailed in italics that this land was to be set aside ‘permanently’. A 2002 decision by VCAT refers to public reserve for
conservation purposes of at least 10 metres on both sides of the creek.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2020:
An appeal has been lodged with VCAT over the council’s refusal of an application to build a private bridge over the Painkalac Creek.
Everybody who sent a written objection to council about the application should have received a letter from the applicants by 12 November. The letter would have included a copy of the application for the review and the applicant’s statement of grounds for the review as well as a blank statement of grounds form for objectors to fill in.
Anyone who lodged an objection to the bridge application, and who wishes to be heard at the Tribunal hearing must lodge the statement of grounds form with VCAT by 3 December 2020. A fee of $20.70 is payable to enable you to be participate in the hearing. The form is also available at www.vcat.vic.gov.au/respondplanning
The AIDA committee will appear at the hearing and we would encourage others in the community to also lodge a statement of grounds even if you don’t want to speak at the hearing.
The hearing is listed by VCAT for the 30 June and 1 July 2021 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm and is planned to be an on-line hearing at this stage.
UPDATE AUGUST 2020:
Decision on planning application for a private bridge.
At its meeting on Tuesday 28th July Council voted 5/3 to refuse the planning application for a private bridge to be built on public Conservation and Resource zoned land across the Painkalac Creek. An article about the decision was published in the 6th August edition of the Surf Coast Times (see below) or you can read it more clearly on page 9 of the digital edition of the newspaper available here:
Many thanks to the many AIDA members who expressed their views to Council.
UPDATE JULY 2020:
The planning application for a private bridge over the Painkalac Creek is due to be discussed and decided at the Surf Coast Shire’s council meeting on 28 July. This follows an on-line Zoom Hearing of Submissions on 16 June.
The agenda for the meeting will be available on the shire’s website by COB on Friday 24 July and should include the Planning Officer’s report and recommendations. If the meeting is held via Zoom the community will be able to log in and ‘attend’ the meeting. If circumstances change the council might decide to meet in person. Should this be the case it is likely the community will be asked to log in to ‘attend’.
Several members of the AIDA committee met recently with our lawyers to discuss the bridge application and issues around compliance with the Conservation Management Plan that was a requirement in the 1999 VCAT decision. A further meeting is planned for early August.
UPDATE JUNE 2020:
Council has advised that the upcoming Hearing of Submissions Committee meeting concerning the proposed private bridge over the Painkalac Creek [Planning Permit Application 19/0409 – Buildings and works for the construction of a bridge and use as a road for the management of livestock – 115 Bimbadeen Drive, Fairhaven] is scheduled to be held virtually via Zoom.
The Committee will hear from those wanting to support their written submission on Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 5pm. The agenda will be made available on Council’s website www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au prior to the meeting. Live streaming will be accessible on the website at the time of the meetings and the recording will be posted after the meetings. The public is welcome to view the meeting via live streaming.
UPDATE MAY 2020: The Hearing of Submissions re the Painkalac Bridge application with be held On 16 June 2020, probably using Zoom. Details to follow.
April 2020: UPDATE With the advent of the COVID-19 shutdowns the Shire’s planning department is continuing to work but from home and we are continuing to monitor all applications. The Hearing of Submissions for the application for a private bridge over the Painkalac was cancelled earlier this month. However, the Shire advised that we are able to expand on written submissions at any time before council determines the application (Please direct all your concerns and queries to email@example.com).
AIDA questioned the cancelling of this Hearing and asked for information about how Council will continue its decision making, and other statutory duties, when it is unable to meet in person. We have recently heard from Councillor Margot Smith that the council still intend to proceed with a Hearing of Submissions. Officers are working through the how and we will be advised as soon as the process has been worked out.
March 2020: UPDATE re planning application from Blazing Saddles trail rides to build a bridge and corridor for horses over the Painkalac Creek: There is to be a Hearing of Submissions meeting at the Shire offices in Torquay at 5pm on Tuesday 21 April. The following Tuesday at 6pm the Council will consider its decision on the application. Interested members are able to attend these meetings. Check the Shire website for any variation to these dates due to public health considerations. Note that the Shire must consider all submissions it receives up until the time it makes a decision so if you haven’t let council know your views you still have time to do this.
February 2020: In late January an application from Blazing Saddles trail rides to build a bridge and corridor for horses over the Painkalac Creek was lodged with the Surf Coast Shire. AIDA’s objection is available here: AIDA Objection – Horse Bridge in Painkalac Valley . We are aware that many members, some tourist businesses, members of the community and ANGAIR also lodged submissions objecting to this application to build on public land on both sides of the creek. The application raises many significant issues for the community.
The Shire must consider all submissions it receives up until the time it makes a decision so if you haven’t let council know your views you still have time to do this. The planning department will write to everyone who makes a submission outlining the next steps.