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Monday, October 29, 2012

Here I am, getting involved in politics again...

McDonalds in Tecoma... what can I say? I have nothing against McDonalds and in fact quite enjoy caramel sundaes. Do my kids eat there? Rarely, perhaps a couple of times a year, generally when travelling long distances. Have I been involved with the campaign? I signed the petition before the vote went before planning last year, but other than that no. Do I want a McDonalds up the road? Absolu
tely not.

My objections are that the site now owned by McDonalds is by a busy junction that already has traffic issues and is used by school children crossing. The store is planned to be open 24 hours, in what is still (despite it being the main street in the town) a quiet residential area. The building designs used by McDonalds are rarely in keeping with what would be appropriate for the area, something that is generally carefully considered in the planning process for a residential building. And Tecoma and Belgrave already have how many takeaways...?!

The Shire were right to turn down the original application based on community objections, but VCAT unfortunately had no choice but to accept McDonalds' appeal. That's the problem with the law - if you meet the requirements, and McDonalds did, then your application should be approved.

Although that said, what is there left that we can do? Should we get even angrier and start to protest aggressively? Should we start assuming it's all part of a wider conspiracy, like some of the commentators who have appeared on camera recently sounding, frankly, a bit crazy and not helping the cause in the slightest.

Nope.

The new councillors (and returning Cllr. Samantha Dunn - congratulations again Sam!) need to consider what can be done to amend zoning and planning rules for areas such as this to protect them in future. They were right to turn down the application in the first place, but now they need to ensure that one McDonalds doesn't open the flood gates for more inappropriate developments. If we can be strict with residential zoning, then we can be strict with commercial zoning bordering the residential areas.

NO McDonalds in The Dandenong Ranges needs to try even harder to open a dialogue with McDonalds and do what they can to get them to listen to our concerns and address them. Peacefully, calmly and with respect on all sides.

However, for the most part, this is now down to McDonalds. You know what we do NOT want, you know what our concerns are and you know that the eyes of Australia, if not the world, are on you.

Now is your chance to show us all that McDonald's Australia does listen - they you can be flexible; that you can build restaurants that are sustainable and appropriate to a location; and perhaps most importantly, that you can become a welcome part of a small community.

What do you say Maccas - are you up to it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Woohoo!

The cicadas are singing - it's (un)officially summer! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Companion Planting from SGA

This dropped in my inbox this past week and I thought it was worth sharing because a) it's comprehensive and b) it's free :)

Companion Planting