I WRITE to inform Ballarat citizens that an agenda item for the first meeting of the newly elected council on November 14, will be considering a revised planning proposal to build 19 units at 23 Rodier Street in Eureka.
Originally the developer sought approval to build 20 units, but the City of Ballarat planning department rejected that proposal on numerous grounds.
Currently on the City website citizens are able to read that the revised plan has again been recommended for rejection by the planning department.
I do suggest that citizens read the recommendations which are informative and include compelling reasons detailing the basis for rejection yet again.
Amongst these reasons is the assessment of the flood risk by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.
This conclusion would not surprise long-term Ballarat residents who have personally experienced flooding in the area and know it as a realistic occurence.
It reinforces a fundamental concern that I and many others have consistently raised with this proposal about the risks associated with building on this land.
The planning department itself states that "the subject site is flood prone".
It also acknowledges relevant objectives under Clause13.02 (Floodplains) of the Ballarat Planning Scheme, and a strategy exists to "avoid intensifying the impacts of flooding through inappropriately located uses and developments".
The planning department equally and just as importantly raise issues of how the revised plan is not in keeping with neighbourhood character and heritage values of the area amongst other issues.
The decision the council has to make, is essentially a 'no brainer'.
They must accept the recommendation and reject the revised plan.
Indeed I would suggest, based on their own planning scheme, they are duty bound and obligated to do so.
Likewise similar development proposals in the future. In doing so I expect the city to engage competent expert counsel to represent their opposition to this revised plan at the VCAT hearing on November 22.
I reiterate that this is a great opportunity for the new council at the start of its elected term, to indicate to Ballarat ratepayers and residents that they will make decisions on merit and based on sound principles.
That they will not be beholden to political party philosophy as has been suggested they may be influenced by recently in the media.
They have a chance now to show at first opportunity, that they will not favour developers over the rights, needs and wants of ordinary citizens.
I await their pronouncement on this issue.