I wish I had kept a list of the evil things VCAT had done in our State of Victoria. VCAT is the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It deals with many different matters for a small fee in preference to going to the Magistrates Court where there will be solicitors and barristers and while you may win your case, you will be out of pocket. If you lose, you will be very out of pocket.There can still be legal representation for the parties in dispute, but VCAT is far less formal than a court.
The theory of VCAT and its ideals are marvellous. Its judgements, often not so good.
Aside from much of what it does, it also judges planning disputes, like when neighbours fight each other, or a house owner fights council, or when residents fight against a development.
One such battle is going on now and sometimes local residents win when trying to stop a McDonalds restaurant opening near them and sometimes they lose.
I have been a McDonalds hater for a long time, ever since they dragged those bolshie English kids through the courts. My dislike has increased over time, reinforced by them opening in a children's hospital here and realising just how bad their food is when the film Super Size Me came out.
They are going to open an outlet in Tecoma in our Dandenong Ranges, just an hour's drive from the centre of Melbourne. The Dandenongs are when many Melburnians like to go for a Sunday drive, to see the sights, have lunch or afternoon tea. Think of many Miss Marple teas rooms spread over the Dandenongs. It is not quite like that and there are many nice cafes and restaurants. Within the building that is to be demolished for a new McDonalds was a successful tea room of sorts, now gone.
On various grounds the local council denied permission to McDonalds to open a restaurant on the Tecoma site. McDonalds went against the council and appealed to VCAT, which approved the development. Without fail, VCAT goes along with developers and against local wishes.
The council voted unanimously against the development. A door knock poll of local residents, ok conducted by those who did not want the development, came up with a result of 92% against.
I don't doubt the McDonalds will be successful. They will have done their research, especially about passing trade on a major road, but does the company really want to be so hated?
The worst thing about it is that it sets precedent. One fast food restaurant at Tecoma approved could and perhaps will see a spread of the others over the Dandenong Ranges. Subway in Sassafras? Hungry Jacks in Hoddles Creek?
The local Tecoma residents are very passionate about stopping the restaurant. As I type, 50 year old women who have never protested against anything in their life are sitting on the roof of the building that is to be demolished to make way for McDonalds. People are trying to chain themselves to demolition vehicles. The building union has called members off the site. Private guards are plentiful on site, but the police are keeping away.
C'mon McDonalds, for all you smart language and words you use, piss orf from where you aren't wanted.
I'm sure there is a Facebook group...........Ah, more than one. This is the largest, http://www.facebook.com/pages/NO-McDonalds-in-The-Dandenong-Ranges/220419864641673