EVERY DOLLAR WILL HELP IF YOU CANT AFFORD TO DONATE COULD YOU PLEASE HELP BY SHARING THIS AROUND TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW
Correcting an Injustice by Our Local Council
We are a small Family run business operating The Fluid Lounge Bar & Café, located in Healesville Victoria, Australia, 52 km north-east from Melbourne in the Yarra Valley
We applied to our Local Council (Yarra Ranges Council) back on the 10th April 2012 for extended hours of trade and extended patron numbers, so as to remain completive with venues closer to Melbourne, and to meet the needs of our Local Community.
In Brief the permit sought is a permitted use within the planning scheme, we are located in a Basement in the main commercial district of Healesville, our track record is that there has been No complaints whatsoever with our past five years of trade.
Again in brief: Our site could legally hold 458 patrons, our current permit allows for 85, and we applied to have a permit for 300 well below what is allowed, Council rejected the 300 capacity option and granted a capacity of 150 provided I pay a contribution of $38,500 (sounds like blackmail I hear you say).
As an ex employee of this very Council I knew that this condition for a contribution in this form was in fact illegal and had the case law to prove it.
I supplied Council this case law information in good faith in an attempt to resolve this and other issues regarding my permit at a Council level saving both Council and myself thousands of dollars, Councils response to this information was I was unhappy I could dispute the matter at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
So I was forced to hire a Collins Steet Lawyer, which started a year long process to get to this point, I informed every person at Council in the position to address this issue, and tried every means conceivable including supplying Council legal information relating to case law on some issues as stated, and unbelievably NO ACTION was taken to rectify Council errors, it is common knowledge that the Planning dept and others were aware that these issues would not stand up to scrutiny, “ I stress at this point the planning dept and others had full knowledge of these issues and could have intervened to save Council and myself tens of thousands of dollars.”
So a date was set for Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to hear our case,
So many months go by with costly reports being generated and legal fees mounting to contest this matter to the cost of around $44,000.dollars.
So our day comes to have the matter dealt with at VCAT, We all exchange pleasantries and Council starts with their opening summation, and would you believe it within 3 minutes and part of their opening summation whey withdrew the contested conditions for legal reasons! (Inserted here is the reason why: “AGENDA ITEM NO. 8.5 YARRA RANGES SHIRE COUNCIL AGENDA – 14/05/13 107 The applicant has sought to delete this condition as part of the current VCAT appeal and this formed part of the mediation process. Strong direction was provided during the mediation by the Tribunal member regarding the ability of Council to enforce this condition, on the grounds that conditions of this nature are not supported by the planning scheme unless there is a specific mechanism contained within the scheme to enable a cash contribution to be requested. Such a mechanism is not present in the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme. A review by officers of the relevant VCAT case law surrounding this issue confirms this position. There is high potential that such a condition could be found to be ‘ultra vires’ at a Tribunal merits hearing, and that costs could be awarded against Council for its imposition on the applicant.)And on it goes with a lot more Legal jargon.
The issue I have and everyone should have with this is that Council knowingly allowed this matter to go all the way to VCAT, only to withdraw!, Given Council’s prior Knowledge of the case law surrounding this matter, I find their actions criminal, to force an applicant to Legally defend something they know to be illegal is a blatant abuse of power and a total waste of Council resources and a heavy handed way to treat an applicant, Councils actions cost me approx $44,000 dollars to contest this debacle so far.
We go back to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on the 5thAuguest 2013
to contest the last remaining issue with our permit, and again Council is knowingly proceeding with this matter knowing of case law and other fundamental flaws with their case, this last faze of the proceedings is going to cost us approximately $18,000 dollars.
- $6,800 for a Senior Town Planners report
- $7,200 for a Traffic Management Report
- $4,000 approx Barristers Costs
- These costs are to defend and prove our case.
Anyone who knows or has dealt with the “Yarra Ranges Council” will not be surprised by this stupidly, as they are rated the third worst Council in Victoria for excessive delays and red tape, and when last checked 49 out of 53 appeals they took to Vcat they lost.
We are sitting pretty to win this matter at VCAT, and with the evidence that Council had prior knowledge relating to case law and other issues on this matter, and that they (the Council) did not act on it, we have unusual grounds to be awarded all cost at VCAT.
As stated when setting up this GoGet Funding page, if successful I will donate back every cent raised for this cause, as I am not wanting to profit in any way whatsoever from this, I have asked for your help purely because the costs so far have taken our business to the edge of collapse because of cash flow issues, People who know me know I’m a man of my word so again, I Pledge I WILL DONATE BACK EVERY CENT RAISED FOR THIS CAUSE!
In the coming days there will be links of full details regarding this Cause on our facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/FLUID.LOUNGE.BAR
If anyone would like details direct from me you can message me on my Face Book page
Council should be ashamed with its handling of this application given this whole process could have been avoided had Council simply got there facts correct or at the very least had a willingness to amend their own errors. IT’S TIME THEY WERE HELD TO ACCOUNT.