Warrandyte Servo - a near miss.

It was back in the spring of 2013 when the rubber first hit the road on prospects for a large scale service station in Warrandyte. There'd been unrest for some months over United Petrol's Quickstop servo plan. It would be built on the old petrol station site (Smarties) on Yarra St.

Meanwhile down at the old Edwards block, on Andersons Creek, Charles Scholari was having trouble selling his three residential lots. Then he started talking up the prospect of building a service station across all three. That would take the pressure off United's permit application and make a tidy profit for his investment company Platinum King Investments (PKI). He began collaborating with some off the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) committee as well as the Warrandyte Traders Association.

The Traders by and large supported it at the outset, but it was a controversial issue within the WCA. By the time PKI had advertised their plans, early in 2014, there was a new committee at WCA and it was persuaded to lodge an objection. Issues surrounding the continued health of Andersons Creek were important considerations:

While Council and the DSE were pretty relaxed about the proposal, the plans were not so well received at Vic Roads and Melbourne Water. Over time, however, the applicant was able to reach agreement with both referral authorities. Interestingly there were internal ructions at both VicRoads and Melbourne Water behind the scenes.

Some staff in the team at VicRoads were opposed to the project. They believed that plans to manage internal traffic flows with bollards were unworkable and that external traffic impacts would create congestion. Only the team leader was willing to commit to PKI's plan, which he did in a letter to Council. Much the same thing happened at Melbourne Water, with less internal division. Melbourne Water reached agreement with PKI despite negotiations relying on incorrect drawn elevations. Even when this was pointed out to management at Melbourne Water, it chose to rationalise its decision on other grounds, rather than review it.

And so by winter 2015 everything looked good for (PKI) until Council (MCC) refused to play ball. MCC wanted to scrutinise the referral authorities' positions. PKI grew impatient and applied to the VCAT hoping that the Tribunal would be easier to sway. All the while a grass roots campaign against the proposal was growing within the Warrandyte community.

There were problems for PKI at VCAT too, firstly to do with the Cultural heritage Overlay. Eventually it would have it's day before the panel (actually 8 days). In the midst of all that the petro- chemical dance company was becoming a much sought after attraction around Warrandyte. Here they perform at a local fund raiser:

After an exhausting 8 day hearing, and an eternal wait of 6 weeks for the planel's decision, residents finally learned, on September 12 2016, that the permit had been denied.