Tuesday, 23 September 2008

What got left out after 6 days of Romsey

Despite expensive consultants, a lot of statistics and learned arguments from Queens Counsel, who wins in Romsey will come down to factors that Justice Bell carried into the hearing before he heard a word of evidence.

Is he pro-development? A growth at any cost kinda guy?

Or a Let's-Keep-Things-As-They-Are reactionary?

If he's the former; Jim Hogan triumphs. The latter, the Macedon Ranges might just stay as they are for a few more years.

I still have two questions that remain unanswered;
  • Why didn't Jim's track record in honouring his promises in Wallan surface? He said he was going to build some motel units. He didn't. He indicated that there had been some sporting donations implying that they might continue. Further donations don't show up on the VCGR public records. He said that the gaming room would be discrete portion of the hotel which those attending the hotel for other social purposes will have no occasion to visit. It's not. Just have a look at this picture of the car park entrance to his Wallan Hotel where the entrance is shared by the bistro and the pokie room.
  • There was a fair bit of discussion today on whether His Honour could grant this application conditionally upon Jim Hogan completing the improvements. After all, the improvements to the Romsey pub, not the pokies, were what this application seemed to be about. The Shire' lawyers said he couldn't. Jim's lawyers said you could. The VCGR lawyers said nothing. No one mentioned that on 12 August, the VCGR released their Langwarrin decision where they did precisely that.
Finally and for me, most importantly, no one mentioned that Wallan and Romsey are not the same kind of towns. Wallan is just off the four lane Hume Highway. Romsey is a country town, up a two lane road. Maybe the people in Romsey moved and stayed there just for that reason.

Maybe they want to keep it that way. There's plenty of other places to live, like Wallan, where there is a shopping mall, alfresco dining and pokies nearby. Instead of transforming it into a Melbourne suburb, maybe His Honour should just keep Romsey as the country town that it is.

Someone has to draw a line somewhere.

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