In early January 2013, these posts appeared on the Sunshine Resident and Ratepayers Association (SunRRA) discussion forum:
‘TJ’ posted about their fear of losing the Old Sunshine Fire Station. ’Mary’ replied, noting that the gate chain had been removed and that doors and windows were open, with graffiti appearing inside. Mary was concerned that it had been set up to look ripe for arson.
I also had a look at the units on Google Streetview, and as you can see, the gate was wide open when this shot was taken.
Ironically, since the flats were damaged in a suspicious fire in January and subsequently demolished 6 days later, the place has been locked up tighter than Fort Knox.
Brimbank City Council (BCC) confirmed on Twitter yesterday that they have completed their investigations and the matter is now pending legal action. Looking at the minutes from the BCC Ordinary Council Meeting on 26 March 2013, it appears that due process may not have been followed by those responsible for this building:
The minutes also note that originally a Planning Infringement Notice (PIN) was issued but that was “withdrawn (and replaced with an order under building regulations) to enable Council to pursue the matter at VCAT and Magistrates Court”.
So what can an enforcement order do? Under Section 119 (b) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, it may direct any person against whom it is made to do any one or more of the following:
(i) to stop the use or development within a specified period; or
(ii) not to start the use or development; or
(iii) to maintain a building in accordance with the order; or
(iv) to do specified things within a specified period-
(A) to restore the land as nearly as practicable to its condition immediately before the use or development started or to any condition specified in the order or to any other condition to the satisfaction of the responsible authority, a Minister, public authority, municipal council, referral authority or other person or body specified in the Order; or
(B) to otherwise ensure compliance with this Act, or the planning scheme, permit condition or agreement under section 173.
Sadly, I’m not sure that any of these clauses allow for the owners to be required to rebuild the units as they were?? Anyone familiar with the Act?