By Victoria Stone-Meadows
The developer behind the proposed cinema and entertainment complex at the old Cranbourne Pool site is adament he is not backing away from the project.
Progress of the planning application has been slowed by Casey Council and the state Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) according to TM Design Group CEO Ian Macklin.
Mr Macklin said he hoped to have the new cinema and entertainment complex open and operating by now but the council and DELWP continue to request more reports on the site.
“It is still ongoing and the permit is going through council and DELWP approval processes,” he said.
“We are waiting on another report in relation to trees and vegetation on the site but we hope that will be in in about another week or two.”
The trees in question are where TM Designs want to build a car park.
Mr Macklin said without the car park, patrons of the new cinema would be forced to use the turf club’s car park, 250 meters away from the old pool.
“They (council) are suggesting we use the turf club car park which people will have to walk a quarter of a kilometre down the street to an unlit car park,” he said.
“The safety of our future patrons is paramount and we want a safe, fully lit carpark on site to keep people safe.”
Mr Macklin said he doesn’t want to cause any stress to the environment and had even offered to replace the trees that are in the way of the planned development.
DELWP said the vegetation in question has been identified as significant as it may be part of a bandicoot habitat but they are happy to work with Mr Macklin to find a solution.
“Both the City of Casey and DELWP have requested further information from the proponent to support these decisions,” a DELWP spokesperson said.
“The site supports significant remnant native vegetation and may also serve as a bandicoot habitat corridor.”
“DELWP has continued to engage with the proponent, the local Committee of Management and Council to ensure that any proposal for the site is undertaken in a manner that responds to and provides appropriate environmental protections.”
City of Casey Council said while more information was needed, the application was moving forward.
Council’s acting Manager Statutory Planning and Building Services Craig Tate said for the application to progress Council needed more information about the trees.
“Council and the Department of Water, Land and Planning are waiting for the applicant to provide further information to enable an assessment of the application, including a report addressing the vegetation on site,” he said.
“Council has afforded the applicant additional time as requested.
“Until a complete application is received, Council is unable to advance the planning assessment.”
Despite the hold-ups, Mr Macklin said he was as dedicated as ever to delivering the project.
“It is a slow process and we are all frustrated at this point but it is ticking forward and I am not going to back away from it,” he said.
“Everyone wants it, everyone needs it and it’s going to be good for Cranbourne, if common sense prevails.”
Mr Macklin said he wanted the project to move forward to bring new employment opportunities to the area.
“If this development doesn’t go ahead, there are least 40 people who are not going to have a job out if it,” he said.
Mr Macklin said without the support of the Cranbourne and surrounding community, the project could be lost to government bureaucracy.
“We are looking to the community to back us,” he said.
“We need everyone who wants to see this cinema happen to have a talk with their local councillor and politician and ask them to support this.”