As regular readers will know, I’ve considered the progress of our corner shop from sad dereliction to rebirth as Revolver, the coolest cafe on the block, to be a Very Good Thing. It’s rare these days to see the cafe empty, so I’m guessing that my sentiment is widely shared, and when Rod put in a DA to add four more four-seat outside tables to the one that’s currently allowed, I wished him well and sent an email to Council in support.
But it seems not everyone has cause to rejoice. People drive here now, especially since Revolver has been written up in Places People Read, and this has created parking problems for the immediate neighbours. Sometimes the clientele leave dogs tied up outside, and there are noisy encounters as local dogs go by. Yesterday we received a letter from the Council telling us that an Assessment Report was now available on the Council’s web site.
If you visit the web page where the DA is tracked and click on the little ‘+’ sign next to the heading ‘Documents’, you get some idea of the agonising paper trail that must be followed to get a project like this up. Roughly 50 documents were generated – though admittedly many were pretty much duplicates (our today’s letter is there, along with the similar letter to others who put in a submission). The Assessment Report, once you get past the bureaucratese, is a fascinating documentation of democracy in action. Roughly half of it is taken up with responses to the objections, which are quoted and dealt with paragraph by paragraph. While I can see that people had grounds for unease, particularly in relation to the parking issue, I admit to being shocked by the tone of some of the objections, peppered as they are with words like ‘ludicrous’, ‘blatant’, ‘incomprehensible’, ‘disingenuous’, ‘unreasonable’. To have lodged an application at all is, in one person’s view, barely legal. Another seethes over the OH&S implications of Rod’s practice of putting a bowl of water out for passing dogs, asserting that it leads to ‘excessive, uncontrolled howling’. That smokers will throw their butts and cigarette packets into people’s front yards, as history demonstrates, is another cause for complaint. What’s more, ‘families accompanied by their children on bikes and scooters and a baby in the pram’ might congregate there in ‘large and inappropriate’ gatherings.
The case against the extra tables has not, so far, prevailed. The report recommends that the DA be approved with conditions about smoking, littering and so on. I’m glad of that, but sad to realise that this no longer an unalloyed feel-good story!