Mt Evelyn RAW

This section is dedicated to letters and comments by Mt Evelyn residents, workers and visitors.

If you would like to leave a comment please email and put 'Mt Evelyn RAW' in the subject line.




The views expressed in these comments are from the Mount Evelyn Community and do not necessarily or specifically reflect the views or opinions of MEEPPA or those of any other community group or individuals.

Hi congrats on your campaign win, a great outcome for the community we in Byron Shire are at a disadvantage as the State Minister for Planning has already approved the supermarket.
Cr Jan Barham
Mayor Byron Shire Council

Well done, Mt Evelyn - thank you for your good fight and for sharing the info so beautifully on your website; Mayor Tim Heenan you have the gift of the gab!
Its an inspiring read, and here in Mullumbimby Community Action Network (MCAN) we are going to discuss your campaign at our meeting on Thursday evening.
I particularly like your advice to have a "clear and precise understanding of the planning scheme that relates to your municipality".  So far I am aware of our Settlement Strategy - but that is just a guideline and can be over-ruled.  I shall endeavour to find out more about the LEP (Local Environment Plan) which is the law around here.
ATTRITION:  I looked it up - yes, some enthusiasts of our group have become worn down or needed to get on with life ... I will factor that in (as you suggest) by casting the net out for more volunteers.
Thanks also for the advice "Make knowledge your first line of defence" ... I can see how that would be beneficial!
Your description "Community welded together in an unstoppable force to be reckoned with" - brilliant!!  Our community here is strong, resilient and keen on keeping sustainable.  Unfortunately the DA for the supermarket has already been passed by Frank Sartor (NSW Planning Minister) although it was rejected by Byron Shire Council twice. Now our council (except for one councillor) seems to be resigned to negotiating with Woolworths to try and get a better-looking big box that is not so high it obliterates the view of our green pyramid-shaped mountain, Mt Chincogan (see our website for view of Mt Chincogan and outline of supermarket).
However, Mullumbimby Coummunity Action Network is a small group of committed, strong and brave individuals who believe we can turn this approval around. We will keep fighting - thank you for your efforts which inspire and motivate us.
All the best
Deborah Lilly
Mullumbimby Community Action Network

Dear GM and Directors
As a Shire Councillor and representative of the people of Mullumbimby and Byron Shire, I salute the people of MT Evelyn in their principled stand and their successful Victory against the attempted Woolworth invasion.
FYI - Another successful campaign, in what is now an increasing National Campaign by communities all around Australia. Our fight for the right of the Mullum community, and for the right of this Council to decide what sort of town that Mullumbimby becomes, is being echoed by similar battles all over Australia. I believe that Woolworths is discredited due to their attacks on the democratic will of the people, and due to their attacks on democratic governance by the elected representatives. I believe that any Council business with Woolworth's should be considered under Council's Ethical Purchasing Policy, and I believe that it is inappropriate for Council to accept Woolworth as the official sponsor of NSW's Australia Day Events. Should Woolworth still be the Australia Day sponsor on Jan 26 09, then in support of the communities battle, I will support protests by the organisers of all events of ritual burning of Woolworths food advertising (and the press will be invited ! ). The fight is here, and the community has stepped up to the mark. I am confident that, however long it takes, that the community will defeat this attempted Woolworth invasion, and will go on to help and support communities all around Australia to take similar action.
For a future without Woolworth in Mullumbimby
Cr John Lazarus
Byron Shire Council

From Maleny, Queensland, where we fought and lost a five-year fight against the Woolly bullies, congratulations on your success to date. We are watching with great interest and pray you win. Please keep up the fight, no matter how dark it seems. We came within minutes of winning; it came down to rejection of an offer by the community to buy the land back for $2 million -- nearly four times what they paid for it -- as the earthmoving equipment moved in. Another broken promise on top of lies, deception and greed by Woolworths, politicians, lawyers and the developer. Three years later, the developer now admits "We were wrong. I understand how residents felt."
Although the hideous supermarket now blights the entrance to our town, we are far from defeated! Most residents refuse to shop in the concrete monstrosity. Consequently, Maleny's Woolworths is the only supermarket in the company's 700-plus supermarkets around the nation that does not list monthly turnover figures in internal newsletters. We are continuing to support locally owned shops and a new farmer's market is thriving. It sounds as if you will win where we stumbled. But if the worst happens, do not despair. Not shopping there is the ultimate solution. We are reprinting our "I Won't Shop There" bumper stickers after scores of requests to replace the faded old ones. We take great heart in Mt Evelyn's courageous fight.

A big Thank You to MEEPA and Mayor Tim for fighting to keep Safeway out of Mt Evelyn! Special thanks to Franc and Clare for leading this successful campaign and implementing the Design and Development Overlay that can help protect our town against future onslaughts of incorrect development and takeovers by monopoly business interests.I hope this win gives incentive and encouragement to other towns trying to fight Woolworths from dictating to them what they want.
And I'm delighted to read MEEPA will network with these towns to offer campaign advice on how to keep the Woolly Bullies out of their towns!
Appreciate all your hard work.
Jan Heald, Mt Evelyn.

I wept because you won. I wept because we lost. I wept because we made a difference. I cheered silently because God blessed you and me and others like us with enough foolishness to believe we could make that difference.
Margaret E.

This morning we awoke to another long, hot, trying and dusty day here in the Middle East – where the temperature has been hovering around the 39c /41c mark for a couple of weeks, with summer yet to come. So imagine our delight when we read the forwarded email from Franc – it was the best pick me up I could imagine (short of the bully packing up and leaving Maleny it must be said)
Congratulations to all of you who worked so hard for this outcome. You’ve given heart to similar small communities all over Australia – and it was very kind of you to speak of our battle in such glowing terms. Sadly, with government at all levels working hand in glove with the woolly bully and the contractors, we really had no chance of an outcome like your own, but we kept the fight going, took it to them time and again, gained lots of worldwide publicity, showed the baddies up for what they really are AND brought our community together in a way usually only seen after a natural disaster (Woolworths being an UN -natural disaster of course)
Thanks again, and
CONGRATULATIONS to your town. Well done indeed.
Kind regards from Kim Straker (Maleny resident longing for the green green grass of home)

Dear Franc and Meeppa
Congratulations on your fantastic win! Thanks for sending the information on the hearing for your case. I have forwarded it on to Deborah Lilly, our Coordinator, and I am sure it will be valuable.
The Byron Shire Council has called a public information meeting tomorrow night and Woolies reps will be there. They have amended their development application and we have until 30 May to make submissions. We have a small, dedicated committee who are currently working very hard on this. Hopefully we will have a large turnout at this meeting to send a message to Woolies that they are not welcome.
If you are interested in following the progress of our campaign the MCAN website is
Thank you for your support.
Regards Jan

Hi Franc, Mount Evelyn & Meeppa
Thank you for letting me know about the VCAT decision that the Woolworths proposal for the supermarket development represents an over development of the site. Congratulations on mounting a successful case before VCAT and on your hard work.
Best regards
Johan Scheffer MP
Member for Eastern Victoria Region

I am involved with the Mullumbimby Community Action Network. We are currently fighting a proposal by Woolworths for a supermarket in our town.
Could you please advise me what the progress is with the application in Mt. Evelyn? The latest information I could find from a search on the internet was that a VCAT hearing was scheduled for 25 March but I haven't been able to find out what the outcome of that hearing was.
Thanking you.
Jan Street

Dear Mt Evelyn community,
I just saw your brave and heart-warming story on Today Tonight. I had tears of joy in my eyes to celebrate your victory. I am so impressed and so proud to witness a small community doing battle, and winning, against a large, greedy, vicious, notoriously oversized supermarket.
Please keep up the good work, even if they manage to build their monstrosity in your town, you can always boycott them and keep them out in the cold.
I am a firm believer in buying local produce, supporting local growers and not buying goods that have travelled halfway around the world, at the cost of our environment, that can be produced on our very own doorstep.
Don't give up. Most Australians are behind you and I believe you are at the frontline of a new trend - an enormous swing away from the big chains - and back to a simpler, more natural way of living. Let's get back to basics and stop the greed!
Best regards,
Nora Jones

Congratulations to the Community for the saving of our beautiful township. You kept the Woolly Bullys out.
Special thanks to Clare. Franc and Tim for the effort that they put in, for the saving of the town, you should be honoured.
Barry Marshall

Congratulations Franc to you personally and to MEEPPA. Tremendous effort - well done!
I know how much time and effort you put into this and you should be very proud of what you have achieved.
I was quietly optimistic that things will turn around MEEPPA’s way.
My parents went through a similar situation many years ago when BP went to VCAT to appeal a decision by the local council not to grant FoodPlus a permit to build opposite my parents’ milkbar in Bundoora. Everyone thought it was a hopeless case fighting such a giant corporation. But my parents persisted with the support of the local community and won in the end which reinforced my belief that persistence pays!
Mt Evelyn residents can now breath a sigh of relief that their wonderful township will not be damaged by this inappropriate development.
Please pass my congratulations to MEEPPA and the Mount Evelyn community at the earliest opportunities.
Regards Sami
Sami Hisheh
ALP Lilydale Branch

Franc, (and MEEPPA)
As I am writing this my eyes are filling with tears.
Thank you from all of us who would never have had the knowledge, courage, or audacity to think that we could possibly have had a chance to beat this monster.
I have already had three people come into the Link with odd looks on their faces – not daring to believe what they had heard in the grapevine – only to burst into dance after I was able to confirm what Tim had told me about the decision.
Celebrate in style!!!!

Hi Franc (and MEEPPA)
I'm so rapt for mt evelyn - i think i smile in my sleep.
We were talking about you yesterday and wondering if you have any hints you could offer to us re the quarry. we're waiting for minister madden to make a decision about whether he'll become the planning authority. we need more media coverage but are exhausted after 14 years of battling - do you have any good media contacts you could recommend? or any other thoughts you'd be willing to share, if you're not too exhausted yourself.
sorry i couldn't make it to the photo shoot, i've injured my ankle pretty badly and was seeing a specialist, i'm looking forward to seeing the photos.
best regards, kim

RE:  Development of Woolworths Supermarket in Canungra QLD
I am writing to seek advice on how to battle against developers and Woolworths in my rural town of Canungra (in the Gold Coast Hinterland) in Queensland. 
My name is Tony Nguyen. I am the owner of FoodWorks supermarket in Canungra.  Developers have purchased a block of land and have lodged application with the Scenic Rim Council to developed a shopping centre with Woolworths supermarket as the main tenant. 
My concern is that this will definitely destroy local small businesses, myself included.  Additionally, it will mark the death of the town's village atmosphere and streetscape.  The population of the town is 725 (2006 census) yet the developers still persist that it is economically viable.
All local businesses (except the Real Estate businesses) and a large majority of the town's people are against the development.  There is not a formal community group in town such as yours MEEPPA.  It may be too late too establish one. (NEVER !)  As the final date for submissions is May 12th and a public meeting held by the developers is on the 28th April.  (YOU organize one for the 27th April !)
Can you please advise me on what to do? 
The council has already object to the developers first application; however, the developers threaten to take the matter to court and into a long and expensive battle.  The council told me that they cannot afford to use rate payers money in this manner and therefore will have to submit to the developers.  I feel very sadden that the voice of the people or power of councils have very little impact when big corporations are willing to throw money into court to get their way.
Any advice and help would be muchly appreciated.
Yours Sincerely
- Tony Nguyen

The proposed development for Mt. Evelyn is untenable due to the issue of
traffic, there is no way the trucks can get into the small streets to
supply such a large development, which has been strenuously avoided in
the planning process. I sat at the corner of Wray Cresent and
Birmingham Roads last year for seven minutes and watched a huge truck
just try to get around the corner. It had to go back and forth at least
six times just to negotiate the bend. ( And then it gave up trying to
turn down Snowball Avenue.)
Imagine that, when everyone is trying to get their kids to school or
sporting activities in the area! (e.g.Scouts, karate, dance, Churches)
to name but a few in the local shopping precinct. All of the area will
be noticing the safety aspect due to this development. York road is not
the only supplier of traffic to this town, try Hereford Road and
Birmingham Road, they both supply a major amount of traffic to the area
and all will all be affected. Does Woolworths suggest they propose we
bulldoze the whole town to make way for their un-economically
sustainable development?
Not withstanding the fact that it will be the destruction of a beautiful
little tourist township and the safety factors.
Wool worth's have just bought up the marketplace in Lilydale, (now
called Stocklands) and I have heard from the local shop-keepers in
the centre that a Big W is proposed for the old market behind that
centre. Why do they need our little town as well - I think it is called
Personally, I really like to shop locally in Mt. Evelyn and begrudge
the fact that I should ignore supporting my local area producers in
favour of multi nationals. The local supermarket sources a lot of
produce from the Yarra Valley and it's surrounding area.
I would say, save transport costs, save money , lower the CO2 output and
support your own community. Please do not help the corporations destroy
our town.
I live in hope.
Yours sincerely,
- Kerry Johnson

I saw what is happening to the people of Mt Evelyn RE: Safeway on Today Tonight and felt compeled to write this letter, I can only hope that I
have sent it to the right person, I'll give you a bit of advice from experience, I live on a farm 25 ks west of a small town called
Bannockburn, (Bannockburns about 20 ks North West of Geelong just off
the Midland Hwy) the town has 1 Pub, 1 Supermarket, and 1 Service
Station, about 18 months ago Safeway came to town and bought out the
Super Market (it used to be Foodworks, very similar to your IGA) and the Service Station, since then the price of product from the Super Market
has risen about 33% in the Deli, 33% for fruit & Veg, 15% for meat
although the price of shelf products is about the same, they also have
the bottle shop and the price of beer has also gone up about 15 to 25%
depending on the product, don't let them in or you will pay for that
mistake the rest of your lives.
All the best with your battle.
- Robert Chapman

Having just attended the 12 March public meeting at the Mount Evelyn Public Hall, I wish to thank Franc Mayston-Smith and Clare Worsnop from MEEPPA, Tim Heenan and his colleagues from the Shire of Yarra Ranges, and Ralph Kemmler and his colleagues from Woolworths for sitting on the panel this evening and listening to the Mount Evelyn's community's unanimous rejection of both the proposed Safeway development and the contemptuous manner in which the Woolworths corporation has attempted to run roughshod over this community. I have only been a resident of Mount Evelyn for 18 years, which is far less than many of my fellow residents, but I love living in this quiet, semi-rural haven on the fringe of the Melbourne metropolitan region, and clearly understand from tonight's meeting that so does the rest of the Mount Evelyn community so strongly represented at tonight's meeting. Many thanks indeed to Franc and Clare for fighting the good fight with such resilience and perseverance in the face of such petty contempt and obstructiveness, and to Tim and his colleagues for their reasonableness and concern and support for the community. Ralph assured us at numerous times during the meeting that Woolworths as a corporation is very concerned with "doing the right thing", but as a psychologist and social researcher I can only wonder what Woolworths believes it has done by way of consultation to establish that it is in fact doing the right thing by the local community. It can only be imagined that Woolworths anticipates patronage of the proposed development by residents of other communities, perhaps further out in the Yarra Valley, as there can no longer be any doubt that there would be anything remotely resembling a viable level of patronage from the residents of Mount Evelyn. Woolworths has made an error of judgement in assuming that the Mount Evelyn community would passively accept the unilateral imposition of an inappropriate development that it neither wants nor needs. More egregious than an error of judgement is persistence with an error of judgement in the face of evidence to the contrary, and I trust that Ralph and his colleagues from Woolworths are in no doubt as to the concerns, feelings and wishes of the Mount Evelyn community.
- Ian Woff

I have written to Woolworths, Yarra Ranges Shire, Tony Smith, Christine Fyffe, local papers and The Age newspaper as follows :
We reside happily in Mt Evelyn, Melbourne. Twice over the past few years we have opposed the proposal to build a large supermarket in our small town. Each time we have thought that our success meant the supermarket would not be built. Now we are surprised and upset that the land in the middle of town has been bought by Woolworths and that despite the residents’ objections a large supermarket and shopping/office/parking complex is planned.
This development is totally inappropriate. It is not wanted at Mt Evelyn for the following reasons:
1. It will detrimentally change Mt Evelyn forever; we love this semi rural area for its small, low key shops
2. We already have an appropriately sized IGA supermarket
3. If we wish to shop at a large supermarket, we can go to Lilydale, less than 5 kilometres away, where we have a choice of 3 large supermarkets, including a very large Safeway.
4. A new large supermarket will definitely kill several small retail businesses in Mt Evelyn.
5. The proposed development is large, ugly, imposing and totally inappropriate for the town.
6. It will change the beautiful green, treed landscape and view of Mount Dandenong
7. The traffic will make our small quiet town into another ugly, urban, polluted, noisy shopping precinct.
Please help us to prevent this development.
- Elise Biggs

Dear Raw,
I cannot accept that in our society that all are equal, only some are more equal than others. I find most objectionable and totally unacceptable  that an institution can operate in such a manner as to disenfranchise the "little man" and elevate the position of the large corporations. There must not be one interpretation and administration of the law for one part of the society and something quite different for another. How can individuals be simply wiped from a list? If Woolworths were to be omiotted from lists of notification then one would feel confident that the matter would receive immediate rectification, almost certainly with profuse apologies. This matter must be returned to the Shire of Yarra Ranges to be fairly and properly dealt with.
- Regards, Bob O'Neill

Mt Evelyn Residents,
Everyone who wants to retain the village atmosphere we live with will need to be aware that Mt Safeway is looming up large. So please get active and support MEEPPA to stop this unwanted development.
- Robyn

Dear Woolworths,
As a new resident of Mt Evelyn I wasn't aware I had actually bought into soon to be Mt Safeway.I mistakenly thought the good people of Mt Evelyn and the Yarra Ranges Council headed by intrepid Mayor Tim had completely rejected your avaricious plans to put a huge mound of unwanted concrete into middle of this charming,away from the rat race,town.
You are not wanted in Mt Evelyn,Woolworths,get lost.
- J Heald, Mt Evelyn

On reading Cr Heenan's comments on the Home Page, I felt obliged as I trust many others will do to send a Christmas Card to Mr Luscombe and his Woolworths board, quote," wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year, my wish is for you to abandon your Safeway plan and not to destroy our Village of Mount Evelyn, unquote. Lets unite and WIN this battle.
- Barry Marshall, Mt Evelyn

I think it is very simple Woolworths, Your not wanted here so don't come here. Keep up the good work everyone .
- Simon and Anne. Mt Evelyn

On the request from our Councillor, plus Clare, Franc and Heather at the rally, lets all pull together and support them by writing to the Parliamentarians, Woolworths, Newspapers and other media outlets to STOP THIS INVASION
- Barry Marshall

"Thank you for your excellent site. Lets hope that Saturdays rally shows Woolworths just how determined  we are to stop their inappropriate development. Lets save Mount Evelyn’s village atmosphere for all to enjoy, that is why we live here."
- Robyn