Council approves Power Ranch: Trafalgar East
 Baw Baw News   By // 19:16, Monday 3 March 2014

warragul citizen baw baw shire flag by william kulich 2

BAW Baw Shire councillors have approved the Power Ranch country music venue proposal for Trafalgar East despite council officers advising against the move.

The planning permit approval, granted at last week’s council meeting, will see up to 10 country music nights held at the Mountain Glen Drive address every year.

The venue has a long history of planning permit issues. It was used for music nights in 2009 without council approval, but with council assistance the operator applied for and was issued a temporary planning permit in November 2010.


During the assessment of a subsequent application for an ongoing permit several compliance issues with Building Act regulations were raised. The application was refused in January 2012 and the issue went to VCAT, which upheld the council’s decision.

Planners advised councillors against approving the latest application due to concerns it would “result in a land use that will have negative amenity impacts on surrounding residents in the farming zone area” and possibly cause unreasonable noise, dust and litter conflicting with agricultural production.

A number of neighbours with houses between 350 and 510 metres away from the site also presented concerns about noise and ruined views at last week’s meeting.

“My wife and I did a tree change, coming down to here eight years ago,” one objector said.


“We moved into a rural farming zoned area because we had an expectation of a quiet country life.”

Mount Worth ward councillor Peter Kostos moved the motion to approve the site’s operation subject to strict conditions, including the planting of fast-growing trees to shield neighbours from the site, changes to road configuration, waste management and sound system limitations.

Click here for the full list of conditions

“These conditions will have to be adhered to either before or during any event the applicant may have,” Cr Kostos said.

“All issues aside, there is a great opportunity here to have a good festive occasion for people to go to.

“They also have a promotion for kids to grab a microphone and sing. It’s a great opportunity for young wannabes to get up and strut their stuff.”

Cr Kostos said the visual impact on the neighbours’ properties would be minimal.

“I was out at the Power Ranch this morning with our mayor, and.. all I could see of [one objector’s house] was the roof.”


Before the vote mayor Murray Cook challenged the planners’ objection, which was based on the area being agricultural land.

“There’s been a fair bit of bad blood in this particular issue over a long period of time and I hope we can move on from here regardless of what the outcome is,” Cr Cook said.

“One of the problems I have is referring to that area as ‘good agricultural land.’ I own some property in the vicinity and it certainly is not good agricultural land.”

Warragul ward councillor Mikaela Power was the only councillor present to vote against the approval.

“This strikes me as something that started as a great idea,” Cr Power said.

“The many conditions that are applied are there to make sure it’s a safe and fun event for people attending and also that it’s reasonable for the neighbours. Everyone has different perspectives.

“I think many of the conditions that we’re setting for the application will be hard to achieve.”

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7 responses to “Council approves Power Ranch: Trafalgar East”

  1. wombat lyons says:

    seems to be very rare for councillors to accept council officers planning advice in 2014, this is one of a number of items over the last few meetings where the council hasn’t followed the advice.

    to me this says the there is something wrong with the planning process or the councillors are making some very risky decisions that may backfire badly

  2. Andrew says:

    Council has a consistent record over many years of overturning planning officers advice. Why councillors have the temerity to think they know more than qualified officers is beyond understanding.

    Leaves council wide open to accusations of cronyism, proven by repeated and costly losses at VCAT.

  3. Dougle Smiley says:

    Why have Councillors? Just let the “Qualified Officers” make all the decisions, why do we need a Democratic System of checks and balances, why don’t we all go and live in the Ukraine?

  4. Andrew says:

    Ummm, probably because the by-laws and planning were developed under a democratic system. I know, lets get rid of all this tedious stuff and have councillors make all the (random)decisions. Excuse me, I’m off to buy a pair of white shoes.

  5. Jacko says:

    Why does everyone think this is a problem? Both Planning dept. and Council are doing their jobs correctly. Planning dept. exercises the broad policy they have been told to exercise. It is what they are supposed to do and they have little discretion. Councilors sit above this process and analyse exceptional submissions to see if special merit exists. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
    It is not a war between departments, it is a clear process doing exactly what it was designed to do. Both sections are doing their jobs as intended even if they come up with different answers to the same problem. To confuse due process for conflict is both a childish response and wrong.

  6. Bente says:

    And why do the rates go up every time I fix my property.

    Why has Yarragon now become and industrial site with ugly sheds close to town, not a good look. Sheds could have been moved back from the view of the town.

    Why was no noise barrier put up when they put in the fast train and heavy traffic. the noise is a night mare and houses shake each time a train goes by tooting their horn.

    Why are there no plans to clean up native strips at Factory Road, it’s not a good look and also a fire harass. Why are we paying such high rates and not receive any appropriate services?????

    I do have heaps of pictures which show the disgusting native strips at factory road.

  7. Tessa Emmerson says:

    At the last council election I voted for new representatives because I felt that the previous councillors had lost sight of local issues, lost touch with the electorate and tended to rubber-stamp the decisions of administrative officers. This current debate may simply illustrate the difference between theory and practice. If councillors are now using their practical knowledge of local conditions and needs to modify the theoretical advice they receive from administrators, isn’t that the way the system is supposed to work? If we think they’ve got it wrong, the ballot box awaits – us and them.