Historical information

Nillumbik Commissioners used 'reserve power's to permit a controversial Shell service station and Hungry Jack's restaurant development at the former Eltham Shire Office site at 895 Main Road. More than 200 people attended the Council meeting in the public gallery and protested at the decision.
32 personal submissions were made to Council's Planning Special Committee meeting whose members vioted 3-2 against the development. The Committee consisted of the three Nillumbik Commissioners and three community members (Jim Connor, Bronwyn South and Janet Mattiske). Chief Commissioner Don Cordell, a former Shell employee excused himself from voting and the three communbity memebrs voted against the submission. The other two commissioners, Vin Heffernan and Kevin Abbott voted against it. They then immediately closed the meeting and opened a Council meeting lasting just seconds to use special reserve powers to overturn the decision.

Subsequent to this the Commissioner run Council held a special meeting on Wednesday, October 23, 1996 where Commissioners Kevin Abbott and Vin Heffernan thanked all three community members of the Planning Special Committee and advised that their powers had been revoked. The article includes a joint statement from all three sacked members in which they state they have been able to bring a community perspective to the planning applications placed befopre the committee which has resulted in modifications to planning decisions. The members stated that "unfortunately, despite our best efforts to express considered apolitical opinions, it appears the Commissioners believe that any dissenting comment is politically motivated, and should therefore be disregarded." "We feel sad that this situation exists even though we have done everything possible tio represent the views of our community, whilst maintaining the integrity of the planning process."


The demolition of the former Shire of Eltham offices and proposed sale and development driven by the Commissioners for Nillumbik Shire Council brought the community together in substantial protest at the infrigement of ratepayers democratic say in local government and ciommunity assets combined with protests about inappropraite development of Eltham's Gateway. This issue led to the formation of the Eltham Community Action Group which still operates strongly today (2023) on behalf of the community to ensure appropriate development within the community.

Physical description

Digital scan file only