THE Greater Torquay Alliance (GT Alliance) is canvassing for a pro bono lawyer to help make its case in the next phase of the Surf Coast Distinctive Area and Landscape (DAL) program.
A post on the GT Alliance Facebook page earlier this month stated the Torquay community group was looking for a “planning and environment barrister experienced in planning panels” who could represent the GT Alliance at the DAL Standing Advisory Committee’s public hearing, which will begin on March 15 and run for four to five weeks.
“We don’t have any funding at this stage so we are looking for someone local who may wish to do it pro bono,” the post said. “We expect the Option 1 enthusiasts will have legal reps and expert witnesses to persuade the panel why urban development of the Spring Creek valley is a good thing, so we need to put up a good case to counteract that.”
GT Alliance supports Option 2 in the DAL’s draft Statement of Planning Policy, which rules out any development in the valley west of Duffields Road.
Last week, GT Alliance president Andrew Cherubin said the search was “looking quite promising at the moment”.
“We’re looking up a couple of avenues,” Mr Cherubin said. “Definitely someone with experience in planning law is what we’re hoping for.
“In terms of pro bono, this DAL process is relatively new for Victoria, so we’re sort of hoping someone wants to come in and establish some bona fides for future things that might come up for them; there might be an avenue for them to say ‘I’ll do it pro bono and get a bit of experience in a field that is quite new’.
“We’re also hopeful that we might gather the funds for a barrister who might not go full pro bono but might come partway.”
Mr Cherubin said the GT Alliance was feeling confident about the overall Surf Coast DAL process.
“Obviously, it was brought about because Daniel Andrews and Darren Cheeseman made promises at the state election, and the DAL process has come from those, so we’re hoping they stick to their guns.”