MCMC comments on planning issues as they arise (statutory planning) and sets guidelines for the future (strategic planning).
1. Statutory Plannning
MCMC has no formal powers beyond those of an affected individual. Initially MCMC needed to show that it was affected by developments to have the right for its views to be heard. The Merri Creek Environment Significance Overlay now requires that planning authorities take MCMC's views into account.
To guide developers and planners MCMC prepared Development Guidelines for the Merri Creek in 2004 which provide objectives, criteria, design suggestions and techniques for the design themes. Ideally local policies should be incorporated into the 6 Council's planning schemes to state the essence of the guidelines.
MCMC is notified of planning applications affecting the Merri Creek by planning officers from the Councils. Depending on the proposal, and availability of staff time and expertise, MCMC may employ a planning consultant to identify possible courses of action.
2. Strategic Planning
MCMC makes written submissions on relevant state-level strategies, such as the Draft Flora and Fauna Action Statement, and Melbourne 2030 etc, but more effort is put into regional level strategies.
Regional level strategies
The Merri Creek and Environs Strategy is an example of a regional strategy.
Planning schemes covering the catchment
MCMC contributes to the development of Planning Schemes for its member Councils to increase protection of: areas of environmental and heritage significance, especially native grasslands, landscape character and water quality of the Merri Creek. Where planning schemes amendments affect the Merri Creek MCMC comments through the formal processes or less formally with Council planning officers.
The Merri Creek Environment Significance Overlay has been established along Merri Creek between the Yarra and the northern boundary of the City of Whittlesea. The overlay aims to provide MCMC’s views on how to protect the environmental, heritage, recreation, landscape and waterway function of Merri Creek and its parklands. The overlay gives MCMC the opportunity to provide its views to the planning authority regarding developments within the overlay area unless no permit is required for the development.
MCMC contributes to municipal strategies such as the Stormwater Management Plans, Open Space Strategies etc that are prepared by member municipalities.