Cafe mural still in limbo

The Locavore Studio cafe. Picture: COURTESY BEN WILLIS

The Locavore Studio cafe is a step closer to keeping its outdoor mural but is still fighting to retain a certain aspect of the artwork.

The Yarra Ranges Council met with cafe owner Jessie Crossley last month and granted permission for the mural to be kept based on the condition that the writing ‘locavore’ was removed.

The council’s acting director of social and economic development, Greg Box, said the size and prominence of the business name on the mural did not meet planning scheme requirements.

“We’ve recently received advice that because of the painted coat on the wall before the mural was created, a re-painted surface can be considered,” he said.

“However, the mural currently features the name of the business in large letters, which would require a planning permit.

“The mural, if altered to remove the business signage aspect, would meet the requirements of the Planning Scheme.”

However, Ms Crossley claimed she was told by the council that a complaint was the reason the mural couldn’t stay.

“Pretty much what it came down to was that they are happy for the mural to stay,” she said.

“But there was another complaint that it’s unfair we have such a big wall to have advertising on.

“That’s the reason why we need to paint over the word locavore.”

Ms Crossley said that although she didn’t agree with the decision, she was pleased the council had listened to the community’s wishes to keep the mural and she would remove the writing in the end if need be.

“I don’t agree with it, I think that the rent that I’m paying per month would justify me to utilise my space as I wish,” she said.

“I haven’t put the words Locavore Studio on the side of the wall.”

The mural’s artist, Paul Sonsie, said he believed the issue had moved away from heritage listing and the council was now “trying to please everybody.”

“It’s a solution that they’ve thrown at us that I think it just doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said.

“Its come away from the heritage overlay and it’s becoming a jealous story.

“It’s just smart branding on a wall that she (the owner) has and locavore means to eat local that’s why it works as a community word.”

The council claimed that no further compliance action on the mural will be taken until a new application has been made and assessed.