05 October 2023

A Coffee with Joseph Indomenico, Tract Consultants

A Coffee with Joseph Indomenico, Tract Consultants
As planners and designers, Tract collaborates to creatively shape places for civic interaction, conduits for movement, places to live, work and visit, and habitats to grow.

We caught up with Senior Principal Joe Indomenico for a chat on all things Town Planning;

Firstly, tell us a little about your path into planning and your role now at Tract – where did you start out in the industry and what’s your journey from there been like?

My planning journey started in an Environmental Science degree where I took an elective in land use planning. The topic struck a chord fairly quickly and before I knew it, I was looking for further opportunities in the field.

I managed to secure a short stint at Maribyrnong City Council as part of my undergraduate degree where I was lucky enough to work alongside some great people, some of which are still in the system.

Shortly after my time at Maribyrnong, I secured a role at Tract and now I’m part of the furniture. It was clear for me early that Tract and I shared a lot of values, particularly around professional development, opportunity, culture and general wellbeing. For me, if you are fortunate enough to find yourself in an environment like this, you are generally going to get the best out of yourself and others around you.

I’m a Senior Principal in our Melbourne office and I’m part of a group of 40+ planners.

Do you have a particular type of project you enjoy working on the most?

I’m somewhat of a generalist planner, however, my passion is in the infill space.

Whether it be a project like Hali or a project in an urban renewal precinct, working alongside like-minded clients, architects, and consultants, to bring about positive change for how people live, work, and interact, is what keeps me motivated.

What’s the primary role of the Town Planner in a multi-residential setting such as Hali? 

There are many roles that a planner needs to take on in a multi-residential setting. 

At project inception / pre-acquisition, our primary role is to identify planning risks and opportunities in the context of our client’s vision so that informed decisions about project feasibility can be made. 

Assuming the project passes through the first gate, we then develop a tailored planning strategy and approval pathways map for the project with the client, project team, and relevant authorities.  

Once the planning strategy has been settled, our role is to then work with the client and the wider project team to prepare and settle the planning application material, and ultimately a decision on it. 

With many moving parts, some beyond the planning realm, and a significant level of community interest, Hali has required a whole-of-team effort from project inception. 

We’re incredibly proud of how the planning application has come together for Hali and the very real outcomes that will be delivered through its architecture, parks and gardens, sustainability performance, and contribution to housing supply and the wider role and function of the Dromana township.

What's the future look like for Melbourne? And how can yourself and Tract help?

Incredibly positive but with some stormy seas ahead. 

Our social, health and education foundations were shaken through the COVID pandemic, however, they remain intact and the envy for the most part of many other cities around the world. Housing affordability and supply, and our economic balance sheet on the other hand need some urgent attention. 

As planners, we’ve always had an ability to shape our cities and communities. At Tract, we understand there is no simple fix to the housing affordability and wider supply challenge given its complexity. We do support a recalibration of the state’s housing policy to deliver housing more efficiently. 

Tract offers the full range of planning services for projects of all scales and contexts in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and South Australia. We understand more than ever the challenges facing the development industry and how important it is to work closely with our clients, and their project teams, in unlocking development feasibilities / projects through innovative thinking and value adding planning services.  

The size and breadth of experience across our team, including in the social and affordable housing sector, means we are able to mobilise quickly and resource projects with the diligence, attention, and consistency required and expected.

What appealed to you when first presented with Hali Dromana?

Having holidayed in Dromana and the wider Mornington Peninsula at times during my childhood years, I knew of the Hali site and the history behind it. 

Its waterfront amenity, overall size, and location on the edge of the activity centre, make it truly one of a kind. When Samuel shared its vision with us to transform the site into a high performing new residential community, and understanding Samuel’s general approach to project development and delivery, the decision to provide our planning and landscape architectural services was an easy one. 

We continue to assist Samuel and its project team in the delivery of the planning approval and we are excited to see it come to fruition in years to come.

We know you’re a good Bombers man – what are your thoughts on 2023 and when you might break that finals hoodoo. 

It certainly was a rollercoaster. All in all, and as I’ve passed through the five stages of grief following our capitulation in the final rounds, 2023 is a pass mark for me. 

There has been some growth in the playing group with hopefully more to come from the younger brigade. Recent re-signings of key players is a good sign that things off the field are in good shape too – at least that is what I’m telling myself. 

I’m always optimistic, however, I do think we’re close to seeing some success. It’s been a lean 20+ years for Dons and we’re well beyond due…