Parks calls for comment on latest Pt Nepean plan

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PARKS Victoria is calling for feedback on a revised master plan for the future of Point Nepean National Park.

The plan, based on a draft released in 2010, is expected to consider a wide range of options for the pristine coastal area, taking account of Point Nepean’s historic connections to Point Lonsdale, the marine national park, its occupation and use by Aborigines as well as “appropriate” commercial and educational developments.

Late in 2014, just before the end of its term in office, the then Napthine Liberal government outraged environmentalists when it leased more than 64 hectares (158 acres) of the national park to Portsea property developer Point Leisure Group.

The deal included historic buildings at the Point Nepean quarantine station.

However, after its November 2014 election win the Andrews Labor government quickly abandoned the contract for a tourism and education-based development on a 50-year lease.

Earlier this year, Melbourne University was given the green light to build a research facility on the site of the old Quarantine Station.

Wary of further fuelling unrest about the site’s future, in inviting discussion on the master plan, Energy, Environment and Climate Change minister Lily D’Ambrosio  said the government wants a plan that for the park that “reflects the communities’ views and respects the site’s rich history”.

In July this year, Shelley Penn, hired as a consultant to facilitate the public consultation process, told The News that there was “resounding agreement that Point Nepean has the values of a national park, with high conservation values and varied and layered histories”.

“Point Nepean can mean different things to many people. [Since the 2010 plan] there has been a richer appreciation of the significance of the park.”

She said the adopted master plan would need to “give the community a sense of what could happen”.

Ms Penn said the differences required to the 2010 master plan included enlarging the scope of the plan to include economics, the marine sanctuary, cultural and ecological links between Point Nepean and Point Lonsdale, maritime history (shipwrecks) and “what is unique about the national park and its potential attractions to visitors”.

Parks Victoria will hold on-site information sessions at Portsea’s Badcoe Hall from 10am-3pm, Sunday 22 January 2017.

The master plan is open for community consultation until 10 February 2017 and is expected to be finalised in mid- 2017.

Details: parks.vic.gov.au/pointnepeanplan

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 13 December 2016

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