THE Mornington Peninsula can mean many things to many people. The 2016 census puts the peninsula’s population at 150,000, but the number on the ground is often much greater.
Thousands visit on a daily basis all year and, over summer, the number of people staying overnight or for days at a time is in the tens of thousands.
But what attracts these people – residents and visitors – is under threat. Planning regulations decreed by state legislators seem to regard the peninsula’s towns and villages in much the same way as that of Melbourne’s inner suburbs, allowing for higher buildings and more dense development.
Outside of the towns and villages, in the peninsula’s so-called hinterland, the march of development over prime agricultural land is supposedly protected by green wedge zoning. But that too is under threat.
Mornington Peninsula Shire last week held a “summit” to draw attention to the weakening of planning regulations and how this threatens green wedge-zoned areas, which are credited with being among the peninsula’s biggest attractions. As well as spending a day talking about the problem, the shire is looking for support from artists who draw inspiration from areas within the green wedge.
Cr David Gill, who heads the art and culture community advisory panel, is urging “local artists, including students through to professionals”, to enter the 2018 Green Wedge Paint Out Exhibition.
“We wish the world to know what a unique and important place the peninsula is and ask artists to showcase the many wonderful aspects of our green wedge rural and environmental areas of significance, which need to be protected from insensitive development,” Cr Gill said.
Artists can register by Saturday 14 July and then take until early August to complete their work.
Details are on the shire’s website under “art and culture” and Green Wedge Paint Out Exhibition or call 5950 1655.