MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is investigating whether more planning controls are needed to protect the environmental values of the Balcombe Estuary Reserves.
The estuary is one of the peninsula’s major waterways and regarded as a significant natural asset.
The reserves are rich in biodiversity and offer picnic tables, playgrounds, fishing platforms and walking tracks and boardwalk alongside Balcombe Creek, extending from the bay to Nepean Highway and on to The Briars.
Other recreation facilities include tennis courts, cricket and football ovals, pistol club, and bowls club, as well as Mount Martha Pre-School and maternal and child health centre.
The shire is concerned that, with increasing population, the environment and the recreational facilities of the reserves will come under increasing pressure.
A draft Balcombe Estuary Reserve Ecological and Planning Study aims to protect and enhance the biodiversity values of the reserves.
The goal is to balance the preservation of the reserves’ ecological values while supporting sport and recreation uses of the area.
“We want your thoughts on how we can best balance sport and recreation and the environmental significance of the reserves,” the mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said.
The shire is recommending a new planning control have the power to limit the impact of future development and vegetation removal on the environmental significance of the area. It recommends small pockets of land be rezoned where the zoning does not match the current or future land use.
It is acknowledged that some planning controls protecting the environment may restrict certain community facilities and expansion of sport and recreation facilities. The shire may need to either buy land in or near Mount Martha if these facilities need to expand or dedicate parts of the reserves for recreational needs over environmental protection.
A community consultation period runs until Monday 28 June.
Those wanting to be involved can visit: mornpen.vic.gov.au/balcombeestuary
They can then fill out the survey and/or make a submission.
Hard copy forms are available at shire customer service centres.
An information session is to be held online, 11am-1pm, Monday 31 May via Microsoft Teams.
An in person drop-in session is being held 5.30-8pm, Wednesday 9 June, at Mornington Park Pavilion (9 Flinders Drive, Mornington).
To RSVP for an information session visit mornpen.vic.gov.au/balcombeestuary.