THE shire council will ask South East Water to set aside 10 per cent of its 2.8-hectare decommissioned reservoir site in Mt Eliza for a public reserve as well as provide land for social housing.
The council decision follows the release of an independent panel report into the future of 24 blocks of land on the corner of Barmah and Kanya roads near Kunyung Rd owned by the government water authority.
The panel report did not recommend either public reserve or public housing blocks.
In early 2014, South East Water asked the shire to rezone the 24 blocks of about 1000 square metres each via a planning scheme amendment, which must be approved by planning minister Richard Wynne. SEW wants to sell the blocks to developers for full price, estimated to be worth up to $13 million.
Shire councillors last Monday voted to put the request to SEW as well as ask the state government if the land could be included in a “pilot project for the provision of a social housing” on the peninsula.
The council decisions includes an implied threat that the council could abandon the planning scheme amendment: “… council invites South East Water to consider and positively respond … before council makes a final decision on whether or not it should abandon or adopt [the amendment].”
The public reserve would be at least 2000 square metres, councillors agreed.
The council also “requests the Premier of Victoria, the Minister for Planning, and the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, as appropriate, to consider the social housing issues raised by [the proposed amendment]”.
The government will be asked: “Whether there is likely to be any new Victoria Planning Provisions to support the securing of social housing contributions, and, if so, when they are likely to be introduced; and whether the state proposes to make any additional contribution to the stock of social housing on the Mornington Peninsula to meet the needs of … residents who are at risk of homelessness.”
Last month Mornington MP David Morris called on state Environment Minister Lisa Neville to save the South East Water reservoir land at Mt Eliza from housing and make it a wildlife reserve. He said Sir Reg Ansett had bought the land in the late 1950s and handed it to State Rivers and Water Supply Commission for a reservoir. The commission had wanted to use Ansett land opposite.
“It cost the government nothing and it should be given to the people. It has become a haven for wildlife after being locked up for 16 years,” Mr Morris said.
A citizen group formed to lobby for the land to become a nature reserve has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KunyungSaysNo