PREMIER Daniel Andrews’ election promise last week to establish more parks and increase protection of green wedges has been welcomed by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
The premier last week promised to “create more green open space than ever before” across Melbourne – including connecting 1881 hectares of parks and reserves between the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands and Mornington.
He said the state government would look at ways of linking the Edithvale-Seaford wetlands, Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve, Studio Park, Dame Elisabeth Arboretum, Cruden Farm, Langwarrin Flora and Fauna, Baxter Park, Sages Cottages, Moorooduc Quarry and Devilbend Natural Features Reserve.
This would enhance and complement green wedge land on the peninsula.
The protected zones are increasingly being recognised as vital for their major contribution to community health and wellbeing as development pressures dramatically increase living densities in residential areas.
The mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the Mornington Peninsula green wedge with an area of 51,204 hectares – 512 square kilometres – was of state and national significance.
Campaigning for its protection ramped up at the Green Wedges Summit held at Main Ridge in June which highlighted the value of produce from green wedge areas, which comprise about 70 per cent of the peninsula, and the importance of a sustainable water supply. (Water ‘saviour’ of green wedge, The News 2/7/18).
The summit also focused on the importance of maintaining the environmental, agricultural, tourism and social integrity of the green wedge areas with “balanced” planning and policies.
The premier’s announcement was welcomed by the association of Interface Councils, which includes Mornington Peninsula Shire.
The council’s executive officer David Hawkins said there were “significant benefits for all Victorians in expanding the parks and trails, particularly in green wedge areas”.
He said the Interface Councils had been “discussing with the Andrew’s Government the need for an increased investment to maintain the green wedge land in the Interface’s areas, as these are the lungs of Melbourne and require intensive maintenance”.
Last week Cr Payne contrasted the premier’s promised protection of green wedges to his “McMansion” three storey height limit planning legislation introduced in 2017 (Seeing red over house heights, The News 26/3/18).
Cr Payne slammed the state government’s unilateral decision to change planning regulations to allow 24,000 housing sites – 25 per cent of the housing stock in Mornington Peninsula Shire – the “automatic right to build new or renovate existing homes into three storey McMansion-style homes throughout low scale developed townships and coastal villages”.
He said the imposition of three storey homes in traditionally small-scale residential areas could lead to “major urbanisation on the boundaries of the green wedge through the historic Mornington Peninsula coastal villages and townships”.
Cr Payne has called on Opposition leader Matthew Guy to “confirm the Opposition’s commitment to overturning the three storey planning regulations”.