MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council has praised residents for their “vigilance” in detecting and reporting illegal foreshore works on the beachside of a Portsea property owned by trucking magnate Lindsay Fox.
The mayor Cr David Gill said the residents “assisted in bringing this matter to our attention [and] demonstrated our community’s desire to protect the peninsula’s unique environment”.
This led to a company associated with Mr Fox being fined $10,000 in Dromana Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay the council $10,000 in costs over illegal works on a 4600 square metre parcel at Point King beach. (“Fox fined over beach land” The News 10/9/2019).
But Mr Fox is not the only high-flyer falling foul of the shire’s land-clearing and planning laws.
Dual-Brownlow medalist Chris Judd was last week fined $40,000 and ordered to pay $6000 costs by the same court for wholesale clearing of 3000 square metres of private land at Main Ridge.
The shire brought the charges under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
The former Carlton champion was caught out by “happenstance” when a council employee took photos of the cleared land for his own use which were later used as evidence at the trial.
The mayor Cr David Gill slammed recalcitrant landowners for trying to bring “their own brand of urbanisation” into the indigenous peninsula environment.
“Judd tried to turn sensitive bushland into a park,” he said. “His was a severe case of land clearing.”
Cr Gill said the fines imposed on the pair would not be their only expenses. “We will follow up restoration of the land in the Fox and Judd cases through VCAT and it will be costly for both of them,” he said.
“It might take years to restore their land but if they think they can just use their money and it will be all done and dusted it will not be.”