SAVE Reg’s Wedge campaigners have been letterboxing, handing out flyers, and “donating time and money in grassroots, community campaign” to stop the proposed Ryman Healthcare development at Mount Eliza.
The volunteers have joined Mornington Peninsula Shire, Mornington MP David Morris, and more than 1000 objectors in the fight to stop the New Zealand company’s bid for a retirement village on the former Ansett Estate in Kunyung Road.
The proposal is for a series of three-and-four-storey buildings, 272 apartments, 362 car spaces, 115 nursing beds and a place of worship on more than 23,000 square metres.
A major case hearing will be held at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, 15-19 March.
Save Reg’s Wedge, an incorporated volunteer community group, says it is fighting a David-and-Goliath battle against the contentious proposal which it claims will be a “disaster for our environment”.
It says Ryman Healthcare is “attempting to exploit a planning loophole” to push their development through, despite the unanimous rejection of the application by the council, and in the face of opposition from our community”. (The alleged “loophole” is the re-establishment of a place of worship on the site which is allowed under SUZ2 zoning which permits retirement villages “in conjunction with a place of worship”.)
The group met outside the gates on Saturday 6 March to highlight the proximity to Kunyung Primary School which they say will be impacted by the five-year construction timeline of “dust, noise, and truck movements five days a week” creating “devastating effects on children already impacted by the interruptions and stresses of COVID-19 on their education”.
Spokesperson Pamela Ross said: “The Kunyung community is horrified and living in dread of this development getting the go ahead.
“We are currently fundraising through our GoFundMe ‘Koalas Not High Rise’ to take on the multinational company. This land is heavily treed, is home to many native species, and is a documented koala habitat.
“It is part of the green wedge, does not have the infrastructure to support high density residential development, and is near the entrance of [the] school. The land lies outside the urban growth boundary.”
Ms Ross said Kunyung Road was “already heaving under the strain of drop-off and pick-up traffic” from the school which, with 800 students, is the area’s largest primary.
“There are no safe stopping areas for heavy vehicles, and the entrance to the proposed development crosses the only footpath on Kunyung Road, where hundreds of children and their families cross daily,” she said.
“This development would put hundreds more cars, and thousands more residents, staff and visitors, on a street that was never designed to hold this much traffic.
“The development will be a disaster for our environment. Apart from the destruction of the mature native vegetation, it will also cause huge storm water pollution run-off issues on Moondah beach.
“The existing stormwater infrastructure is ageing and under pressure, with EPA pollution alerts after every rain event. Foreshore erosion is a big concern at all of our beaches and this development, with thousands of residents, will only exacerbate beach erosion and pollution.
“Ryman also plans to install 55, five-metre tall light towers which will shine all night, creating a huge source of light pollution.”
Ryman will contend that the proposal is an appropriate development that will not detrimentally impact the coastal character or visual and scenic qualities of the coastline on Port Phillip and that vegetation removal is consistent with relevant planning rules.
Also, that the scale, form and materiality of the proposal responds to relevant guidelines and the significance of the heritage place.