SUPPORTERS of the Mornington Peninsula’s green wedge sites are being urged to get their submissions to the c270morn planning amendment in before the cut-off date of 8 April.
If the c270 amendment is successfully adopted, ten ‘special use zones’ on the peninsula, including part of the former Reg Ansett estate at 60-70 Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza, where Ryman Healthcare plans to build a retirement facility, could be legally reintegrated into the green wedge and given ongoing protection.
The 8.9 hectare Moondah Estate has become a battleground for environmental advocates and symbolic of a larger community fight to protect the peninsula’s disappearing wildlife corridors and open spaces.
Ryman’s proposal to build an $80 million, residential aged care facility and/or retirement village of six four-storey buildings, two four-storey wings attached to the existing mansion, three three-storey buildings, a chapel and 362 car spaces, was rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year.
A new application submitted in August last year for a slightly smaller Ryman ‘village’ has not allayed community fears of over development.
Former Briars ward councillor Leigh Eustace said the plans were still an “inappropriate” over development of the site, and that the revised number of aged care beds (82), assisted living suites (35) and independent living apartments (104) would not significantly alter the scale of the development, with the main buildings still four storeys high.
Mr Eustace said there were several other factors – apart from the c270 amendment – that strengthened arguments to protect the green wedge site, including the state government’s Marine and Coastal Policy, which provides a framework for coastal development and focuses on “retaining and protecting” existing non-urban breaks and uses between costal settlements.
Meanwhile, the push to save what remains of the peninsula’s protected zones from development continues to gather political momentum, with Labor and Liberal both claiming support for protecting land outside the urban growth boundary, but disagreeing over the best way that should be done.
In The News (Green wedge politics), 15 March, a group of Liberal MPs and candidates on the peninsula said moving the peninsula to a regional classification, with legislative changes, could provide the same “protections” as green wedge zones, while Labor’s Chris Brayne responded by saying keeping its current ‘metropolitan’ classification would give much stronger green wedge protection and provides surety into the future.
Time is running out for green wedge advocates and there are now less than two weeks left for council to consider submissions to the c270 amendment proposal.
Community group ‘Save Reg’s Wedge’ has turned its focus to appealing directly to planning minister Richard Wynne – who ratified the c270 amendment in December – in the hope that he will call in the Ryman application and make a decision himself.
But the group recognises the odds are long, with Mr Wynne not planning to contest the next election, and any decision not likely to be made before the government falls into caretaker mode.
To make a submission on the c270 amendment email firstname.lastname@example.org with header C270morn. To contact the planning minister go to email@example.com or richardwynne.com.au