LAST ditch efforts to save vacant state government-owned land at the gateway to Mount Eliza village for community use has failed, with the 2600 square-metre lot selling by expressions of interest on Friday.
Mornington MP David Morris recently called on the state government to abandon the sale of the former road reserve at 1 Mount Eliza Way, and to retain the site in public ownership. He also urged residents to write to the transport minister and the treasurer objecting to the sale.
Mr Morris said the sale had taken the community, as well as himself, by surprise, as he had been speaking to residents keen to retain the site for community use, given its de-facto operation as public space for decades.
Mr Morris raised the matter in parliament two weeks ago after discovering the former road reserve had been rezoned as residential, but conceded that it was “unlikely” the government would take a backward step by halting the sale of land.
The president of the South Eastern Centre for Sustainability, Steve Karakitsos, said development would be unsuitable at the location due to road safety concerns.
The block is in a busy location, and at the junction of high-traffic thoroughfares.
Mr Karakitsos said the land could have been used for a much-needed merge lane at the busy intersection, given the danger of turning right into Nepean Hwy.
There was also pressure from the community to preserve the land as an environmental /community park, given its location as the “gateway” to Mount Eliza.
Mr Karakitsos said he had surveyed neighbours of the block, with all opposed the development. He said drainage issues were already a concern due to a South Eastern Water facility on the site, which flooded the entire area earlier this year.
“Any future storms will certainly cause destruction to any property which is built, since it lies on the boundary of the adjoining property and not on the highway side,” he said.
Mr Karakitsos said he had previously spoken to the shire, which showed support for the land to be used as a local park, and so was shocked to see the land recently rezoned.
He said development of the site would “fracture” the pleasant gateway entrance to the village, while the flora and fauna values and “Aboriginal sensitivity of the site” are reasons to protect the site from any form of development.
The block was recently advertised by McEwing real estate partners, with an asking price of $2 million to $2.2 million, and by Friday was marked as sold.
Mr Morris told parliament the impact of the government’s financial “recklessness” was becoming evident with the sale of assets, including the Mt Eliza Way site, to “prop up the budget”.
“The issue is that the government is doing this with absolutely no warning.”
“This land has been a reserve for as long as anyone can remember, and in fact when I looked at the Landata map last night, it is identified as the Mount Eliza Way Reserve.
He said the land was the main gateway to Mount Eliza.
“It is an absolutely critical site. It will have a significant impact on the treescape if this proceeds and is developed,” he said.
Briars Ward Cr Steve Holland said he was also surprised to see the land advertised for sale, and had taken his concerns about the sale to the council.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council did not respond before deadline.