RESIDENTS opposing affordable housing being built at Capel Sound say the proposal is the latest in a string of “broken promises” by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to protect land for community open space.
Council has proposed affordable housing projects at four sites on the peninsula, including a 22,700 square-metre block behind the Seawinds Community Hub, at 11a Allambi Avenue, Capel Sound.
Spokesperson for Capel Sound Community Group, Kazzie McIntosh, said residents were tired of broken promises of parkland and felt let down by the council.
“The council has repeatedly let Capel Sound down over many years when it comes to green space for the community,” she said.
“Now we face losing yet another piece of land that the community has come to rely on as open space.”
The shire’s development services manager David Simon said the land was zoned general residential zone “and has been for a significant period of time”.
The land was within the urban growth boundary and not in the green wedge. “The land may have been provided to council by a previous owner but there is no encumbrance on the land,” Simon said.
He said part of the land had been reserved for “municipal and drainage purposes [but] that was validly removed via a planning permit”.
Ron Coleman, a retired developer whose parents owned much of the land around Rosebud West about 70 years ago, says his family was required to give land to the council in the 1950s as open space during the subdivision for Bayview Heights Estate.
However, despite council assurances at the time, in the 1970s part of the land was used for Eastbourne Primary School.
Marg Ross, who bought land in the area in the 1960s, remembers the community’s disappointment when the promised parkland was developed.
“The developers were happy to set aside land for parkland, and we the residents were glad to be getting a park and so we lost our park,” she said. “There was a lot of disappointment about that.”
The community faced the loss of more community space 20 years later when a park to be built as part of a development at the end of Wingara Drive never eventuated.
Residents of the high-density Wingara development were assured a park would be created at the end of the street however, McIntosh said, the shire has since admitted that land was given to another area as open “space”.
“If the Allambi Avenue development was to proceed there will be no remaining open space worth talking about,” she said.
Coleman said his family would be devastated to see the last remaining area of park taken from the Capel Sound community.
The council plans to develop more than half of the 2.2-hectare allotment in Allambi Avenue for low cost housing.
McIntosh said that would leave residents with “a square of green grass not worth having” and not big enough to service the Capel Sound community.
“A petition we circulated shows that the majority of residents feel strongly against the loss of this parkland,” she said.
“Our plea to council is don’t take away this green open space from the Capel Sound community. We really must do everything in our power to save our parkland. “
The future of Allambi Avenue land is scheduled to go before the council on 6 September.