RESIDENTS and environmental groups have joined Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in calling for more protection from development for green wedge zoned areas.
Home owners living near a rare semi-rural pocket of Rosebud are concerned that a remaining slice of undeveloped land abutting a residential subdivision on one side and state park on the other could one day be sold and developed, despite being important wildlife habitat.
Merete Crofts, who lives on the Carrington Park subdivision next to the land, said she and neighbours were told in 2016 that the land at 12 Angley Rise would never be developed, and would be kept as a buffer zone for wildlife living in the Arthurs Seat State Park bushland on either side.
But now they fear the 15000-square metre green wedge allotment is being eyed off by developers, and Crofts said she fears it could one day be rezoned and developed unless the council steps in and protects it.
“Sadly, this is already in private ownership but now the Mornington Peninsula Shire has an opportunity to protect green wedge land and provide space for wildlife, so they need to act,” she said.
Crofts said the land was an important area for koalas, kangaroos, owls and other wildlife which had been using it for many years.
“Indeed, the developers of this subdivision a few years ago chose to use bollards instead of fences, so that the wildlife from the state park could move freely,” she said.
“The ecosystem of this area is of great importance to many species of native flora fauna and is a catchment area for the nearby creeks. This land was offered as a community protection of urban creeping and is visited by many of people on a daily basis.
A permit for a small building currently exists for the land, but Crofts claims a 75-metre defendable space set aside by CFA had been ignored in the building permit.
“There is now a chance to set this land aside and not only to restore and assure that the lost conditions are returned,” she said.
Pearcedale resident and founder of the Peninsula Green Wedge Protection Group, Craig Gobbo, also has fears for the future of the peninsula’s green wedge, following the proposal for a place of worship on four hectares of green wedge off Dandenong-Hastings Road.
Gobbo said he and neighbours were notified of the plans by a sign erected on 6 March.
“Our concerns are not regarding the religion or its followers, but of the environment and the forever changed effects on the local residents,” he said.
“Approval of this application would set a dangerous precedent for more such development within our green wedge and would invite similar proposals for other large, inappropriate buildings and intensive activities that would destroy the landscape and the environmental and rural amenity of the land,” he said.
“This bushland site includes environmentally significant flora and fauna habitat, is covered by an environmental significance overlay, is part of a significant wildlife habitat corridor and encompasses a section of the Watson Creek catchment, flowing into the Ramsar-listed Western Port.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire, which was unable to provide comment before deadline, is also calling on the state government to help it protect green wedge land by approving an “urgent” change to the planning controls for the peninsula.
The shire – under planning scheme amendment C270morn – is seeking to rezone parcels of land from special use zone to green wedge to protect them from inappropriate development, resolve anomalies in the planning scheme, and ensure the zoning of the sites reflects their intended use.
The shire is encouraging residents to write to Planning Minister Sonya Kilkenny to approve the amendment.
The mayor Cr Steve Holland said the council had invited Kilkenny to the peninsula to discuss how “we can continue to protect our valuable green wedge areas together”.