Plan now to save Lysterfield Valley, council urged

KNOX Council needs to spend money now to save the Lysterfield Valley from development, the Knox Environment Society says.
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Society spokesman Darren Wallace said it was pleasing the council had decided to look at creating a green wedge management plan in response to community concerns and expectations.

“A strategic plan would be money well spent. There’ll always be competing demands at budget time but we need to make the expenditure on this plan now.”

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Several councillors have said a management plan should not be considered a priority for this year’s budget. Councillors Darren Pearce and Joe Cossari agreed the council’s 2012-13 budget would be extremely tight, with other things to take priority.

A report was noted at last week’s council meeting about the green wedge zone in the Lysterfield Valley, outlining the options to give land outside the urban growth boundary maximum protection from development.

The report also looked at the potential for a planning scheme amendment to rezone green wedge 2 land (four-hectare minimum lot size) to green wedge 1 zone (20-hectare minimum) to further protect the area.

A full strategic investigation into developing a management plan would cost about $50,000.

“We’ve got incredible budgetary pressures this year,” Cr Pearce said. “We can’t just up rates to accommodate it all, we need to find savings.”

He noted the carbon tax impact, operational issues and new preschool reforms as the reason for the tighter budget.

The minimum lot size was four hectares and owners “can’t just cut it up into quarter-acre blocks”.

However, Cr John Mortimore said the green wedge management plan was a priority and the council “cannot afford to take a risk with them [green wedges]”.

“You only get one chance to keep this land, so it’s important to protect the Lysterfield Valley.”