Nov 5

Learning Lessons

In Ballarat we have so much to learn about sustainable development, we can learn much from the mistakes of other cities. Ingrid writes that Geelong has less than 5% native vegetation left, some reports say 2%.

In Ballarat East we have a lot of native vegetation however if developers are given free reign here we may not have it much longer – and as Geelong now knows – once its gone, its gone… This just in from Ingrid Flood

Dear BE Net,

thought you might be interested in something that is happening in Geelong. Specifically Grove Rd/Station Rd, Marshall, Geelong and its Remnant River Red Gums.

Site – Proposed Retirement Village
Last week an Objection to an Amended Planning Application was lodged at the City of Greater Geelong.
A developer proposes to remove two trees from a stand of large old remnant River Red Gums. The amendment changes plans endorsed in 2009, so that a row of units can be built along the road adjacent to the River Red Gums. Two of the trees are in the way as the centre of the trunks are apparently right on the fenceline, partly on council reserve.
The value of the trees is completely ignored in the application. ie – biodiversity, neighbourhood character, views and vistas, history and culture, safe and walkable spaces.
An existing permit condition, 2009, protects the stand of trees ‘on the council reserve’ (third party property). Ensuring the permit conditions are enforced: that the tree protection zones are erected during construction, has taken a lot of time and persistance from individuals and community groups.
But now there is an added complication – the old farm fenceline differs from the newly surveyed property boundary. So the existing tree protection permit condition might not protect these two trees.
Support has been given by a couple of Geelong community environment groups to retain all the trees. A solicitor from the Environment Defenders Office wrote a letter on my behalf to council – asking for evidence for the developers’ claim that the trees were ‘planted’ and therefore ‘exempt from needing a Permit to Remove Native Vegetation’.
Soon the City of Greater Geelong will arrange either a mediation/conciliation meeting or a Planning Panel (where it is harder for objectors to have a say).
The retirement village is being built on an old farm site which had a fair amount of large canopy trees, exotic and native. The developer is leaving 5 trees.
Geelong has less than 5% native vegetation left, some reports say 2%.

One comment

  1. Diane says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if Ballarat could learn by the mistakes of others. The Queensland Government is in the process of buying back privately owned significant koala habitat. Ballarat is proud of its status in the tourism industry but it looks like we will be travelling to Qld to see Australia’s native animals in their natural habitat. Ballarat is one hour from an international airport but Ballarat council is rapidly turning Ballarat East’s (The Gateway to Ballarat) wildlife corridor into ‘cookie cutter style’ affordable housing.

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