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Council preserves biologically significant land

Council is protecting and conserving sites of biological significance in Knox with the purchase of two parcels of land in Upper Ferntree Gully.

The purchase of the former VicTrack land at 1155 and 1183 Burwood Highway was financed through fees paid by developers to offset the loss of native vegetation. These funds can only be used to buy land to compensate for the biodiversity impact of development activity.

Knox Mayor, Councillor Susan Laukens said the acquisition helped to retain biodiversity and protect the much-loved tree canopy, providing a beautiful gateway to the Dandenongs for generations to come.

“Our Knox community has strongly indicated that it values the green leafy nature of Knox,” she said.

“During consultation to develop a community vision for Knox, 97% of surveyed residents identified the natural environment as either ‘very important’ or ‘important’.

“Council’s purchase ensures these two parcels of land are retained for public use, and large trees and indigenous vegetation are retained and protected from removal as the result of development.

"Council successfully negotiated to buy the land at a significantly lower price than if it was sold on the open market, which reflects that it will be reserved for public use.

“Acquiring this land in an already heavily developed area ensures these parcels will not be developed, preserving native corridors between Quarry Reserve and these bushland reserves.”

There are two large canopy trees more than 80 years old on the land, which forms part of the habitat corridor. Protecting the site presents many environmental benefits such as supporting wildlife ‘stepping stones’ enabling local native animals to travel along the railway corridor.

Within Knox, there is approximately only 4% native vegetation coverage across the municipality. The retention and management of remnant native trees and vegetation is the main way to conserve natural biodiversity across the landscape.

Protecting this biologically significant land will help Council achieve its net zero 2030 target under the Knox Climate Response Plan 2021-2031.

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