Council has received planning applications from Development Victoria, for a two stage subdivision (Application P/2021/6169) and construction of wetlands (Application P/2021/6170) at the former Department of Primary Industries site on the corner of Burwood Highway and Scoresby Road (621 Burwood Highway) in Knoxfield.
It is proposed to subdivide the site and remove vegetation to create 105 lots and a wetland with cycling and walking tracks, open space areas and a bird lookout. The proposal also includes removal of a dam, often referred to as Lake Knox, once the new wetlands have been established.
The applications are now being advertised and interested parties can inspect the documents, including plans and reports, and lodge an objection, all via Council’s website.
Back in 2018 the Minister for Planning rezoned the land and changed some of the overlays in order to facilitate development of the surplus land for residential, commercial and retail purposes.
At the time Council made a submission to the rezoning process that called for the sensitive biodiversity on this site to be retained, protected, and enhanced.
The submission highlighted the existing dam and recommended not changing the environmental significance overlay until the new wetland had been established.
Mayor Cr Susan Laukens said Council can only judge the planning permit applications according to the planning controls that now apply to that land.
“There is significant community interest in this proposed redevelopment, and a real concern for some people in the community is the presence of Blue Billed Ducks, and whether the wetland will be suitable for them, what happens to them during construction and their wellbeing once the dam is removed,” Cr Laukens said.
“We know that the community wants us to advocate for the conservation of the dam and the ducks.
“We have very strict rules that apply to how we make planning decisions. If we don’t follow those rules our decision and any opportunity we have to influence a development application can be called into question and thrown out by VCAT or the Minister.
“I’m pleased that Development Victoria has appointed an ecologist who is advising them about the ducks and the wetland.
“I really hope that our local state government representatives use their connections in the government to make sure the community is really listened to because this needs to be designed and managed very carefully,” she said.
The planning applications and supporting documents can be viewed here on Council’s website.