Protect the Kingston green wedge and popular dog park from proposed train storage facility

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Please sign the state parliament e-petition if possible to make a direct impact: https://parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/304

This land has been marked for open space by Parks Victoria for many years. Residents were sent plans from the City of Kingston as recently as a couple of months ago for the sporting grounds facility. The residents in this area have chosen to live here due to the promised green wedge. This announcement has completely blindsided nearby residents and the privately-owned dog park which is hugely popular and has 600+ members.
The impacts on the residents in surrounding streets will be significant and detrimental to quality of life. It would also take away what they have created at the Doggy play park in a safe place for reactive or anxious dogs to run safely and owners are worry-free, as well as the significant community it has created. There are other suitable land pockets nearby still on the alignment of the suburban train loop that do not have residents adjoining them that must be considered for such a significant project. Not just the most convenient option for the state government so that the project can be rushed through as quickly as possible.

 

The industrial area in Clayton south around Osborne Avenue would potentially be one such suitable pocket of land. It would still be close to this end of the train line and also on the current proposed alignment. It would most likely require acquiring some industrial businesses but it is better than this since the land isn't a priority in the green wedge plans.

 

 

It's important that this is the best long-term decision and not just a good convenient short-term solution for them. It may mean it costs more or takes more time but that's what should happen to satisfy everyone affected. It needs to be a compromise. This current pocket completely disregards the long-planned green wedge plans and does not take that into account one bit. There is clearly no compromise given there. This is one of the most important if not the most important pockets in the Kingston green wedge. It's also become clear in recent years that the state government do not prioritise the Kingston green wedge despite their apparent commitments to it: https://www.danandrews.com.au/policies/creating-the-sandbelt-parklands-for-local-families

Both with the recent overturning of the council's decision in extended the lease for the Alex Fraser concrete crusher business: https://www.insidewaste.com.au/index.php/2020/12/08/council-pushes-back-against-decision-to-extend-concrete-crusher-facility/

Which was meant to be turned into parkland and also their failure to this point to acquire the Henry St site further to the north. It was sold by a Chinese investment company, Transpacific industries in 2017 to a company which just happened to be founded 3 years ago for just $1. It's probable that the Henry St developments company which purchased it is itself a foreign company linked in some way to Transpacific industries. There are rumours that they want to transform it into a private golf course which would lock the majority of the general public out. See the article here:

A 72ha slab of land, bought for almost $6 million 11 years ago, has just been sold for one dollar.

Two months ago Leader reported the sale of the former landfill in Heatherton could crush Kingston Council’s 30-year-old “chain of parks” dream.

Now we can reveal it changed hands for just $1, infuriating local environmentalists who say Parks Victoria missed a chance to grab a bargain and save the land for public open space.

Transpacific Industries, which owned the site, told Leader the Henry St land was at “the end of its life” and they got rid of it to avoid a costly clean-up.

A spokeswoman said Henry Street Developments made an offer to buy the land, and complete the remediation work.

She only said of the purchase price: “$1 reflects the future rehabilitation costs.”

Henry Street Developments did not respond to the Leader’s requests for comment, but it is understood the private company was formed in late 2017.

There is speculation the company wants to develop a private golf course on the Henry St land.

 

Part of the old landfill site that sold for a song. Picture: Valeriu Campan

When rumours of a sale first circulated, Kingston Council urged the State Government to save the land for a plan to turn 366ha from Heatherton to Clayton South into a series of linked parks.

Kingston chief executive John Nevins said for more than 30 years councils, State Governments and the community had supported the ambitious idea.

Mr Nevins said mayor Steve Staikos wrote to Minister Lily D’Ambrosio in June calling on the Government to acquire the land for public open space, “as it is a key part of the Chain of Parks vision”.

No response was received.

Defenders of the South East Green Wedge secretary Barry Ross said Parks Victoria would now have to “negotiate with the developer company and probably pay substantially more”.

The State Government did not respond to Leader’s questions but in a letter to Mr Ross the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning said it, Parks Victoria and Kingston Council were working to “discuss and progress the Sandbelt Parklands”.

So the time to take a stand and force the state government to honour their commitments for the Kingston green wedge is now.

At the very least the community should know what other spots were considered for the train stabling. What are the pros and cons of each location and why this very site was picked from the list? If the government is not prepared to give this and be completely transparent about the decision-making process it indicates there is potentially something to hide.

 

This was what it was meant to be and councilors had been using it as a selling point in their election campaigns as recently as the last 2 months: https://www.kingston.vic.gov.au/Community/Advocacy-Projects/Open-Advocacy/Delta-site-sportsfields?fbclid=IwAR0gQBjsRxcJDSN1ggg1MwuwIOxd6EudH1oJp6dFwoaAwFYEvlM54VusACk