The Green Wedge Under Threat – all is NOT lost!

In October 2010, the State Government funded several Victorian councils, including Wyndham, to develop and write Green Wedge Management Plans. The first initiative was to: “Implement new planning scheme provisions to secure the protection of metropolitan green wedges in the planning system.” The Council recommended the following future directions of the “Green Wedge Buffer”:

Just one year later, the Council was asked to elect wedges for “Logical Inclusion” in the urban growth boundary – i.e. to be rezoned and essentially handed over to the developers, VCAT and the Minister for Planning. Despite its historical protection, Point Cook’s Green Wedge was announced to be rezoned farming, for inevitable inclusion into the urban growth boundary in June 2012.

Residents of Point Cook have rallied at this news with varied reactions. The concerns with development of this tranquil space are multi-faceted and include:

  • The lack of recognition of environmental impact to significant fauna and flora;
  • Lack of recognition of the importance to the health and well-being of current residents who overlook and use this space as a calming haven from stresses of city commutes;
  • The broken promises for residents who purchased and invested in the Edge of the Wedge with the understanding it would remain non-residential for the next 30 years;
  • The short-sighted approach to preserving substantial green open space for the growing suburb as blocks become smaller and building to boundaries becomes the norm – the lack of suitable recreation space for residents now borders on the alarming .

While the aforementioned concerns must be explored by the Local and State Governments deciding on the future of this space – up till the present without adequate community consultation – one of the most distressing considerations comes from Council documents that suggest a number of different uses for the land.

These include:

  • At least 3,300 new residences;
  • Up to 10,000 more residents;
  • A 13% increase in traffic to the Point Cook roads network.

Even more alarming is the statement that the current roads would be able to sustain a 13% increase with some improvements.

Residents of Point Cook have been pleading with Council and the State Government through the Transport Department and representatives at VicRoads  for  such upgrades and are already aware that VicRoads does not consider the roads requiring any urgent upgrade at present. In fact, VicRoads consistently downgrades requests to upgrade major arterial roads in the Point Cook network by consulting data taken some four years ago . During this time, according to the latest Census results, the population of point cook has increased by 128% in the last five years. These numbers are already a year out of date.

Residents are well aware of the stress of gridlock, inadequate secondary school provision or planning, difficulty to access primary care facilities. More recently, residents would be acutely aware of news reports of the glut of residential properties and the implications this has on their own property values and image of the region. The very idea to desecrate this open space purely to build more houses on ever decreasing sized blocks without consultation of the very people who would be most impacted by the loss of this future viable community space is worrying at best.

However, all is not lost! Before official rezoning  of  our green wedge: “The Amendments must … be laid before Parliament for ‘ratification’ (by both houses of Parliament) before they can be formally gazetted and take effect in the relevant Growth Area Council Planning Schemes.”  Residents believe the proposed use of this space is short-sighted, highly inappropriate and not in the communities best interest.  It is clear that Council and State Government are overlooking the role the Green Wedge can play as a piece in the environmental heritage of the greater Wyndham Region. The Green Wedge sits as a strategic environmental puzzle piece among other attractions already in existence, namely the Werribee Open Range Zoo, the Werribee Mansion, Rose Garden, Werribee River, Point Cook Coastal Park, Water Treatment Plant. With clever maintenance and revegetation and big-picture thinking, the Wedge could play a significant role in attracting eco-tourism.

So, if you care about this issue: whether it be the environmental impact; the extra residents in Point Cook; adding to the existing housing glut; more cars on our gridlocked roads; more kids in our overcrowded schools… Whatever you oppose personally, it is time to start writing those letters to our Politicians and Councillors (contact details below) and make your disapproval of this rezoning before it IS too late .

It is also imperative that the local community stands united and attends the Public Meeting held by Wyndham City Council on Monday June 30th, 6:30pm at Arndell Park Community Centre, Federation Bvd, Truganina. We need large numbers of community members at this meeting to show the Baillieu Government that Point Cook needs it last remaining large open spaces, not more housing developments. See the Save Point Cook’s Green Wedge Facebook Page for more information.

The Hon Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria – ted.baillieu@parliament.vic.gov.au
Level 1, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne, VIC

The Hon Matthew Guy, Minister for Planning – matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au
Level 7, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC

The Hon Terry Mulder, Minister for Transport and Roads – terrance.mulder@parliament.vic.gov.au
Level 16, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC

The Hon Jill Hennessy, Member for Altona – jill.hennessy@parliament.vic.gov.au
PO Box 6519, Point Cook Town Centre, Point Cook 3030

Colleen Hartland MP, Western Metropolitan Region, Australian Greens Party – colleen.hartland@parliament.vic.gov.au
PO Box 318, Seddon West 3011

Comments

  1. Paul Harder says:

    Leah, you are a bloody marvel. A well written, balanced, concise, informative and very pertinent overview of the issue.