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Council acts to undertake environmental assessment of Newborough land

Latrobe City Council has placed the proposed sale of a tract of land adjoining Ollerton Avenue in Moe on hold

By Latrobe City Council - 17th September 2001 - Back to News

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Latrobe City Council has placed the proposed sale of a tract of land adjoining Ollerton Avenue in Moe on hold, while it assesses the environmental significance of the land.

Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Brendan Jenkins, said that Councilís environment officer, Kevin Roberts, had identified the land as possibly being of significant environmental value, and as a consequence, Council would now be undertaking a comprehensive study of the vegetation before making a decision on the future of the land.

"The land adjoining Ollerton Avenue has been earmarked for housing development for a number of years, and while part of it is owned by the State Governmentís housing authority, part is also owned by Council. Much of the surrounding bushland has been cleared in the past for urban development, and the potential environmental significance may not have been understood," Cr Jenkins explained.

"Recent investigations by our own officers and environmental groups have questioned previous advice, and we have been made aware that the land may harbour some very rare South Gippsland Plains Grassy Woodland, which is of national significance and protected by Federal law," Cr Jenkins said.

Moe Councillor, Tony Zimora, said that if the biggest trees were as old as some suggest, the grassy woodland was likely to be a survivor from before Moe was established, and a significant part of its natural heritage. "This could be one of the most important pieces of native vegetation in Latrobe City, in which case it is remarkable that it has survived in an urban area," Cr Zimora said.

"Council has decided that the land needs proper investigation to determine if the vegetation is the type it is suggested it might be, and to determine its age; and we will engage expert consultants who can do this," Cr Zimora said.

"If the land is to be conserved, there are obviously questions raised about its future protection and management, such as steps needed to control fire and other safety risks. It would also involve controlling unacceptable uses while allowing appropriate community access to enjoy this unique feature.

"The Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists recently undertook a survey of the bushland which included almost eighty species of native plants including a diversity of native orchids. They have suggested that they undertake a further survey in November at a time when many species flower, and identification can accurately be made. Council has encouraged them to undertake this work and has invited them to provide further background information for Councilís consideration," Cr Zimora added.

"In the meantime, Council will put on hold any proposed sale of this land pending its environmental evaluation, and keep the State Government housing authority advised of our movements. Should the resolve of Council then be that the land is to be preserved, then we will seek community input into planning for the landís future management," Cr Zimora concluded.


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