Council Releases biz park lots

Eve Lamb
Seven land lots in Castlemaine’s Wesley Hill business park estate will now be up for grabs after Mount Alexander Shire Council approved their sale at last week’s council meeting.
Lots 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14 represent “the last remaining blocks in the business park” Cr Bill Maltby said, moving the motion in favour of releasing the seven lots for public sale, and authorising the acceptance of an offer where it’s equal to or above the independent land valuation.
“The reality is there’s very little land available for business park activities,” Cr Maltby told Tuesday night’s July council meeting which was conducted on line via Zoom due to uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions.
However, the decision to release the land for sale is likely to concern multiple local residents who had previously voiced objections to lots 5, 6 and 7 being allowed to go to industrial development, citing their importance as a natural environment buffer.
During the May council meeting neighbouring residents said lots 5, 6 and 7 were uniquely important for providing natural remnant habitat for wildlife, forming part of a nature corridor and providing a valuable green buffer between the industrial and residential areas.
Wesley Hill resident Jane Forest had told the May council meeting that lots 5-7 represented an ideal opportunity to develop as a green belt and wildlife corridor, complementing work proposed by an existing local landcare group to revegetate along Forest Creek.
“If there ever was a piece of land begging not to be developed this is it,” Ms Forest said during public question time at the May meeting.
Speaking at last week’s meeting, Cr Stephen Gardner alluded to the potential for anyone with specific proposals or concerns to take the future into their own hands, stating “it’s still open for anyone to come forward with plans and proposals.”
The resolution to release the seven lots for sale passed unopposed with Cr Matthew Driscoll declaring a conflict and absenting himself while the matter was considered.
Wesley Hill resident Fay White was among those who had earlier raised concerns about preserving lots 5-7 as a green buffer.
Outside the council meeting she told the Mail that exploring community interest in a possible response aimed at preserving the lots as a green buffer was an option.
“And we may also look at forming a landcare group for the south side of Wesley Hill and the easements around the industrial estate,” Ms White said.

Eve Lamb
Journalist and photographer Eve Lamb has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree from Deakin University and a Master of Arts (Professional Writing) from Deakin University. She has worked for many regional newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator and the Warrnambool Standard, and has also worked for metro daily, The Hobart Mercury, and The Sunday Tasmanian. Eve has also contributed to various magazines including Australian Cyclist.