Without any prior discussion with our community, Nillumbik Council announced by classified advertisement (inside the back of) in the Diamond Valley Leader in late January its intention to sell to housing developers several scattered hectares of our public open space. The Diamond Valley Leader containing this advertisement was delivered to residents BEFORE the matter was voted on at Council meeting.
In Eltham, Diamond Creek, Woodridge, Greensborough and Research, and described by some Councillors as ‘under-utilised’ and ‘vacant’, these reserves have long been used – as linked walking tracks, passive open space, habitat for native birds and plants, play areas, or just breathing space in our expanding suburbia.
The ensuing community outrage led to a gruelling process where residents of Nillumbik objected most strongly to the sale of public open space.
What eventually happened?
Under immense pressure from the community, including a march through Eltham by several thousand protesters, well over two and a half thousand written objections along with hundreds of spoken submissions at Special Future Nillumbik Committee meetings over a series of five nights, Councillors ultimately resolved not to sell fourteen of the seventeen reserves. Two of the reserves were already designated Public Park and Recreation Zone (PPRZ) prior to the proposed sale but the Council has committed to rezone the other twelve as PPRZ, offering them more protection against future proposed sell offs.
Save Community Reserves, in conjunction with ECAG, is now putting in an application to the Victorian Government’s ‘Pick My Project’ scheme to secure funding for benches, signs and vegetation for some of the reserves saved.