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Thursday, 8 May 2014

TARRAN VALLEY RAISED IN PARLIAMENT PETITION TABLED

Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards has raised concerns about the proposed Tarran Valley housing development at Maldon in Parliament this week and tabled a petition containing 426 signatures on behalf of concerned residents.

Ms Edwards raised the matter for the Minister for Planning stating that the action requested from the Minister was quite simple.

“I asked the Minister that he intervene and halt any further progress on this development until the people of Maldon have had an opportunity to be consulted and until the proposed development is measured against current legislation, guidelines and local government planning schemes”.

“I also tabled a petition on behalf of the Maldon community requesting exactly this.

The original proposal was approved by the Mount Alexander Shire Council in 2009 on the recommendation of a report entitled Mount Alexander /Planning Scheme Amendment c36 Tarran Valley Maldon- Panel Report January 2009.

This report is now five years old and was based on policies that are now out of date or no longer exist.

The panel report relied heavily on the then current Council policy Rural Living Strategy 2006 which nominated seven sites in the Shire suitable for rezoning to Rural Living Zone one of which was Tarran Valley.

However, the Mount Alexander Shire Council’s most recent policy document Rural Land Study – January 2014 prepared by the same panel members of the 2009 report, clearly recognises the significant changes in State and Local Government planning policies over the last five years and now concludes that the Tarran Valley site is no longer appropriate for rezoning to Rural Living Zone.

The panel report of 2009 is obsolete and now irrelevant and invalid.

Any development application whether new, revised or a resubmission of an earlier application must be assessed against current relevant policies.

For example, the State Government’s current document Planning Practice note 37 November 2013 Rural Residential Development was not in existence at the time of the original application but is now a key policy document in assessing rural living development applications.

Many Maldon residents have grave concerns about the nature, scale and location of this proposed development and the processes around decision making.

Council’s lodgement of the relevant planning scheme amendment in 2009 coincided with the Black Saturday bush fires.

This proposed development is situated in a very high fire risk area. Maldon is designated a high fire risk area.

It is inconceivable how, since the experience of the 2009 bushfires and the subsequent findings of the Royal Commission that any serious consideration could be given to this proposal.

The development also poses significant health and environmental risks due to its location in a water catchment area. It is located along the Sandy Creek waterway which feeds directly into the Cairn Curran Reservoir. There will be no sewerage connection to these properties. Given the issue around potable water in the Shire it is difficult to conceive how this issue can be ignored.

Maldon is Australia’s first notable town, a unique town- that relies on the tourism industry and holds in high regard its heritage and historical attributes that need protection from this type of development.

To put the scale of this development in perspective – it is comparable to the size of Maldon itself.

The last community meeting showed an overwhelming support for the continued preservation of the town’s unique historical character and its rural buffer zone, and opposition to inappropriate development”.

Ms Edwards urged the Minister to engage with the Maldon community about this development as a matter of urgency, allow the people of Maldon to have a say and halt this development.

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