Merri Trail land for sale

Jan 06 2015

The Education Department intends to sell the former Lakeside Secondary College site in Reservoir, which includes the Merri Trail.

The Department has requested that the site, which runs between Radford Road Reservoir and Merri Creek, be rezoned to Industrial, after which the site will be sold. However, several hectares of the site lie outside the school fence on a bend of the Creek and have been planted and managed for about 30 years by Darebin Council, as part of the Merri Creek open space corridor. The Merri Trail runs across the frontage, and there are nationally-listed endangered plants (Dianella amoena) on a rocky outcrop. Much of this area is flood-prone.

The Education Department has offered to sell the frontage to Darebin Council, but the Council does not want to pay the price being asked.

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council in their 2011 Metropolitan Melbourne Investigation recommended that surplus public land be assessed, and retained as public land if it has public land values including open space, ecological connectivity and a water frontage. The Lakeside frontage has multiple public land values, and clearly should be retained in public ownership as open space. FoMC considers that the frontage area should be transferred free-of-charge to Council.

In 2010 the community was able to prevent public land being sold privately when 10.7 hectares of VicRoads land along Edgars Creek was gifted as public open space to be managed by Moreland City Council. Now we need to do it again or risk losing part of the Merri Creek public open space, including the Merri Trail.