Forgotten land to enhance Scenic Reserve
Bass Coast Shire Council will advertise to acquire the remaining privately owned allotments within the Scenic Estate subdivision at Surf Parade on Phillip Island.
Council is now acquiring the allotments so they too can be incorporated as part of the Scenic Estate Conservation Reserve.
In 2013, Council set the land aside for environmental conservation, and the Reserve was officially opened to the public in March, 2015.
In the following August, Council began the process to compulsory acquire the remaining privately owned allotments and in July 2016, the Governor in Council for Bass Coast Shire Council granted approval, with offers being made to land owners at valuation.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said Council was undertaking a compulsory acquisition process as it was unable to contact the owners of the remaining blocks, many of whom live overseas.
“When land was subdivided and sold in 1960, it was heavily marketed to Asia, therefore many of the allotments are today owned by Chinese residents,” Cr Rothfield said.
“In the late 1970s, the land was identified as an inappropriate subdivision and in 1983, the Minister for Planning made it clear that no building would ever be allowed in the Estate, and the land sat somewhat forgotten until only a few years ago.”
The Mayor said since Council made the decision to turn the failed estate into a conservation reserve, the area has undergone an incredible transformation.
“As the estate sat abandoned, it became a popular place for rubbish dumping, and was used illegally by 4WDs and motorbikes,” Cr Rothfield said.
“Along with Phillip Island Nature Parks, Parks Victoria and the State Government, we have turned the site into an area for the preservation of wildlife and the protection and improvement of a habitat for fauna.
The Reserve now includes 1.5km of walking tracks, boardwalks through native grasslands and wetlands, and a viewing platform overlooking the RAMSAR wetland and Churchill Island Marine National Park.
“We must also thank the dedicated group of volunteers who make up the Friends of Scenic Estate Group for all their hard work looking after the Reserve, undertaking weed management, seed collection, rubbish collection and revegetation works.”