by Jon Andrews
HIGHETT’S CSIRO site has not been sold, despite reports it has.
CSIRO property resources manager Ross Stevens said an assertion in The Age that the 9ha block was already being developed for apartments was wrong.
The site, bordered by Graham Rd and Middleton St, is the home of precious remnant vegetation known as the Highett Grassy Woodland.
The area is worth tens of millions of dollars to developers, who would be able to build hundreds of townhouses or flats on Bayside’s biggest block of available land.
“That is not correct; we have not sold the property,” Mr Stevens said.
“We are talking to Bayside Council and in conversations with the Government on how to proceed.
“It is a balancing act so we can get the appropriate commercial outcome for the site.
“Our intention is to protect and retain the remnant vegetation.”
A community group, Save Highett Grassy Woodland, was set up to protect about 3ha of plants which includes rare yellow box gum trees.
Co-ordinator Pauline Reynolds said almost 2000 people had signed a petition demanding the vegetation be saved.
Bayside Council is also lobbying for retaining the woodlands.
Mr Stevens hoped a final decision would be made in the next few months.
Source: Bayside Leader article