by Jon Andrews
ENVIRONMENTALISTS have attacked the CSIRO for what they believe is secretive behaviour over the sale of its Highett site.
Friends of the Highett Grassy Woodlands say the impending sell-off of the massive block, bordered by Graham Rd and Middleton St, is being done behind closed doors.
But CSIRO property resources manager Ross Stevens denied the science organisation had been secretive, saying talks were continuing.
The 9ha area — Bayside’s largest single development site — has space for more than 200 houses, apartments and units.
The Friends want at least 3ha of native vegetation, known as the Highett grassy woodlands, saved. Group co-ordinator Pauline Reynolds said the promise of community consultation had not happened and the CSIRO had chosen a more favourable urban report on which to base its view.
“(We are) demanding that 3ha of the site be kept to protect the rare vegetation and trees for conservation and public enjoyment,” Ms Reynolds said.
“We have been promised consultation, and consultation is what the community should have.”
Mr Stevens said discussion with Bayside Council was continuing and neither report was being favoured.
“In respect to the remnant woodlands, the two ecological reports commissioned by the CSIRO have been provided to Bayside Council,” he said. “The CSIRO is awaiting the council ecologist’s report which will enable further discussion and hopefully a common position on the remnant woodland areas.”