A Short History: 2001 – Now
In 2001 the Mayor of Bayside, Craig Tucker, heard about the sale of the CSIRO site and warned Michael Norris. As a result, one of the few naturalists who knew anything about the site, Jason Stewart, alerted him to the plants, as well as the magnificent trees. The Highett Grassy Woodland community campaign began.
In 2003 the Friends of the Highett Grassy Woodland was formed to lobby for the protection of this unique vegetation.
We, with the backing of about 100 individuals and several groups, succeeded in getting:
- Experts to say how important the Grassy Woodland is
- Recognition of the vegetation as a State Government Biosite
- An official assessment by Biosis
- Support by the Federal Environment Minister (and local member) David Kemp
- Commitment by the Federal Government to do some restoration and protect some of the woodland “in the longer term”
- Rejection of a ‘concept’ of the site covered with housing
- Changes to Highett Structure Plan and the Bayside Planning Scheme to recognise the value of the Highett Grassy Woodland
- Rejection of straightening Graham Road to go through the woodland area
- Better set-backs from any development on what is NOW the VicUrban site to the south
Note: There are no planning controls on the CSIRO site because it is Commonwealth land.
The State Government is negotiating planning controls with CSIRO with the public having NO SAY, except through Bayside Council and YOUR efforts to pressure politicians.
The struggle is not just about conserving natural heritage – it’s about livable conditions for the people and families in the tidal wave of new dwellings the State government wants in Bayside.
It is in an area that is SHORT OF OPEN SPACE
It’s great that Bayside Council has a clear united position to advocate for “in the order of 3 or 4 hectares” for the woodland to survive “as naturally as possible” and provide an open space buffer for passive recreation. LET’S BACK THEIR CAMPAIGN!
Pressures for High-Density Development on the CSIRO land are growing.
In March 2011, VicUrban (…an ‘arm’ of the State Government) purchased a site immediately to the South of the Highett Grassy Woodland for a speculated $7 million, and is speculated to be the interested buyer of the CSIRO site (including the Highett Grassy Woodland) as well!
Tell politicians the Highett Grassy Woodland is a much needed place for peaceful, family recreation.
Tell your representatives they can combine community benefits and conservation at Highett.
With the pressure for development, many previous gains (2004) could be lost!