After an extensive program of community consultation the Nillumbik Council has produced a draft replacement green wedge management plan (GWMP) for the Shire. Serious reservations have been expressed about this document, notably that

  • it doesn’t actually reflect the community’s views;
  • much of it is non-specific and not actionable;
  • it contains proposals which betray our ‘Green Wedge Shire’.

“The Shire of Nillumbik was formed in 1994 with the conservation of the green wedge as its strategic focus. The Nillumbik Green Wedge is distinguished from others by the quality of its environment and natural bushland. Above all it is the environmental qualities – the topography, the dense bushland and isolated spaces, the rivers and streams – and the diverse  townships that create a sense of place and continue to draw people to settle in Nillumbik.”
 
(Page 6, Current GWMP, planned to run till 2025)

The draft plan appears to reject this strategic focus, creating a new one in which conservation takes a back seat to  a ‘diverse community, living in the landscape to enhance the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the Shire’.

Whereas the current plan contains specific actions in support of conservation, this draft plan threatens to increase population density in our green wedge, water down the zoning and in other ways reduce environmental protection.

This could be seen as surprising, given that the draft’s preparation follows an extensive program of community consultation which emphatically endorsed conservation as the key principle. It is as though the consultation program was conducted to justify this ‘living in the landscape’ idea, on the basis that no-one likes regulations, and when the program failed to do this it was ignored. In other words, the consultation program appears not to have been conducted in good faith.

But this consultation process is not yet complete: the draft is open for comment until Sunday, 11th August. If you live in Nillumbik you must have your say.

A convenient way to have your say is by using the website loveyourgreenwedge.com. This site simplifies the emailing of a brief comment to Council, but more importantly, it provides guidance in responding on the Council’s feedback form. The Council’s form enables you to rate your approval of a range of statements, but also to make comments. The comments are important, and the loveyourgreenwedge folk have created useful information as a guide.

Otherwise, the draft GWMP is is here, and you can go directly to the Council’s Feedback – Draft Green Wedge Management Plan.