Council opens door for rezoning

By Ewen McRae

Melton council has decided that a parcel of land in Melton South is no longer required for its original purpose, opening up the possibility of development.

The land, at 3-13 McDonald Street, has been a point of contention between nearby residents and the council since a proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services to use one-third of the space for emergency care accommodation was received earlier this year.

More than 200 residents signed a petition stating that the land was still required for recreational use, however councillors decided that was not the case.

At last week’s council meeting, Cr Ken Hardy made a passionate plea for the council to listen to the public on the issue.

“Residents in the immediate vicinity of the park have publicly stated that they are against any rezoning of the park,” Cr Hardy said.

“Playing in a local park is crucial for the healthy development of children, it creates emotional stability and improved mental health, and it also creates opportunities for parents to bond with their children.

“Melton South is under great threat from high density development, so with that we need more parks, not less.”

While Cr Hardy’s remarks drew applause from the gallery, later claims from Cr Michelle Mendes that the land is not regularly used were met with laughter.

Cr Steve Abboushi said with an increased need for community housing in the region, council would be ignoring its responsibilities if it did not vote in favour of the motion.

“How on earth can we say no to community care accommodation?” he said.

“We cannot as responsible councillors say no to this.”

The vote opens up the possibility of the land being rezoned, the next step in any potential development.