Welcome to the Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve
The Healesville Freeway reserve between Springvale & Boronia Road is currently in a planning process for alternative use as the road will not proceed. The Community uses sections of this reserve as open space for Active and Passive Recreation. There are also several sections of endangered remnant bushland along the reserve that provide habitat for native animals.
This site aims to keep the community up to date with information regarding the consultation process and help to retain community access to the reserve following the conclusion of the consultation process. To date we have collected almost 5000 signatures (4981 if you think we should be exact) for the petition.
How can you help?
Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to the news letter to keep up to date with information.
Whitehorse Council has put out a draft concept plan for the Davey Lane Reserve that is currently open for community feedback.
Their engagement closes on Friday 24th June 2022, so if you wish to have a say make sure you do it before then. Davy Lane | Your Say Whitehorse
What is proposed is to build two footy fields with flood lighting, a pavilion and a synthetic multiuse enclosure on it, no information has been provided on
- the impact on native vegetation and mature trees
- the estimated cost of this major project
- The location and alignment of the shared use path and biolink
The community advocated to save the corridor as public open space for passive recreation and to improve the biodiversity of the area, it was never meant to have huge built up infrastructure put on it.
Please make up your own mind and clearly state what you want as an outcome, from our perspective the best outcome for the corridor is to keep any change at Davy Lane low impact.
Which is to either maintain the areas as it is or install a single cricket/footy field, with no lighting or pavilion on Davy Lane Reserve and no synthetic multiuse enclosure on the adjoining parcel.
There should not be any damage to the existing offset vegetation or mature trees in the creation of this sport infrastructure.
Details of the issues of concern are -
- The land was saved for open space and passive recreation, not more active sport infrastructure. Something we have already seen a lot of in recent years. If there is a need for sporting fields Council should look at working with schools in the area, there are many under-utilised footy fields, that Council could upgrade so it is beneficial for both parties, that would also have the benefit of saving rate payer funds.
- There are plans for flood lighting the sport fields, the impact of which needs to be considered in the context of the existing problem of light pollution and the negative impact on nocturnal animals and insects. In addition there are already multiple flood lit footy fields nearby at Terrara Park and Vermont Reserve. Plus more a little further at Heatherdale Reserve.
- The concept plan uses an old photo that does not show the additional offset planting that was done around the perimeter of the reserve in 2018/19. That vegetation is quite advanced now and from the draft concept plan it is clear there will be severe impact on that vegetation.
- The master plan for the whole corridor has not yet been developed and to progress a concept plan for a single parcel along the corridor is piece meal. It may not have appropriate connectivity with the ultimate design and use of the whole corridor. That does not bode well for good long term outcomes.
- The impact of the proposed pavilion on the trees along Stanley reserve is concerning, according to the concept plan several old established trees at the northern end will be affected.
- The shared use path and biolink is not shown on the plans, that was promised for the east west connectivity of the corridor. While the alignment has not yet been finalised, it is most likely a northerly one as that is the most feasible, given the topography of the corridor and the location of valuable vegetation. While it does not show on the concept plan a southerly alignment is being allowed for by Council. If it does go ahead, this is another example of the problems with a piecemeal approach. Going east a southerly alignment will intersect with the plantings in the paddock nearby and cause damage to good wildflower sections in the remnant area behind the Council nursery, the topography further is very steeply undulating and therefore unsuitable for a shared use path.
- Council when approached to manage the HFR corridor refused on the grounds that it did not own the land, yet now seems to be willing to pay for costly infrastructure to be put onto land it does not own. That is inconsistent and seems disingenuous, how does the community take Council at its word if it says one thing and does another?
Unfortunately exactly the outcome that was of most concern has occurred!
Parks Vic has been named manager of the HFR corridor.
It was the problematic and rather short sighted Council resolution that is the reason this has come to pass.
This was a wonderful opportunity that the Whitehorse communities’ advocacy made possible and now we have been let down by the recent Council resolution on the HFR.
It is surprising that Council staff and Councillors were not aware that the approach taken in the resolution passed on the 28th June was never going to be possible and thanks to it Parks Victoria, was almost certainly going to be named Committee of Management for the HFR corridor.
It is so disappointing that 11years of hard work by the community has been undermined due to poor decision making by our local government decision makers.
As a result of which, we the community will be left with a weedy, poorly managed and maintained park for generations.
Koomba park, Shepherd’s Bush, Norton’s park are all nearby parks managed by Parks Vic, they are very weedy as Parks Vic do not have the manpower or resources to manage urban parks.
This was the reason we wanted Council to take on the management of the park, so the park could be appropriately cared for to community expectations and its biodiversity enhanced.
There may be an opportunity in the future for Council to take on the maintenence of the corridor, once Parks Victoria have rolled out the park, please ask Councillors to step up and do the right thing for the maintenance and best long term outcome for the community.
It has been a long time since there has been an update, that is because for the last few years there has been nothing to report on the Healesville Freeway Reserve (HFR).
Now there is good and bad news, so I will start with the not so good stuff to get that over with.
- In September 2020, DELWP approached Council seeking interest in Council becoming the Committee of Management (COM) for the HFR corridor.
- On 28th June’21 Whitehorse Council passed a resolution - Moved by Cr Lane, Seconded by Cr Carr.
- Considers the Department Environment Land Water Planning (DELWP) proposal (dated 21 September 2020) to become Committee of Management of the Crown Land formerly known as the Healesville Freeway Reserve and determines not to accept the Department Environment Land Water Planning (DELWP) offer.
- Authorises the Chief Executive Officer to write to the Deputy Secretary Corporate Services at Department Environment Land Water Planning (DELWP) advising of Council’s decision not to accept the Department Environment Land Water Planning (DELWP) Committee of Management offer.
- When writing to the Deputy Secretary of the Department Environment Land Water Planning (DELWP) present Council’s counter offer which includes the following key points:
- That the Crown Land be converted to freehold land and transferred to Council for a nominal consideration.
- That the total funds currently held in trust by the Department of Transport be transferred to Council at the time the freehold title/s are transferred to Council.
- That Council is committed to establishing and maintaining the former Healesville Freeway Reserve, once the freehold land is transferred to Council, in accordance with the principles established by the current Crown Land Reservation; these being, “Conservation, Recreation and Leisure” purposes.
This is bad news because –
- The matter was sent for Council response in September 2020 but was discussed at Council only in late June 2021 – a 9 month delay. A month later it was not known if this resolution had been communicated to DELWP, 10 months of time lost!
- The council officer report used as information mentions a bridge over Bellbird Dell, something that has never been put to community consultation. It’s construction will have a devastating impact on the most sensitive and biodiverse section of the Bellbird Dell and the cost will swallow up a huge amount of the limited funds available for the creation of the park, to the detriment of other more widely used public facilities in the park. It is unacceptable from both an environmental and maximum community benefit perspective, instead as early as 2015 Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (FoHFR) worked with the cyclist lobby group and agreed on an alignment that was acceptable to all, it followed existing paths through the Dell.
- Transferring the land to the Crown was a measure to address one of the key concerns of the community - for long term protection of the land. It was the community that wanted the land to be protected by that mechanism, the council motion above (in bold) is contrary to that community expectation.
- The FoHFR have long believed that the best outcome for the park and the residents of Whitehorse is for council to take over as Committee of Management (COM), according to the resolution above council is willing to do that if the land is gifted to council, something that has no chance of happening. While the land has not been gifted, it has been made available at no cost to council and the Whitehorse rate payers, besides council is already the COM for three parcels on this corridor and has been for decades.
- If there is a bona fide intention on the part of council to negotiate the COM matter, then asking for the crown status to be reversed (something that is not easy to do and has to be passed as an act of Parliament, which was why it was considered the most safe option), the land converted to free hold ownership and transferred to council at nominal cost, does not seem a genuine way of going about it, besides it is just kicking the can down the road leading to further delays, when the community has been crying out for the park roll out to be implemented for years.
- The grave concern is that Parks Vic will be named COM and then it will be too late. The Whitehorse Community will be the losers long into the future and this resolution will be the reason why.
Now for the good news –
- Planning Amendments – even though the whole corridor has transferred to Crown, several parcels of land within the HFR corridor still carry Residential zoning (GRZ5 zoning), being a legacy from their previous ownership by the Roads Corporation. DELWP is currently finalising a planning amendment to rezone those parcel to Parks and Passive Recreation (PPRZ). While this was not a concern as the land was safe as Crown land, it is good that the zoning will now also reflect that.
- Naming of HFR – The naming of the park has been held up for some years as there was a dispute between the Wurundjeri and the Bunurong land Councils over land boundaries. We are happy to report that the matter has been resolved.
On 1 July 2021, the Victoria Aboriginal Heritage Council formally announced new agreed Traditional Owner boundaries for the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (WWWCHAC) and the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC). The agreed boundaries confirm the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung as the recognised Traditional Owners of the land on which the HFR is situated.
Accordingly in July 2021, DELWP formally engaged the WWWCHAC to determine an Aboriginal name for HFR in line with the resounding community response to the 2018 Have Your Say. Aunty Doreen of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung is a language expert and is managing this name project for the WWWCHAC.
That is all for now, hope to have some better news on the land manager issue, it is up to the community to make your voice heard and express your view.
Here is an update on the park starting to take shape.
Department of Environment (DELWP) and Level Crossing Removal Authority (XLRA) are collaborating to begin the planting of the Healesville Freeway Reserve corridor, with the first plantings taking place at the Davy Lane Reserve and the adjacent paddock.
This work has commenced with planting by the XLRA contractor.
To include the community in this event a Community planting day is being held.
When - Saturday 15th Dec.
Time – 9 am to 12 noon followed by a BBQ lunch
Where – Davy Lane Reserve (Access from Davy lane, off Jolimont road, Forest Hill)
Bring – Garden gloves, tools will be provided
The HFR corridor has been saved, the first tranche of 20 parcels was transferred to Crown last year and the second tranche of 9 parcels totaling 13.277 hectares has now transferred to Crown.
This brings the total land saved as open space for the community by transfer to crown to 34.9777 hectares
This occurred in late October but I have only found out about this now due to an oversight, better late than not.
Here is a link to the media release from Shaun Leane MP. Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region
You can get more information on the following DELWP page dedicated to the management of the reserve and community involvement in planning of the establishment of the park. This website also includes up to date maps of the land involved for the reserve.
For those interested in a more detailed map, here is a link to LASSI, zoom into the area , parcels that are crown land are denoted with a C.
It has been a long and at times hard fought campaign and I am so glad we got there in the end.
There are so many to acknowledge and thank –
- Shaun Leane, without his support, advocacy and tireless efforts to get the commitment from Government and then follow through on it, this would not have happened.
- The Friends of the HFR, though we are a small group of people, every one worked hard, with passion, dedication and perseverance.
- The Community, who clearly and unequivocally gave us direction by voting so overwhelmingly to keep the corridor as open space. Whenever we had public events the community supported us by coming out in large numbers.
- Schools, community groups all supported us generously.
This has truly been a community campaign and will be for the benefit of the community long into the future.
Thank you to all who have played a part to make this happen.
The design and roll out of the park is the next step and we hope to see the same enthusiastic attendance at working bees and planting days to make our dream a reality.
Friends of the Healesville Freeway
We are very sorry to inform you of the passing of Lindsay Cowling on 8th June 2017, when he lost his battle with cancer. Lindsay was a core member of the Friends of the HFR and his passion, dedication and commitment will be sorely missed.
We wish his family our sincere condolence. Lindsay’s contribution towards the formation of a park for the community will be his lasting legacy.
News on the HFR corridor
The following is an extract from communication from Shaun Leane MP,
Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region
Parliamentary Secretary to the Special Minister of State
Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure
‘The property known as Mirrabooka (34-40 Moore Rd, Vermont) has been sold. It was sold by public expressions of interest for a sum of $3.380M.
So far 20 of the 35 titles have been surrendered by VicRoads to the Crown which represents about half the land in the Reserve. A conservative valuation of this land, should it have been sold as was planned under the previous Liberal Government, is $26M. A map of the transferred parcels is attached.
VicRoads have advised that there has also been demolition of buildings and dilapidated rides etc at the former Wobbies World site.
We have also been advised that there have been discussions directly with NADRASCA regarding the continuity of tenancy at the Farm.
Some of the other activities which are progressing towards the desired final outcomes are:
- Demolition of structures on the HFR including buildings and fences
- Removal of the existing public acquisition overlay across the remaining affected properties
- Active leases are remaining and will continue to be managed
- Preparations are underway to proceed with the listing of the other residential properties identified for sale, with the proceeds to be allocated to fund the improvement of the reserve’
We are seeking clarification on the number of titles that have transferred to crown as we were earlier informed that 21 titles had been transferred.We are also questioning the sale of additional properties as the sake of Mirrabooka was to cover the cost of infrastructure for the park.
As soon as we get information on these matters we will let you know.
- March 2017 Update
- September 2016 Update
- May 2016 Update
- OCTOBER UPDATE
- Deakin Community Awards 2015
- SAVED AT LAST !!!
- November update
- Arson attack on Heritage property on Boronia rd
- COMMUNITY FORUM
- Government announcement
- August Update
- Community Action Day Report
- Community Action Day Result
- COMMUNITY ACTION DAY
- ALP Promise
- ALP announcement and Community Action day
- Whitehorse City Council's Vision for the HFR
- January 2014 update - Alternative Community Concepts
- VicRoads refuses to extend public consultation
- Response to Concepts and workshops
- 3 Options and issues with process and content
- Workshop Option Assessment card
- HAVE YOUR SAY BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!!
- Upcoming Dates: Minister's visit Nov 6th, Ward meeting Nov 19th
- November Update - 3 Option Consultation dates
- August Update - Senator Wong's visit
- What next
- Healesville Freeway Community Open Day - 26th May 2013
- HFR Open Day Acknowledgements
- May Update
- April Update
- March Update 2013
- Thankyou to our supporters
- Petition delivered for tabling in Parliament
- Community Consultation Dates
- Healesville Freeway Reservation Renewal Project
- Presentation Summaries