The Whitehorse City Council, made no recommendation for housing on the Healesville Freeway Reserve (HFR) land in their proposed planning scheme document. On the 6th Oct Planning Minister Matthew Guy overruled that and on the 14th Oct’14 the corridor was gazetted as GRZ5. (General residential zone 5)
Just a few days later, on the night of 25– 26 Oct’14 a heritage listed uninhabited house on Boronia Rd, Vermont was burnt to the ground under suspicious circumstances according to the MFB.
The house that was burnt was called Greenways on Nethercote farm and was one of two houses on the property at 142 Boronia rd, it is a Local heritage listed property, being the oldest house in Vermont and is in the section of the HFR that the Coalition Government has identified for possible sale to developers for housing. It had no power or gas connection. It was not derelict or being used by squatters.
The site was occupied and frequently visited by people, several horses are agisted there and Box Hill TAFE equestrian studies were conducted at the site as well, more over the other house on the property, which was also uninhabited but not heritage listed was unaffected. The case is being investigated by the Whitehorse Crime Squad and we hope they are able to identify the perpetrator/s.
In a separate incident on the same night, a large banner put up on council land with council permission by the Friends of the HFR, advertising a Community Forum on the 26th Oct, was cut down and stolen despite being at that location for almost two months without incident.
The two events on the night of the 25th Oct'14 are either connected or have occurred with remarkable coincidence, given they both involve different aspects of the same corridor of land.
Lastly, in late December’13 a very large indigenous tree on VicRoads land was found to have been cut down. VicRoads was approached for information and they denied all knowledge of it.
However with community assistance we were able to establish that it had been cut on the 7th Dec ’13, it was done by a professional crew with large trucks and heavy machinery. The process took 6 hours, the fence across the area, which had signs- ‘VicRoads land – trespassers will be prosecuted’ was taken down, the tree cut, the timber and canopy mulched, the area tidied and fence reinstalled. We have photographs of this.
Despite that VicRoads continued to deny any knowledge of it, which implies the implausible scenario that an unknown tree removal company would incur a cost of several thousand dollars, trespass to do a job on a weekend,with a full crew for 6 hours for no reason and with no authorization. The community is expected to accept that explanation as reasonable and believable!!!
The location of the tree was significant; it was on what was a proposed access road to a pocket of housing on the three VicRoads concept plans for the corridor. There are several other trees in that area but no other tree was cut.
In all three incidents, the perpetrator is not known but one does not need to be a genius to figure who the beneficiaries of these acts of wanton damage and destruction will be!