Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve


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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.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

pdfCommunity Forum report

We had a very successful Community Forum on 26th Oct’14.

Several displays were put up, two were of other road reserves – Merri creek, Fawkner and Wurundjeri walk, Blackburn. They were saved as Open Space in the 70’s and 80’s, with photos of what they looked like then and the wonderful Community and Environmental asset they have become now.

We also had displays on the policies of all the major political parties –


Coalition – 15.4 ha (43%) to be preserved as Open space, with the balance 57% to be sold possibly for housing.


Labor – 100% of the reserve to be retained as Open Space


Greens - 100% of the reserve to be retained as Open Space


It is now up to YOU the voters to decide what you want for this corridor of land. If you want it retained as Open space, choose the party of your choice that supports that position.


If you want 57% of the land to possibly end up as housing then vote for the party with that policy.

It is now in your hands!


The guest speakers were –

  • Shaun Leane – Labor member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Legislative Council
  • Neil Angus – Liberal State member for Forest Hill
  • Samantha Dunn – Greens candidate for the Legislative Council
  • Pauline Richards – Labor candidate for Forest Hill
  • Councillors Raylene Carr & Bill Bennett – Morack ward, Whitehorse City council

Our sincere thanks go the Vermont and South Vermont Lions, who looked after the BBQ and made sure everyone was fed.

We need to thank and acknowledge the assistance and support of so many – NADRASCA, Docking Real Estate, Greenlink & Bungalook nursery, The Tree Society, The Environment Protection fund, Whitehorse Urban Harvest, The City of Whitehorse, Bellbird Dell Advisory committee, Friends of the Dell and so many others.


Most of all, thanks to our volunteers at the Friends of the HFR, who have worked so hard, with so much passion, diligence and enthusiasm.


Lastly and most importantly this campaign could not have lasted for so long without our community’s vision for the future and unstinting support to achieve it.

Thank you to the people of Forest Hill!


For a full report on the Forum click on the attachment above.

Here is a link to a video report by Unipollwatch –

On Facebook :

On the web:

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!


The Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (Whitehorse) invite you to attend


A Community Forum at Bellbird Dell, Vermont South (Melway 62 J-6) on

Sunday 26 October 2014 from 10am - 1pm at the George Road end of the Bellbird Dell.

Speeches will commence at 11am, so be there before that.


The aims of this activity are to:

  • Hear the policies of all our major political parties on the future for the Healesville Freeway Reserve.
  • Hear the response from Council / Councillors to the policies from the major parties.
  • Enable the Whitehorse community to view displays of other successful public open space schemes in situations similar to the HFR
  • Have a Q&A where the community is able to ask questions of the candidates and get clarifications on issues.
  • Assist Whitehorse community members in making informed decisions at the upcoming November election.

From 10.00 am to 1.00 pm information on other successful similar public open space schemes of will be on displayed in

Bellbird Dell Reserve (George Street entrance, Melway 62 J-6)

From 11am political representatives will be asked to make a speech on the policies of their respective parties on the future

of the reserve and answer questions from members of the community.

A sausage sizzle and refreshments will be provided.

We are looking forward to seeing you on Sunday 26 October on this important occasion for the Healesville Freeway Reserve,

Bellbird Dell and the Whitehorse community.


The Community Forum is sponsored by the Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (Whitehorse) and supported by the Vermont and Vermont South Lions, Bellbird Dell Advisory Committee, Nunawading Community Gardens, The Concept 4 Preservation, Whitehorse Community Indigenous Plant Project/Bungalook nursery, Greenlink Box Hill nursery, the Blackburn & District Tree Preservation Society and the Blackburn & District Environment Protection Fund.




pdfAssociated map


We finally have a response from government on their position with regard to the Healesville Freeway Reservation. The press release and map with the location of the two parcels to be transferred to Crown land is attached.


It is worth noting –

  • The Biolink/Shared path is included
  • The Terrara preschool playground is secure
  • There is no indication of what will be done with the two heritage properties – Greenways and Mirrabooka.
  • The amount of land being preserved for Open space is 44% in the attached announcement.
  • The land proposed to be protected includes the Eastern extension of the Dell and land for Vermont Secondary school.
  • The Open space percentage is similar to the allocation in the VicRoads ‘Shared path’ concept, so no additional land is being set aside for Open space, however the protection of Crown land is more secure.
  • All the work done by VicRoads over the last 3 years has been set aside, which is a colossal waste of taxpayer funds and all the man hours put in by VicRaods staff and all the consultants who were hired for this project.

Now that the position of all three major parties is known, we will try and set up a public forum where representatives from the parties will be invited to present their views on the HFR in particular and open space/ biodiversity in general. The community will have a chance to ask questions and seek clarifications. There is not much time but we will try and do it in late October’14, more information will follow so please keep a look out for it and tentatively pencil in Sunday 26th Oct in your diary. We will try and hold it as before at the George Road entrance of the Bellbird Dell.

Hope to see you there!



It has been a long wait since March’14 for the Coalition Government to release the structure plan or state their position on the Healesville Freeway Reserve corridor.

VicRoads was originally due to release the Structure plan in March, then it was pushed out to April and then May, after that they stopped talking about its release, now they say the Shared path concept, the community feedback and Council’s concept is with the office of the Minister for Roads and they are awaiting instructions. Do remember, that in late 2013 despite being 8 months behind schedule, the community consultation was rushed through in the lead up to Christmas, with no regard for the convenience of the community and despite that they are again 5 months behind schedule.


At the Action day in March’14, our local member of Parliament Neil Angus was asked about the government’s position, he replied that he would consult with his colleagues and get back.

Despite numerous follow up via emails, letters and face to face meetings: we have had no reply so far on the Government’s formal position for this land.

We know that Labor’s policy is to keep all of the reserve as Open Space and that the Greens support that position, it is just the Coalition’s policy that is not known.


At the Federal level for the last election, few Coalition policies were declared and those that were made public were not fully articulate. Since then we have had unwelcome surprise after surprise, as different policies are now being espoused and the means of achieving them announced. We do not want that to happen at the State level as well.


Waiting for five months to hear back, without any response from the State government is too long. The election in November is not far now and the community needs to know what each political party’s position is on this important local issue so as to make an informed decision when they vote.

If you think you have waited long enough and want an answer from the government, ask for it.


Write to –

Neil Angus – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minister for Roads: Terence Mulder – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Minister for Planning: Mathew Guy - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;


Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (Whitehorse)

23rd March ’14 - Action Day Report

What a day we had! We had been watching the weather with trepidation, initially the forecast was 70% chance of rain then it changed to 40%. Finally the day was overcast but clear and a collective sigh of relief was breathed!


Set up started early with an area for the 5 displays, the voting and the BBQ.

Setting up for the Action DaySetting up for the Action Day

The day started slowly, with people trickling in from 10am, Michael Sukkar, the Federal member for Deakin dropped in soon after and met the early birds.

Number grew during the morningAround 400 attended during the action dayAround 400 attended during the action day


The numbers continued to grow steadily and by the time we had the speeches it was full house!

With 260 votes collected on the day, we estimate the attendance at 400, as not everyone who attended stayed for the whole time and several people who attended had already voted at the Face to Face promotion of the event at the local shopping centres on the 15th, 16th & 22nd March’14 and so could not vote again.

Though there were 5 concepts, people had a choice between 3 options for land use – 100% Open space, 20% Housing or 60+% Housing.


  • Open Space Options - The ALP have promised if they win government, to keep all the reserve as open space, handing it over to Parks Victoria, with $650,000 promised for a biolink/shared path. The Community also put up a concept for 100% open space.
  • 20% Housing Options – Again there were two concepts – The Community concept for 20% housing and the Whitehorse Council’s vision with 19% housing
  • 60+% Housing – This number is an estimation as VicRoads have still not announced what the percentage of housing in their concept works out to. They have confirmed though that their concept would include the tree lined shared path, which was the concept on display.


The speakers for the day were - Neil Angus, member for the Lower House of Forest Hill representing the Coalition. The ALP was represented by Shaun Leane, Upper House member for Eastern Metropolitan, and Pauline Richards who has been preselected for the Lower House seat of Forest Hill. Greg Barber leader of the Greens was there with local candidate for the Upper House, Samantha Dunn. Morack ward Councillors Raylene Carr and Bill Bennett and Raeoni Turner from Nadrasca.

Other councillors from the City of Whitehorse who attended were Andrew Munroe and Andrew Davenport. At noon everyone gathered to hear the speakers who set out their views and then took questions from the Community.


Neil AngusNeil Angus Shaun LeaneShaun Leane Greg BarberGreg Barber Bill Bennet & Raylene CarrBill Bennet & Raylene Carr

A special thank you to the Vermont Lions who worked hard to keep everyone fed on the day!


All the voting slips have now been counted and the result of the view the community expressed is overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the HFR corridor as Open Space.


The No 1 issue people voted for as most important was – Open space at 85% while the VicRoads concept got the least votes at less than 1%.

  • Total Votes – 758
  • Action day votes – 260
  • Face to face – 498 (conducted on 15th, 16th & 22nd March at Vermont South Shopping Centre and Brentford Square Shopping Centre)

Break Up by Concept

Ranking – 1 Most liked ---------- 5 Least liked

1 2 3 4 5

Australian Labor Party – 100% Open Space







City of Whitehorse Vision – approx 20% Housing







Concept 4 Preservation - 100% Open Space







Low Impact Housing -20% Housing







Vic Roads Shared Path Concept – 60% housing







The Next Step

Now that there is a clear choice for the community between the Coalition and Labor view on this issue, the final say on the HFR should be taken to an election. We call on the Premier Dr. Napthine, Ministers for Roads and Planning, Terry Mulder and Matthew Guy to provide some assurance to the community that no final decisions will be made or contracts signed until after the election, when people are allowed to express their choice through the ballot box. To do any different would be a breach of faith with the community.

Thank you, to all the people who came out in numbers to have their say on what they want for their community.


Other Resources


pdfMedia release

pdfComments on Assessment cards

pdfComments on butcher's paper