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Divide and Conquer: Developers set to carve up Mornington Peninsular via Tootgarook Swamp

Check out the advertising: “Divide and Conquer Unsurpassed Development Opportunity.” Tootgarook Swamp on the Mornington Peninsula is under widespread threat from developers. They need your help. 92 Elizabeth Ave, Caple Sound, is for sale for 'environmentally friendly' residential development (a contradiction in terms). Environmentalists suggest that this might be the least developable block on the entire Mornington Peninsula, due to flooding risks alone. Meanwhile, the site's biodiversity values are incredible and that’s without even considering the site's implemented VCAT order for illegal clearance, P2706/2016. The site's values and species need your help to step forward and make a stand for biodiversity on the Southern Peninsula. The site serves as critical habitat for one federally listed wetland bird, and is also utilised by many migratory and state listed species. Please write to your Councillor, you State and Federal Members requesting that this site be acquired by purchase and protected forever. Please share this message with those who care about Tootgarook Swamp and the Peninsulas biodiversity.

Subject: Tootgarook Swamp - 92 Elizabeth Avenue Caple Sound.

Dear Mayor, Councillors, and Officers and members of other agencies,

I have been made aware that 92 Elizabeth Avenue in Capel Sound has been placed on the market.

I would humbly like to request that Mornington Peninsula Shire acquires the site. There are some very strong reasons for this to occur.
I would like to think that the Mornington Peninsula Shire could and would seek/have support of other agencies in this matter.

This site is probably the most significant parcel in the Tootgarook Swamp.
Reasons for acquisition of this site;

The site only has recorded 106 bird species, which represents the most significant number of birds of any one site in the Tootgarook Swamp.

The site has limited development potential due to the adjacent former unlined landfill. (VCAT mentioned that any development would need extremely close coordination with Shire due to ground water pollution from the former landfill).

Approximately 85-90% of the site gets inundated.

The site still has an unimplemented and incomplete VCAT order of P2706/2016 amended from an outstanding 2011 order. (This amendment was done with great community and Shire effort and cost).

The site itself is critical habitat even within the greater wetland for the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC ) -listed Australasian Bittern and several other EPBC migratory species such as the Latham's Snipe, Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Eastern Great Egret which utilise the swamp.

The land is also important habitat for a number of State significant Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFG) -listed species such as Australasian Shoveler, Ballion’s Crake, Eastern Cattle Egret, Freckled Duck, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Lewin’s Rail and Swamp Skink. This is not to mention the numerous list of other native species that occupy the site as well.

All Ecological Vegetation Class (EVCs) within the site are state-listed endangered.

The site consolidates Shire owned land of the former landfill (Truemans road) and Sanctuary Park bushland reserve.

It abuts private Covenanted habitat of Boneo Park adding to greater protection of biodiversity on the Peninsula.
It helps the Shire achieve the Tootgarook Management Plan.

I leave you with the conclusion (paragraph 238) from the VCAT case P2704/2015. These remarks were made for the GRZ1 OF the site, representing approximately 14 acres of the 75 acres of the site.

"For reasons that we have explained, we find that the proposed subdivision fails to achieve an acceptable balance between policy and planning provision seeking to address the biodiversity values of the wetland environment located on the site and those that support residential development. We find that the development as proposed will have detrimental impacts on the ecology of the broader Tootgarook Swamp wetland and consequently in biodiversity values that the scheme seeks to avoid. The benefits arising from the residential development, including flood mitigation and the provision of additional housing, are not sufficient to outweigh these impacts. Accordingly, we have decided to affirm the decision of the responsible authority and direct that no permit be granted."

The above information has been edited by for presentation purposes and the guts of it was provided by Cameron Brown, President of Save Tootgarook Swamp: Facebook page for Save Tootgarook Swamp

His phone number is 0409 936 577

Donations to Save Tootgarook Swamp may be made as below:

Account Name: Save Tootgarook Swamp
Financial Institution: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
BSB: 06 3540
Account Number: 1058 2313