An article in yesterday's Herald Sun newspaper pointed to a sleight of hand by the North East Link Project in its recent appearance before the North East Link Inquiry and Advisory Committee. (See https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-east/golfers-tee-off-at-controversial-proposal-either-reduce-or-alter-freeway-golf-course/news-story/386681c74b5e0151a62c2107f2943f78 - this article is hidden behind a Herald-Sun paywall. - Ed).
Moreland Council rezones residential land as parkland for residents, but they have to pay dearly to get the land back off the development-mad state government. Still this is something that local councils should all be doing and they should collectively be placing pressure on the State Government to sell the land at non-market prices, or gift it. For some time the requirement that developers set aside parkland for each development has been commuted to paying into a fund so that council can reissue land as parkland more cheaply. Who knows where this money goes?
Cr. John Kavanagh of North West Ward, Moreland, writes that he is "thrilled to inform you that we have successful in purchasing the entire parcel of Outlook Drive land!!!"
"The section of the land that is currently zoned residential will be rezoned so that this land will be open space for ever!" He writes that he "called a Special Council Meeting last week where we resolved to increase our offer – this land has not come cheap!"
"I know that ‘success has many fathers and failure is an orphan’ and so many will claim success in this. I tell you as clearly as I can that the success is because of the efforts of [...] elected Councillors, our CEO (Nerina Di Lorenzo), Kelvin Thomson, Kaye Oddie, Peter Khalil and you the community more generally."
Last year I did research into, and gave speeches about, the public health benefits of public open space. [See also, "Kelvin Thomson: Too few trees make high-density Coburg and Glenroy risky during heat waves"] My view about the importance of this is reinforced by recent statements in the Moreland Leader by University of Sydney Associate Professor Tonia Gray that research shows that neighbourhoods with more green spaces are much healthier and socially cohesive. She says, "Nature has a calming effect, it recalibrates your body. Australian kids spend an average of 52 hours a week in front of a screen but an average of 40 minutes outside". (Originally published at http://kelvinthomson.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/melbourne-heat-island-effect.html)