Concerns still held over Mount Clear, Mount Helen development

THE City of Ballarat is reviewing a plan which proposed to build 500 dwellings between Mount Clear and Mount Helen.

The move follows public protests from residents about the development.

The Draft Greenhill Road Development Feasibility Study outlines the council’s vision for the future of the land between Mount Helen and Mount Clear, east of Geelong Road.

The land is zoned “farming” but the report deemed the area fragmented and no longer viable for agricultural use.

Instead, it proposed to rezone the land for urbanised residential development.

Earlier this year, The Courier reported that Mount Helen and Buninyong residents feared the development would destroy the region’s natural appeal.

Late last month, a public consultation meeting was held on the matter between residents and council planning officers.

It was decided that the council would modify the plan to accommodate residents’ concerns.

Linda Zibel, a Mount Helen resident who is leading a campaign against the development, said she still had concerns about the impact any large-scale residential development in the region would have on the already congested Geelong Road.

Ms Zibel also called on the council to undertake an environmental assessment of the land which will be impacted.

“No one has done any environmental assessment yet for the people of Mount Helen the environment including landscape quality, native habitat and wildlife values is seamlessly interwoven with our way of life and neighbourhood character,” Ms Zibel said.

Ms Zibel said residents also wanted to see “revised, researched and on-ground re-evaluation of the situation,” now that the initial stage of fixing Geelong Road was complete.

The Courier contacted the council but was told it would be unable to respond to the inquiry until next year. It is expected the revised plan will be unveiled at the beginning of 2015.

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