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Community wins in CSIRO deal

Friday, March 22, 2019

Council has achieved a significant milestone in securing community benefits from the sale of 9.3 hectares owned by the CSIRO in Highett.

Bayside Mayor Cr Michael Heffernan said an agreement reached this week with CSIRO guarantees that land gifted by the Australian Government will be set aside for open space and Council will have the opportunity to purchase further land for community facilities.

 “The land in Graham Road, Highett is one of the most significant development sites in inner metropolitan Melbourne and represents a unique opportunity to obtain land for open space and new community facilities.

“Both the Highett and wider Bayside community will benefit from high quality public open space, community facilities and increased housing opportunities in this area, close to public transport and services,” Cr Heffernan said.

The site contains important, remnant vegetation that will now be protected and enhanced. The agreement ensures that three hectares encompassing the Highett Grassy Woodland will be set aside for conservation to encourage regeneration of indigenous species and natural habitat.

A further one hectare of open space has been set aside for recreation purposes and Council is now assured the option to purchase another 3500 square metres to build new community facilities including a library.

The Australian Government announced its intention to dispose of the site in 2011, and in 2013 a commitment was secured from the Commonwealth Government that four hectares of the site will be transferred to Bayside City Council.

CSIRO has demolished all buildings on the site and is currently removing any potentially hazardous materials to ensure the site is left in a safe condition. The entire site is expected to be listed for sale on the open market in April 2019.

The agreement struck between Council and the CSIRO this week guarantees the land gifted by the Australian Government will remain as open space in perpetuity and guarantees land for community facilities but leaves it open for Council to negotiate the best outcomes with the eventual purchaser.

Access to the site will be strictly limited until the CSIRO completes remediation work. After this time Council has negotiated limited access to begin planting and weeding but titles and full site access will not transfer to Council until 12 months after settlement. In the meantime the community will be consulted on a masterplan for the three hectares in the southern end of the site.

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