Ecovillage knockback

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Ecovillage knockback

By Matt Dunn
THE group that planned to build the Cape Paterson Ecovillage has vowed that it will prevail, despite a State Government panel ruling that it not go ahead.
“Their recommendation was that the ecovillage should not be included in our planning scheme and the land should not be rezoned,” Bass Coast Council’s development services manager Martin Gill told The Star.
Mr Gill said Bass Coast Council was unlikely to recommend the development be built, given the Planning Panels Victoria finding.
“The independent panel reports directly to the minister (for Planning, Justin Madden). We would then need to convince the Minister that the panel’s got it wrong, which would be a very rare thing,” he said.
“I can’t ever speak on behalf of the councillors, but it’s rare for a council to overturn a panel decision.”
Under the plans for the development, land to the west of Cape Paterson, between the existing township and Wilsons Road, would haven been rezoned from rural to comprehensive development.
The land has been used for grazing and adjoins foreshore reserve to the south and residential lots to the east.
Cape Paterson Ecovillage’s director Brendan Condon was disappointed, but believes the development is “too important” not to go ahead.
He believes the panel’s report was “disappointing” but the issues raised “are
resolvable”.
“We’re still committed to delivering the project. It’s too important a project for Bass Coast and the country to walk away from it,” he said.
“We’ll be meeting with our local supporters – we’ve now got a thousand who are interested in buying into the project and several hundred of them are locals.
“We’re now going to meet with our local supporters and we’ll be having discussions with council to look at how to progress from this point.”
He said council “has supported the project to this point.
“We’re going to have those discussions to see where we go from here,” he said.
Mr Condon said the carbon neutral housing development was to boast “8.5 star energy efficiency in the housing, large scale onsite renewable, energy (solar) generation exceeding demand”.
More than a million trees were to be planted on the site.
Mr Condon said the ecovillage plan addressed all the concerns outlined in the panel’s stipulations for coastal developments, including being too close to the water.
“We’re actually about 450m back from the coast. We’re actually further back than a lot of the existing houses in Cape Paterson. We think we meet the policy,” he said.
“But that’s the panel’s interpretation, which we think is narrow.”
The ecovillage has been in the planning stages for about eight years, Mr Condon said. He believes many Bass Coast tradesmen would miss out on work because of the panel’s decision to knock back the project.
“It would lift them right to the forefront of the building trade nationally through participating in a project like this,” he said.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=48

Posted by SiteAdmin on Apr 20 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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