Summit focus on green wedge

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THE long-term protection of the Mornington Peninsula’s rural areas will be the focus of a green wedge summit on Friday 22 June at Main Ridge Community Hall, Main Ridge.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is holding the summit as part of community consultations following the release of the final draft of its Green Wedge Management Plan on Monday 18 June.

About 70 per cent of the peninsula is green wedge, which provides for conservation of the natural environment and access to informal outdoor recreation.

The peninsula is also regarded as one of the most valuable food producing areas in Australia close to a major capital city.

“The summit will focus on issues threatening the long-term preservation of the green wedge and stress the importance of ensuring the effectiveness of the shire’s green wedge policies are not compromised in the future,” the mayor Cr Bryan Payne said.

The summit will also cover major threats to the liveability and environment of the Mornington Peninsula – such as population growth.

Melbourne’s population rose by 125,400 people – up 2.7 per cent – in the year to June 2017, taking the total number to just under 4.9 million people, according to the Bureau of Statistics.

“The challenge of managing the increased population extends to Mornington Peninsula Shire with greater access through Peninsula Link, the ability of people to work remotely and the pressure of peak tourism periods,” Cr Payne said.

“It is vital that the immediate and future management of the demand for development of infrastructure, subdivision, tourism facilities and any pressures to reduce the effectiveness of the urban growth boundary are managed in a manner that respects and maintains the environmental integrity of the peninsula’s green wedge.”

Speakers at the summit will include Flinders MP Greg Hunt, and Michael Buxton, professor of environment and planning at the school of global, urban and social studies, RMIT University, an architect of Victoria’s original green wedge strategy. Others are Melbourne University’s Dr Rachel Carey, Mornington Regional Tourism Board chair Tracey Cooper, Peninsula Speaks’ Christine Haydon, and fifth-generation orchardist Sheryn Mock.

“Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors have a strong commitment to preserving the Green Wedge and coastal environments and, while it may cause debates, it is important to remember the decisions we make today on planning will decide the quality of environment we leave our children tomorrow,” Cr Payne said.

The Green Wedge Summit is at Main Ridge Community Hall, 441 Main Creek Road, Main Ridge, with 9.30am arrival for a 10am start and 3pm finish.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Bookings: www.trybooking.com/390892

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 12 June 2018

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