KINGSTON councillors are trying to ensure a waste transfer hub for Melbourne is not established in Kingston’s Green Wedge.
At a special council meeting last week councillors unanimously voted to direct council officers to write to new Labor Planning Minister Richard Wynne to ask for an extension an 18-month interim protection clause.
The protection clause was granted by Mr Wynne’s predecessor as planning minister, now Coalition opposition leader Matthew Guy.
The state government’s materials recycling prohibition clause is due to end on 1 June having been extended twice before.
Kingston Council awaits the outcome of a formal council request to rezone green wedge land north of Kingston and Heatherton roads, at risk from the introduction of more recycling facilities, from Special Use Zone to Green Wedge A Zone land.
A state government panel hearing is scheduled for 16 March.
Cr Rosemary West said council “should not take any comfort” from the request for the planning minister to extend the protection clause.
“It should not be used as an excuse to delay any more than necessary rezoning that Special Use land to Green Wedge A zone.”
Council city strategy manager Jonathan Guttman said council officers has been advised several interested parties wanted to make submissions to the panel hearing which is “expected to last 6 to 7 days” in March.
State government agency Sustainability Victoria has previously advised council that the Clayton-Dingley area has been identified as one of several possible locations for a waste hub for Melbourne due to its “access to transport networks”.
Neighbouring residents were furious in 2008, when a ministerial order by former Labor planning minister Justin Madden allowed the Alex Fraser Group to conduct concrete crushing operations at a Kingston Rd site in Clarinda, against council’s wishes.
North Ward Cr Steve Staikos saw several notices of motion to seek protection for the area north of Kingston and Heatherton roads voted down early last year as councillors debated the best use of parts of Kingston’s Green Wedge.
The Alex Fraser Group made an audacious attempt late last year to extend the licence for its controversial Clarinda concrete crusher, due to expire in 2016, but councillors unanimously opposed the request (‘Concrete path blocked’, The News 24/12/14).
That application’s timing seemed to exploit the uncertainty surrounding state government policy until the new Planning Minister responds.
The area remains vulnerable to waste recycling business applications while council awaits a decision from the state government on extending the protection clause or rezoning the area to Green Wedge A land.