‘Surplus’ land sale decision deferred

Residents have voiced their opposition to Latrobe City Council’s proposed sales of “surplus” parcels of land and properties.

Council officers identified 15 properties across Churchill, Moe, Morwell and Traralgon that were surplus to council’s needs which could be sold to fund four major projects in the Valley.

The officers projected selling the parcels, many of which were originally set aside as open space and not developed, would raise $2 million over two years.

Half of this would go towards financing projects allocated in the 2014-15 budget, including change facilities at Harold Preston Reserve, drainage at Morwell Park Oval, reconstruction of Moe Tennis Courts and a synthetic green for Churchill Bowls Club.

However, council’s public consultation process revealed most of the 20 written submissions received objected to one or more of the proposed sales.

Many submitters said the identified vacant land nearby their homes was well-used by the community and would be missed.

Other residents said they were concerned about what may be built on the land once sold.

Nevertheless, council officers recommended council authorise the sales of the 15 properties at Monday night’s council meeting.

After a number of speakers voiced their objections at the meeting, councillors voted to defer the decision, giving them more time to consider the submissions.

Mayor Sharon Gibson said the consultation process did what it was designed to – identify any issues that needed addressing.

A Morwell resident who spoke at the meeting said her home’s storm water drain flowed to one of the identified surplus properties and she was concerned she would have to pay to change this if the property was sold.

Cr Gibson said “things like that need to be addressed” and fears allayed where possible.

Moe Tennis Club president Brad Griffin said although he did not know the reasons for the objections, he wanted residents to know of the benefits the sales would bring to the community.

“The Moe Tennis Club has been pushing for (court upgrades) for nearly seven years now,” Mr Griffin said.

“The money is going back to the community and… in my opinion, it will be better utilised.

“It’s going to (facilities) across the municipality that can be used by the whole community, rather than just a few.”

The decision to sell the land will be made at a future meeting.