Residents refuse council's offer of Magpie Street block for park

THE City of Ballarat has attempted to placate a group of residents fighting for a block of land to be turned into a park on Magpie Street by offering them a house-size block to keep as a recreational area in return.

Sovereign Hill has sold the 1.2-hectare block of residentially-zoned land to developer Steve Grovac, conditional on planning permits being issued. 

A 5  per cent levy, in cash or land, on developments with more than three titles is part of the council’s Open Space Strategy. 

Mr Grovac has applied to divide the land into 14 titles, including one 5778-metres-square area. 

Friends of the William Dunstan Reserve – the block’s unofficial name – spokesman Peter Wills said it was not an acceptable compromise. 

“We’re pretty unhappy with it. I’m not sure why they came to us in the first place. There were five of us in the meeting. That’s hardly representative of the community,” he said. 

A statement from council’s acting chief executive officer, Natalie Reiter, said the meeting was to “update” the group on the status of the land. 

Mr Wills and  fellow residents have campaigned for years to have the land rezoned as parkland. 

The former mine site was cleared in the 1970s by residents for use by Golden Point Primary School, which was closed in 1997.

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