Letters to the editor
The article in The Courier (May 29) about the future of the Ballarat Town Common expressed concerns after the City of Ballarat included the last remnant of the 'Ballarat Town Common' in the Northern and Western Growth area for future development.
The letter explained the historical significance of 'Common land' (coming into existence in 1861) and that it should not be developed, but rather used for the whole community and kept as an open space.
When questioned by The Courier (May 29), City of Ballarat's director of development and growth Natalie Robertson stated the land should be included in the planning process so it could be "considered for appropriate uses that will serve future communities".
Surely with the well-documented importance of keeping green spaces for recreational use and mental well-being within our cities, there could be no other more appropriate use for this land than a large park to benefit the whole community.
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Ms Robertson stated in The Courier (June 5) "there are relatively few new parks as large as 10 or more hectares in Ballarat", therefore we should be protecting this large open green space.
By definition, 'Common Land' was set up to benefit the whole community.
If the City of Ballarat or a potential property developer were to make a profit from the development or sale of this land at a later date, this would go directly against the purpose of the Commons.
Ms Robertson also said in The Courier (May 29) the land was "more likely to stay as a recreation space for residents" but there was no certainty in this statement.
'More likely' does not give us strong reassurance the land will stay as Commons, as it was historically intended for.
I have great concerns that incorporating the land into the Ballarat Northern and Western Growth Area opens it up for rezoning at a later date.
This would make it very easy for the Commons to be snatched up by opportunistic land developers, resulting in the last remnant of the 'Ballarat Town Common' being lost forever.
Hopefully the council has a strong vision for the future, with the communities' best interests at the fore-front of their decision making and preserve this important piece of land, saving it from the endless urban sprawl of development!
Di Fulton, Ballarat
RE the Ballarat Common, the decline in koala populations in the area and the general urban sprawl that marches onwards, is anyone concerned about the existential threat of species decline and the threat of the sixth mass extinction?
The Ballarat Strategy 2040, which is the overarching plan to guide council in the development of council plans over the next 20 years, states "there is insufficient data on the status of biodiversity to guide holistic decision-making."
It also says "those biodiversity values should be comprehensively identified and understood, and most importantly, valued."
Indeed, it goes on to state principles that support biodiversity "should be embedded in everyday decision-making".
The Ballarat Council needs to value, preserve and promote biodiversity.
Just like the climate emergency, the biodiversity crisis needs to be addressed in all council decision-making.
Bryn Hills, Alfredton