Support for rock master plan

(Star Weekly)

Elsie Lange

Macedon Ranges council has voted to endorse the government’s revised Hanging Rock Precinct Master Plan, but to lobby on concerns about a lack of detail on infrastructure and the relocation of sporting clubs.

At a meeting on Tuesday, June 22, council debated the merits of endorsing the plan, which was revised following community feedback on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) draft Hanging Rock Master Plan.

Councillors reiterated that their decision whether or not to endorse the plan would not impact the outcomes or concerns held by council as it was ultimately a government process.

Many said it was unfortunate council had not been privy to community submissions to DELWP on the draft plan.

Councillor Annette Death said there was “a great body of work to be completed” in regards to developments.

“The officer report outlines the final designs still need to be undertaken for parking, thinking through accessibility for people of all abilities … there’s a great deal of work that still needs to take place,” Cr Death said.

“That extends to cultural and ecological considerations for the proposed pathways, lighting plans, in particular the engineering solutions for the road that’s crossing over the racecourse.

“I just think the plan in its current form does raise many concerns… not to say the least, the sporting clubs.”

Amending an initial officer recommendation, council voted unanimously to note revised the master plan and push council’s continued work with DELWP on the detailed design of each of the facilities and infrastructure included.

Council also voted to request DELWP undertake community engagement for each key design element and write to Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio to express council’s positions.

In addition, council would “prioritise actions and discussions with DELWP, the Hanging Rock sporting clubs and other relevant agencies to secure new, permanent and appropriately funded facilities in close proximity to their current location to the sporting clubs impacted by the delivery of the final … master plan”.

Macedon Ranges Residents Association secretary Christine Pruneau said the final decision by council was “a better outcome than expected”, and hoped the government would take into consideration its apprehension.

“Council has picked up on the plan’s deficiencies and on community concerns,” she said.

The master plan has been submitted but not yet approved by Ms D’Ambriosio. Council is currently negotiating the sale of the precinct’s east paddock to the government.