VicRoads is proceeding with its plan to sell two pieces of public parkland in Kew, to the ire of local residents.
Boroondara Council has declined to purchase either property, saying however “the land should remain public open space for the enjoyment of the public,” in a recent press release.
“It is gravely disappointing and incomprehensible that VicRoads is contemplating selling public land […] occupied and maintained by Council” said Cr Jim Parke, Mayor of Boroondara.
The fate of 4 Studley Park Rd (Dorothy Rogers Reserve), and 85 Kilby Road remains indeterminate, but both public and private buyers have expressed interest.
Public Transport Victoria has expressed interest in purchasing Dorothy Rogers Reserve, as confirmed by Minister for Roads spokesperson Sacha Fenton.
Mayor Jim Parke said any PTV ownership would likely be used to house a power substation, a view supported by Kew Liberal MP Tim Smith.
“I can accept this as a legitimate public use. But we need to get full details.” Tim Smith said.
He suggests proper course of action is for VicRoads to simply transfer the land to the Boroondara City Council, a view supported by many vocal community members.
“No way should one of our communities breathing spaces be sold off to developers,” says resident Deborah McColl-Davis. “Increasing urban density means greater needs for open space areas for the residents and visitors.”
Louisa Chiu says “I am so disappointed with the trend of having more and more public land sold, or on the plan to be sold for private use and the Council is not able to do anything about it!”
“…watching all the new high rise development in the area with no supporting road and community services support to match this kind of crazy growth is really sad!”
The issue remains particularly pertinent given discussions of further privatisation of State Government, of both land and industries. VicRoads frequently sells large amounts of land ($52.5m from 2011-2013), but the location of the parkland here came as a surprise.
VicRoads declined to comment on the further progress of the sales, or the reasoning behind it.
Boroondara City Council advises residents to contact their member of parliament, or the Minister for Roads to voice their opinions.