THE kerfuffle over the proposed sale of land in Foster’s Berry Street continues, with South Gippsland Shire Council now contradicting retired solicitor Jim Wilson’s claim that he donated the land back in 1967 for use as a community park/garden.
Council this week issued a statement claiming that the land at 2 Berry Street, which it is proposing to sell as part of its Strategic Land Review, was not gifted or donated to the former Shire of South Gippsland, but was part of a development contribution when the surrounding area was subdivided. The alternative would have been for the subdivider to have provided a financial contribution to Council.
Council asserts that the parcel of land at 2 Berry Street, Foster (shaded and bordered black on the accompanying aerial photo/plan) was identified as suitable for sale subject to appropriate statutory processes.
The council statement continues:
“The methodology for the Strategic Land Review included an evaluation matrix. The questions on this evaluation matrix were developed in consultation with the community. The lot at 2 Berry Street received a high score on the matrix for a few reasons:
- It is a lot on a plan and not a reserve.
- It is contained within a Residential 1 zone under Council’s planning scheme.
- There is no evidence of community structures on the land.
- It is not identified in any strategic plans of Council in particular, the Foster Structure Plan or the Open Space Strategy 2007 and there is a satisfactory supply of open space within a 400-500m radius of the Berry Street residential area.”
The statement goes on to clarify which parcel of land is under consideration for sale:
“While the name P J Wilson Park is used locally, the government road reserve is the area that is more widely used and recognised as the park area over and above 2 Berry Street itself. P J Wilson Park is a locally known name and not registered with any governing body such as the Register of Geographic Names.
“More recently, the Foster Community House and Learning Centre and Sculpture Garden group received a Council community grant and Arts Victoria grant to erect sculptures on the government road reserve. The area bordered with the white dots is the government road reserve upon which the sculptures have been placed with the approval of VicRoads. There is no intention to change this and Council would be happy to hear ideas for gardening improvements to the area surrounding the sculptures.”