Canadian Park – a permanent green belt on Ballarat’s eastern edge

Josh Morris is at it again, demonstrating that the Liberals stand for nothing.

Ahead of the election, the Liberals offered nothing in relation to the future of the Canadian plantation land handed back to the State Government – with the likely outcome that the Liberals would sell off the land for inappropriate development.

In contrast, Labor saw an opportunity to not only retain the plantation and state forest land but to protect it as part of our State’s parks system – a permanent green belt on Ballarat’s eastern edge that could be appreciated by residents and visitors to Ballarat and preserved for future generations . Labor also committed $2 million to support the development of the park.

During consultations held through the first half of the year, community members made it clear that they favoured the creation of a regional park as opposed to a state park – as it allowed for a greater variety of community uses such as dog walking and horse riding, which would otherwise not be permitted.

Submissions were received from several key stakeholder groups about the creation of the park. Of these, Friends of Canadian Park, Leigh Catchment Group, and the Victorian National Parks Association recommended the creation of a regional park rather than a state park.

The Andrews Labor Government listened to the community and The Canadian Regional Park will be reserved and managed under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978. A Bill will be introduced to parliament later this year with the aim of proclaiming the Canadian Regional Park before the end of 2015.

Having worked with so many community members to develop this plan, I have been excited to see how committed so many residents are to the park and ongoing consultation has, and will continue to be important in ensuring that the new Canadian Regional Park can be appreciated to its maximum.

Geoff Howard MP

State Member for Buninyong

(Published in The Courier 03/09/15)