THE latest round in an ongoing saga over a subdivision next to a Port Fairy wetland is expected to take place in Victoria’s top planning court early next year.
Campaigners against the 32-lot subdivision at Mills Crescent have listed the matter with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) but are not expecting to have it heard before January.
But it has delayed any planned works by developer John Bock, who was given a permit by Moyne Shire during a cliffhanger vote in July.
The opponents, the Southbeach Wetlands and Landcare Group, are launching the VCAT bid on the grounds that extra homes could force vulnerable Latham’s snipe out of their habitat.
“The birds occupy the whole area of land and there are buffer zones recommended for the birds,” group chairman Don Steward said.
“It’s one of the most important nesting sites in Australia.”
Mr Stewart said buffers of 150 metres to 200 metres needed to be enforced around the wetland — despite pre- existing homes already within that area.
Latham’s snipe migrate from Japan each year. While not listed as endangered, they are protected under a deal with Japan.
The opponents won a previous appeal in VCAT against a larger subdivision planned by Mr Bock in 2008.
Mr Stewart said the area was also prone to flooding and climate change.
“We will be arguing that flooding is an issue,” he said
Two recent Moyne Shire flood and climate change reports have not found any inundation risks in the area.
Mr Bock confirmed the VCAT listing would further delay his plans.
He said two independent studies into climate change and flooding backed up his claims that the land was suitable to build on.
“As part of the planning process I had two expert reports done by people independent to me … they found that by the year 2100 my land would not be subject to storm surges or rising sea levels,” Mr Bock said.
He said he had also forfeited 37 per cent of his land at Mills Crescent to create a reserve for the birds and that the Commonwealth had ticked off on the development.