The Moyne Shire has agreed to take ownership of more than one hectare of land in Port Fairy’s Mills Crescent to protect a vulnerable bird.
The council decided at its April meeting to sign an agreement to take ownership of Lot 32, which comprises 1.28 hectares in Mills Crescent, as part of an agreement to protect habitat for Latham’s snipe.
The council’s agreement to take ownership of the land was part of the consent given by the federal government for a subdivision in Mills Crescent.
The consent required the council to take ownership of the land for the snipe within 12 months of the start of work on the subdivision.
Planning officers told the council meeting that work on the subdivision started in May last year, requiring the council to take ownership of the land for the snipe by May this year.
The gifting of the 1.28 hectares to the council by the subdivision developer John Bock follows many years of discussion between the two parties, the state and federal governments, and community activism to protect the Latham’s snipe, which migrates to south-east Australia during the warmer months from Japan and the east Asia mainland.
As part of its consent to the Mills Crescent subdivision, the federal government has required the subdivision development not occur on several lots between September and March and that solid fencing at least 1.65 metres high be erected along the eastern boundary of the Lot 32 reserve and along the northern boundary of Lot 27, prior to construction of lots 1-31.
It has also required fencing along the entire southern boundary of the Lot 32 reserve before the start of construction on lots 1-31.
Further conditions included installation of a permanent gross pollutant trap and slashing and mowing along the northern side of Hill Street.
Council officers told the meeting all fees and expenses associated with the transfer of land to the council would be borne by the developer.
Maintenance of the land would need to be factored into subsequent council budgets, particularly with regard to mowing, the officers said.
Cr Jim Doukas told the council meeting the officers’ recommendation that the council sign the agreement for the transfer of land was “straightforward”.