House plan triggers protest in Port Fairy

A CONTROVERSIAL slice of land on Port Fairy’s Moyne River is continuing to draw fire, with locals launching a protest today against a planned development. 

Moyne Shire is still deciding if it will approve a two-storey home on the vacant paddock next to the Moyne River bridge. 

Port Fairy locals insist the spot is public land. 

The issue was first thrown in the spotlight in late 2012 after a Melbourne man was awarded the 107 Gipps Street block for free by the titles office under an adverse possession claim. 

The council delayed a decision on issuing a building permit last month and will use tomorrow afternoon to carry out a site inspection. 

Objectors will use the visit to pressure councillors to vote against the permit when they meet in a fortnight — and already have at least one supporter. 

Moyne Shire mayor and Port Fairy accountant James Purcell told The Standard he would vote against the item on the grounds the paddock is still zoned for farming and is regarded by the town as public land. 

“The community have a great deal of interest in it. They do feel as if it’s recreation space because its been used by people as a fishing spot for so long,” Cr Purcell said.

The block has also been scrutinised for being flood prone in winter and king tides — but agencies such as the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Authority (CMA) have rubber stamped the development.

“The CMA have given it the green light, although I’m not sure if they came out and looked at the site,” Cr Purcell said.

Port Fairy resident Chelsea Fox said she would meet councillors.

“I just think that it’s an absurd place to build, unless you’re going to build an ark,” Ms Fox said.

“I think it will take away from the aesthetic of Port Fairy.” 

Plans lodged with council show blueprints for a three-bedroom home. According to council planners, only 250 square metres of the block is suitable for building.  It is one of a handful of vacant blocks in Port Fairy and could be worth between $500,000 and $1 million. 


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