Development Victoria is the statutory government body looking to develop the land on the corner of Burwood Highway and Scoresby Rd which runs right down to the bottom of the hill and Blind Creek.
As part of their plan they will remove the current Lake Knox (which can be seen from the Blind Creek trail between Scoresby and Lewis Roads) to build sediment ponds and would build a new wetland on the low lying land to the East. Lake Knox has become an important feature as more and more people see it and the abundant bird life that frequent it, including the rare and threatened Blue Billed Duck.
Knox City Council rejected Development Victoria’s planning application and so the matter has gone to VCAT. The Knox Environment Society (KES) is so concerned about the future of the lake and the importance of this area to the local community that they have invested much of their savings in hiring a legal team, along with expert witnesses to make sure supporters of the lake get a good hearing.
The case started on Monday 28th August with initial housekeeping matters; this included KES requesting a determination of whether Lake Knox was a waterway under the Water Act (which would offer a greater protection). VCAT members said they would think about this request and whether it was important. Mind you KES has been trying to have dialogue with Melbourne Water for the last 12 months over this issue. Council began their case, going through the planning scheme requirements and the reasons for their rejection.
By Tuesday VCAT members had decided that the water way issue needed further clarification so after more of Council’s submission we were sent away to write submissions on whether the lake was a water way.
This week we presented our submissions. What was initially thought may take a day took much longer. The case has now been put on hold while we wait for a decision on this legal question. The case will now continue in mid-October and hopefully finish by the end of October.
If anyone would like to help the KES and their fight to save the lake, we are trying to raise $120,000 to help cover our costs. Donations can be made at Payment | Chuffed | Non-profit charity and social enterprise fundraising