In June, the Victorian Government released its final North Growth Corridor Plan, dedicating even more land in the Merri catchment to urban uses. This growth ‘planning’ leaves an indecently narrow corridor along much of Merri Creek, locates a major town centre (Lockerbie) straddling the creek, proposes a non-existent habitat link from Merri Creek to a yet to be defined Red Gum Woodland reserve in Wollert, and whittles away other proposed conservation areas.
The Growth Corridor Plan is supposed to reflect a detailed Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, but that is yet to see the light of day. In the meantime, the next level of planning, Precinct Structure Plans, have been finalised for three big new suburbs in the upper Merri: Lockerbie, North Lockerbie and Merrifield West. The Lockerbie plan shows major roads located as close as 40m to Merri Creek and high density residential and commercial development on the other side of the roads.
The state government has also announced so-called ‘Logical Inclusions’ to growth areas. In the Merri this includes Red Gum Woodland in Mickelham and all of Wallan, including flood-prone land at Hernes Swamp.
See the map of the growth area, including the ‘Logical Inclusions’ and PSPs.