At Tuesday night’s council meeting (February 7th) councillors approved a Mayoral Minute by Peter Gangemi calling for a report on compulsory acquiring land within the estate for community use.
The Hills to Hawkesbury Community News understands that Hills Shire Council made a formal offer to buy a large parcel of land within the master-planned estate for parks and sports fields but the offer was knocked back by the land owners in January.
General Manager, Michael Edgar is now preparing a report for Council setting out the processes and options to proceed “as expediently” as possible regarding the acquisition of land within the Hills of Carmel estate.
In his Mayoral Minute to Hills Shire councillors, Dr Gangemi said while council had opened new parks and sports fields in other areas of Box Hill and the neighbouring Gables development it had not been able to do the same in The Hills of Carmel development.
He said: “The rollout of parks and sports fields within The Hills of Carmel section of Box Hill has been slower than surrounding areas, and a number of community members have contacted myself and councillors on the matter. I want the community to know that as a Council, we are listening to you and are doing everything in our power to provide you the services you deserve.”
He said Council has always sought to prioritise the acquisition of land as early as possible in the life of a precinct to keep the future costs of delivering local infrastructure down and had bought more than $200 million worth of land from around 40 landowners within the precinct since 2014.
“As in all precincts, different landowners have different time horizons and different expectations and sometimes it takes time for the parties to agree. So far, Council has not needed to compulsorily acquire land in this precinct however that may soon be something Council needs to consider for some important open space, drainage and road projects.
“Despite making offers based on formal independent valuation advice to acquire land from this developer, and in contrast to our successful acquisition of land and delivery of community infrastructure elsewhere in the precinct, agreement has not been reached for the purchase of this land. I also understand that while frustrating for the community, commercial matters of this nature need to be dealt with confidentially at times. I feel that Council needs to appropriately consider its option to progress the matter as expediently as possible within the processes available to us under legislation and also with the ambit of our available budgets.
“Residents within The Hills of Carmel deserve open space recreational opportunities, and as a Council, it is important that we do all we can on this issue for the community.”
Hills Shire Council has recently opened new parks in Box Hill including Ceres Way Reserve, Equinox Drive Reserve and Hannaford Avenue Reserve. Construction has also started on the Brindle Parkway Sports Fields in Box Hill (pictured). The nearby Gables development also has a significant number of community parks that have been completed.
The $1.3 billion development of the 223 ha Hills of Carmel, a former Brahman Cattle stud owned by Albert Scheinberg since 1960, was officially launched in 2013 with the announcement it would provide 2000 homes, schools, shops and sporting fields when completed in 2025.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]