At a recent meeting the Alpine Shire has confirmed that the ‘Village Green’ planned for Dinner Plain near Mt Hotham will not proceed in its current form. However it will continue to look into options for a ‘lower impact’ public space in the village.

After debate, Council adopted the following:

That Council:

  1. Does not proceed with the Dinner Plain Village Green project;
  2. Consider future open space proposals at Dinner Plain that are low cost and have low environmental, cultural heritage and visual impacts; and
  3. Investigates the potential to establish Lot 3 as a Native Vegetation Credit Register Offset Site for future Dinner Plain projects.

Council noted that many people were concerned about the damage that would have been caused by clearing more than 2 hectares of snow gum woodland. They note that many in the ‘community were concerned about the high cost, as well as the high cultural heritage, visual and environmental impacts of a large Village Green’.

They also ‘recognised that the Dinner Plain community would still like some form of open space or cleared level grass area which was closer to the original intent of the Village Green as represented in the 2015 Master Plan’.

Let’s hope that whatever is proposed next has a much smaller physical footprint in terms of destruction of snow gum woodland.

Under the Net Gain laws that operate in Victoria, developers in certain conditions need to protect a similar type of vegetation before they receive permission to destroy habitat on their own property. The land that is protected needs to be of the same Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) as that which will be destroyed. In the case of the Victorian Alps (the Alpine EVC) there is very little privately owned land that can be protected when clearing needs to happen in this type of vegetation.

Mt Buller resort is seeking to offset destruction of alpine vegetation on that mountain by protecting land on the adjacent Mt Stirling.

In the case of the privately owned ‘Block 3’ at Dinner Plain, there would be considerable potential to permanently protect native vegetation to offset destruction elsewhere. It has been suggested that it could provide the offset for the planned expansion at the Stockman mine which is to the east of Dinner Plain in the headwaters of the Tambo River because of the presence of Sub-alpine Wet Heathland, which will be destroyed should the Stockman mine be re-opened.

What’s next?

Council says:

Council continues to be committed to delivering capital projects that achieve value for money and are supported by Dinner Plain ratepayers.  In the short term, we intend proposing the following capital projects for Council’s consideration in the 2018/19 Draft Budget:

–          Tracks & Trails Signage: Design and implementation of wayfinding signage to assist navigation and promote the use of Dinner Plain’s tracks and trails network.

–          Toboggan & Ski Run Safety Improvements: Site investigations, design and earthworks to improve user safety at the base of the ski and toboggan runs in Scrubbers End.

–          Tennis Court Upgrade: Design and implementation of improved drainage and an upgraded tennis court pavement.

In addition, we plan to seek external funding to support delivery of the following project:

–          Mountain Bike Trails Stage 2: Implementation of the remaining mountain bike trails.

Following adoption of the 2018/19 budget, we will continue to work with the community to determine the priority for capital works projects at Dinner Plain to ensure Council meets its commitment of delivering $1.5m of capital works projects within Dinner Plain by 2027.  The list of potential projects will be informed by both previous and recent community engagement and will include consideration of a smaller Village Green that is low cost and has low environmental, cultural heritage and visual impacts.