After several months of work and significant community engagement led by the Haining Farm Working Group, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria have released the final concept plan for the site.

The concept plan attempts to balance the importance of conservation to the Victorian community, with the views of the local community and considerations to prevent increased bushfire risk.

DELWP Project Manager for the Yellingbo Conservation Area, Victoria Purdue, said “The final concept plan has been developed based on a combination of the recommendations of the working group, an assessment of bushfire risk and the results of extensive community consultation.”

“We’d like to thank the Haining Farm Working Group for their efforts and time in investigating the options and providing us with their recommendations, and the broader community for sharing their feedback and helping us determine the future use of the site.”

“Community engagement showed a high level of support for providing habitat for two of Victoria’s threatened species, the Helmeted Honeyeater and Lowland Leadbeaters Possum, at Haining Farm.” Ms. Purdue said.

“To achieve this, we need to ensure the site includes habitat areas with wet environments and dense mid-story vegetation as required by these species.”

“We will be working with adjoining landowners around the implementation of an artificial wetland in the north-west corner of the site which will help provide the habitat needed.”

“The presence of farm animals, particularly along the northern and southern boundaries, was highlighted as important by the local community and we will be investigating future uses for these areas that are consistent with these views.”

“The final plan for the site includes open woodland on the northern and eastern boundaries, which is essential to prevent an increase in bushfire risk and in response to community concerns we will incorporate additional water sources in these areas.”

“We will be working closely with the Country Fire Authority during the detailed design phase to ensure the site meets their requirements for bushfire response including access and availability of water points.”

“Improved community access, recreation and education opportunities were all supported by both the local and wider community and these are integrated in the final design to ensure the site responds to the wishes of Sir John Reid when he donated the land to the Victorian people as an environmental study park.”

DELWP received over 2300 submissions during the Haining Farm consultation. To find out more information about the Haining Farm project and view the final concept plan visit www.engage.vic.gov.au/yellingboconservationarea.

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