By CASEY NEILL
GREATER Dandenong Council has scaled back a push to rezone green wedge areas of Bangholme.
Councillors agreed to withdraw their 23 November decision to advocate for the Bangholme precinct to be rezoned from green wedge to urban growth in a six-to-five vote on 14 December.
They voted to ask the State Government to only rezone the Keysborough Golf Course land so its owners could relocate and sell the site for redevelopment.
Councillor Matthew Kirwan moved the rescission motion, with Cr Peter Brown indicating opposition.
Cr Kirwan said councillors had only a few hours to make up their minds on the previous motion and they had “mixed up” the golf course and Bangholme precinct.
“I think it was rushed through,” he said.
He said industrial land could surround the Willow Lodge retirement village if the rezoning took place and threaten their tenancies.
Cr Angela Long agreed.
“Willow Lodge should stay in the green wedge,” she said.
Cr Sean O’Reilly said the whole situation was highly hypothetical and “not a good thing for this council to be using its energy for”.
“There is no interest by the State Government to move the urban growth boundary in a substantial way,” he said.
Cr Brown said Cr Kirwan had misled Willow Lodge retirement village residents and that “no one can be forced off that site” because the owner had a lease until 2060.
“Cr Kirwan didn’t tell you that,” he said.
“Cr Kirwan instilled into your hearts and minds unnecessary fear.”
The gallery met Cr Brown’s statements with jeers and boos.
“If you want to tell lies, go outside and tell them – don’t tell them to us,” one man shouted.
Cr John Kelly also spoke against the rescission motion.
“This is the beginning. The consultation would be there if we could just get this off the ground,” he said.
“I’m really disappointed in the way that Cr Kirwan has got your emotions going.”
A member of the gallery shouted: “At least he came down and talked to us, none of you buggers have been. If it wasn’t for Cr Kirwan we wouldn’t be having the truth come out.”
Cr O’Reilly threatened to take the decision behind closed doors as the hundreds-strong gallery became increasingly vocal.
“I don’t come to your place of work and yell at you,” he said.
“We should be afforded a degree of respect, even if we have a different opinion.”
Crs Kirwan, Long, O’Reilly, Sampey, Memeti and Truong voted for the rescission, while Crs Brown, Kelly, Tak, Chea and Blades voted against it.
Cr Long then successfully moved a motion – seven votes to four – that the council advocate for the Bangholme precinct to remain in the green wedge.
She followed up with a motion to support Keysborough Golf Club’s bid to rezone and relocate.
“I think it’s an opportunity too good to miss,” she said.
Cr O’Reilly said the land wasn’t being used to its full potential in its current state.
“The Keysborough Golf Course is not viable as it is,” he said.
The motion received support from nine councillors, with Crs Kirwan and Kelly voting against it.
Cr Peter Brown wrapped up the heated segment with a motion to advocate for a special use zone recognising Willow Lodge.
“The only reason why you’re allowed to stay there is because it’s a pre-existing use,” he said.
“It is a prohibited use.
“There is only one way to protect your long-term interests. That is rezoning.”
The motion passed eight votes to three.