Save the MESC Bushland
Mount Eliza Association for Environmental Care (MEAFEC)
Update 20 September 2014
The Mount Eliza community was shocked by the unannounced weekend clearing of the native vegetation at Mount Eliza Secondary College on 25–26 May 2013 by the Mount Eliza soccer club for soccer fields. There are already soccer fields on the school grounds and new soccer facilities are to be built at Emil Madsen Reserve in Mount Eliza by the Shire in the near future. The site was central to an environmental education program within the school at the time, and the clearing caused much upset amongst teachers, students and the local community. The site was known for its large orchid colonies. In addition, there has been a drastic loss of landscape quality on Mount Eliza Way in central Mount Eliza.
MESC is apparently continuing with the plan for five soccer fields to be built by the Mt Eliza soccer club on the school grounds. MEAFEC is opposed to the clearing of native vegetation for the two western soccer fields as we believe the clearing is:
· illegal under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act
· environmentally rapacious
· destructive of a valuable and irreplaceable educational asset.
The bushland was originally open
Manna Gum grassy woodland but had become overgrown with Coast Tea-tree due to
years of neglect, although many of the original species were and still are there. MEAFEC has been encouraging the school for
The disturbed area is regenerating and continues to support
flora protected under the Flora and Fauna
Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) such as Tree Everlasting and Black
MESC is on public land making it subject to the FFG Act. Protected flora removal requires a permit from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). MESC cleared the land in error after having been informed of its illegality under the FFG Act. Following advice from DEPI, MESC has recently accepted that the school is subject to the FFG Act.
We also believe that a permit may be required from the Mornington Peninsula Shire under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 in relation to Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO1) in the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme.
If and when the FFG permit application goes to DEPI as it should under due process, there will be an opportunity for this agency to consider the significant values of the land.
MEAFEC is currently pursuing the matter with the education, planning, and environment ministers.
We have tried to communicate all this to the school community via the School Council. Our current understanding is that our letter to the Council was not read out as we requested, being ‘tabled’ with other documents and that nobody read it at the meeting. Having exhausted other options, we are now communicating with the school community and the Mount Eliza community directly.
MEAFEC hopes the school will not proceed with plans for the two western soccer fields. We wish to help the school by assisting with full restoration of the site.
help save the MESC Bushland?
Abundant regeneration, MESC
Bushland, September 2014 regeneration
Abundant regeneration, MESC Bushland, September 2014 regeneration