Shire taking a stand against illegal earthworks in Portsea

Published on 10 September 2019

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10 September 2019

Mornington Peninsula Shire is disappointed in illegal earthworks carried out in Portsea without a Planning Permit.

Following an investigation into suspected earthworks on the private land In Portsea (5 and 7 Merrylands Avenue, Portsea – immediately abutting Point King Beach), Mornington Peninsula Shire brought charges in the Magistrates Court for offences under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Illegal works undertaken included: earthworks, vegetation removal (being coastal grasses) and works (being irrigation system). 

The charges ultimately led to W Everton Park Pty Ltd pleading guilty to two charges of breaching the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme.

The Court (Magistrate Lethbridge) imposed a total fine of $10,000 and ordered the company to pay Council $10,000 in legal costs.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor David Gill said Council is satisfied with the decision of the Court. 

“It was extremely disappointing to see these works take place in such a sensitive environment. 

“To conduct these works with complete disregard for Council and the local ecology has left a difficult job to repair. 

“Whilst this circumstance is somewhat unusual (being privately owned land that forms part of the Point King Beach), Council continues to seek to deter the broader community from undertaking any unauthorised works and/or vegetation removal from any area on the Peninsula, particularly sensitive environments such as this” said Councillor Gill.

The affected portion of the land was acquired by Mr Fox and his company in 2013 via the ‘Doctrine of Accretion’. 

The area of land is zoned Public Conservation and Resource Zone, and any application to conduct or carry out works on this land requires a Planning Permit. 

However, within this Zone prior to lodging a Planning Application, any applicant must first obtain the consent of the Secretary of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.  No consent was sought, or applications made.

Councillor Gill continues “Council will now seek effective remediation of this area which may involve further proceedings at VCAT”. 

“I would like to thank the vigilance of our residents who assisted in bringing this matter to our attention, demonstrating our community’s desire to protect the Peninsula’s unique environment,” added Cr Gill.