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Macedon Ranges Shire Council rejects Gisborne communications tower

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MACEDON Ranges Shire Council has refused an application for a telecommunication tower at Gisborne, set to be used by the Country Fire Authority and Western Water.

One of the key reasons for the refusal was the removal of native vegetation for the land at 198 Mount Gisborne Road.

The telecommunications facility was proposed to replace a previous pole that had been destroyed in a storm. The original tower failed at the welded base, causing its collapse in July 2019.

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The tower served as communication provider to Western Water and the CFA, and did not provide telecommunications for the general public.

Council deemed the severe environmental impacts overruled its primary functions.

Cr Rob Guthrie moved an alternate motion, highlighting the effects the original motion would have on the shire if council approved the original planning permit application.

The alternate motion stated the original proposal would not only lead to unacceptable environmental impacts given the unique and sensitive landscape and the heavy machinery that would pass on the land to build the structure.

Council believed the applicant did povide sufficient justification for the need of the tower against the risk of potential loss of heritage and artefacts.

The reserve in which the tower was proposed is currently zoned public park and recreation land, but there are plans for it to be rezoned to public conservation and resource, which would be contrary to the tower’s purpose.

Cr Anne Moore said the proposed tower would be ‘replacing something that was put in 34 years ago, with so many different changes, upgrades and improvements recognising landscape and environment [sectors]’.

“I can’t endorse something that is going to have a long-term impact to Gisborne and the reserve in particular,” she said.

Rural land strategy

Also at the March meeting, council endorsed the latest draft of the Rural Land Use Strategy.

The strategy is now ready for the next round of community consultation.

The draft Rural Land Use Strategy updates the rural framework plan and policy directions for rural land.

It takes into consideration the changing nature of rural land use, the strategic and policy context and the unique circumstances associated with Macedon Ranges’ peri-urban location.

Council commenced an In the Farming Zone Strategy in 2017, which underwent expansion in 2019 to include land in the Rural Conservation Zone.

Council’s strategic planning officer-in-charge Edwin Irvine provided information to councillors about the direction of the contemporary policy for the shire’s rural land.

Initial rounds of consultation begun in 2017 when the In The Farming Zone Strategy commenced.

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