By Colin MacGillivray
MITCHELL Shire Council has committed to working constructively with Kilmore Racing Club and the broader community after some residents raised objections to a proposed rezoning of land owned by the club.
The club has applied to have land at 15-35 East Street, Kilmore, opposite the racecourse, rezoned from public use to general residential to bring it in line with the land surrounding the site, which is zoned general residential.
A Mitchell Shire Council information sheet on the proposed planning scheme amendment C154 said the land had been owned by Kilmore Racing Club since 1985 and that its current public use zoning was inappropriate as the land is privately owned.
However, some Kilmore residents have argued the land should be retained for public use.
Kilmore and District Residents and Ratepayers Association, KADRRA, president Vyvienne Whitehurst said she believed the land had been gifted to racecourse trustees by the now-defunct Shire of Kilmore in the 1980s on the proviso the land remained public use.
She said she believed the land was subsequently gifted to the racing club by the trustees.
“This is contrary to the ‘intent’ of the Shire of Kilmore’s conditions and, we believe contrary to local government law,” she said.
The land has been used by the club as overflow parking at times, but has remained undeveloped.
KADRRA member Anne Rose said she would like to see the land retained for public use.
“This block of land is a precious public asset that should be developed by the shire for continual use by Kilmore residents,” she said.
“In this part of Kilmore there is no pocket park or playground. The Kilmore Bowling Club is planned to be moved so it could be placed there. No other land has been allocated to the Kilmore Bowling Club.”
Mitchell Shire Council chief executive Brett Luxford said both the racing club and the community would be able to provide input on the proposed planning scheme amendment.
“Amendment C154 was placed on public exhibition between June and July and received multiple submissions raising concerns to the proposed rezoning,” he said.
“These submissions are still under active consideration by council and a report will be considered at a future council meeting around how to proceed with the planning scheme amendment process.”
Mr Luxford said council had the option to refer the amendment to an independent planning panel for consideration.
“This would involve a public hearing and is an opportunity for the applicant and submitters to present their views to an independent planning expert,” he said.
“The panel will provide a report outlining its findings after the hearing which will become a public document.”
Kilmore Racing Club chief executive Ben Murphy said the club was working with council on the matter and had followed the correct procedures.
“Kilmore Racing Club is working through the rezoning process as outlined by Mitchell Shire for land owned by Kilmore Racing Club,” he said.
“We will continue to work proactively with Mitchell Shire on ensuring that any concerns that the council or community may have with regards to the rezoning are addressed.”
A final decision on amendment C154 is not expected to be made by council until early-to-mid-2022.