Yarra Ranges Council says a piece of local land will remain public open space forever, after the council finalised its purchase from VicTrack.
Council first engaged with community members in 2017, and then again earlier this year, to gauge interest in the potential purchase of the land at 13 Green Street in Healesville.
Ryrie Ward Councillor, Fiona McAllister said the purchase will bring relief to the community, six years after VicTrack began the process of selling the space.
“The land at 13 Green Street has been a significant part of the town, going back more than 30 years,” Cr McAllister said.
“Anyone who has been to the market, or wandered down to Coronation Park will have seen people using the land for stalls, picnics or a quiet moment with family and friends
“We had near-unanimous community support to purchase the land in 2017 at the indicated price of $600,000 – but unfortunately when the land was formally valued, it came in much higher than this, making the purchase impossible.
“Thankfully, VicTrack contacted us earlier this year with a revised price of $675,000 – a 50% discount on the current value of $1.35 million.
“We asked community members in March whether they still supported the purchase of the land, using money already set aside for public open space in Ryrie Ward, and people were extremely supportive.
“At community engagement pop-ups in Healesville, every passer-by voiced their support for Council purchasing the land, and people had plenty of ideas about how they’d like to use the space as a community,” she said.
The land deal was settled on Tuesday. A condition of the sale to Council is that the land be kept, in perpetuity, as public open space.
Council will engage with the community in 2024 about potential works or upgrades to the space.