Privately, La Trobe University, the current owners of the Strathallan Open Space, have announced that they will be seeking to rezone the land so that it can then be sold to a developer for re-development. As part of this strategy, their tenant, the Strathallan Golf Club whose course occupies a large part of the open space, have been told by the university that their lease will not be renewed or extended beyond the current expiry of January 2019.
Once the open space is lost it is gone forever. The land in question is the largest remaining open space area in the City of Darebin and one of the few remaining examples in the metropolitan area of a Wooded Grassland environment. It is dominated by many significant River Red Gums that provide ideal habitat for a myriad of parrots, owls, cockatoos, ducks and other bird species including the critically endangered Swift parrot and the land is a free range area for a number of animals such as kangaroos, echidna, hares, etc
La Trobe’s ambitions are contrary to the 1991 recommendations of an Independent Review Panel, established by the government of the time, that the land would be zoned as open space (PPRZ). These recommendations that were subsequently implemented by the government were based on the following –
The Panel also stated that it favoured development on the Strathallan site but only on that area to the west of the existing golf course that is now known as the Gresswell Grange and Lancaster Gate estates.
The SSOSCC and the broader local community consider that the Strathallan Open Space land incorporating the public golf course and walking path has developed into an enduring community recreational/social/environmental reserve and acts as a buffer to the adjacent Gresswell Native Habitat Link. The land has been appropriately managed for the past 60 years (by the Club) in an environmentally sensitive manner.
As such the Strathallan Open Space is a very valuable enduring community asset.