Is Lyndoch Living stitching up a deal for Scoborio Reserve?

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Part of the Scoborio Reserve public land that fronts the Hopkins River and sits next to Lyndoch.

Carol Altmann – The Terrier

My team of trusty terriers tell me Lyndoch Living is stitching up a deal with the Warrnambool City Council to take over a piece of prime public land: the Scoborio Reserve on the Hopkins River.

Scoborio Reserve sits off Hopkins-Otway Road between Lyndoch and Proudfoot’s Boathouse, part of the Peek Whurrong lands, and covers almost 3 ha of prime waterfront real estate.

This is public space.

As we know, Lyndoch Living is in the throes of rolling out a $100 million masterplan over the next eight years, but there has been no mention publicly – so far – of Scoborio Reserve being a part of the mega expansion.

The elected councillors have also not had any recent briefings about the proposal.

Despite this, I have now had three good sources tell me that, behind the scenes, discussions between Lyndoch Living, the WCC officers and Mayor Herbert are well advanced and that a formal proposal is being put together.

Cr Sue Cassidy is on the Lyndoch board, so I can only assume that she would also be well across any Lyndoch plans to expand into public space.

The council’s City Growth Manager Andrew Paton is also on the Lyndoch board.

The official line from the council today is that “council has not received any formal request from Lyndoch Living in relation to acquiring any part of Scoborio Reserve”.

Read that sentence very carefully.

“Any formal request” does not rule it out. It just means that it is not in writing, yet.

In fact what happens these days with so many council decisions is that deals are all stitched up behind closed doors and we, the public, are left to play catch up.

Instead of being included in the process from the start, we are left to fight it at the end.

There are six things that make me think this Lyndoch deal is real:

the sudden desire by the WCC to formally name the unnamed road that services the Scoborio Reserve. This could be a coincidence, of course;

the council also saying it received a suggestion (from who?) that the road be named after George Rolfe, who once owned the Lyndoch land;

suggestions that Lyndoch has been interested in building a childcare centre next door to the aged care home;

that this centre would be run by a private operator;

Cr Herbert’s belief that the council should not be in the business of running childcare centres and they should be privatised;

that the council is now in the business of trying to sell off public spaces: just ask the good people of Swan St, who this year had to put up a fight to save their patch of green space.

 

The word “public” is fast losing its meaning in Warrnambool.

This is public land. It is a reserve. It should not be for sale, “gifted”, or given away for virtually nothing.

We are watching.

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9 thoughts on “Is Lyndoch Living stitching up a deal for Scoborio Reserve?”

  1. For years I have driven past Scorbio park and have hated it for ever, I know hate is a strong word but don’t see anything nice about this area, it is really sinister area. Will be so glad to see it turned into whatever. Sheeoaks are awful. 😱

    1. Thanks for your comment Kathy, but I have to say that I love the naturalness of it, with actual native trees that have been in that area forever. So many other parts of Warrnambool are now so manicured that I just love this bit of untouched bush. Putting yet more buildings anywhere near it would be just horrible.

  2. Love this piece of land that was once our botanic gardens, it is great to walk through, peaceful and (almost) untamed. Not an eyesore at all, just not neat and pristine like most of our lifeless spaces. This is alive.

  3. Best case would be for the council to keep it as public land. Worst case, put the land on the ‘open’ market to ensure the public receives the highest price. Make Lyndoch pay for it. Not sure of the size of it but it’s probably a $2-3 million piece of land if not more. Keep an eye out for another WCC / Midfield type deal. I bet there is maneuvering to have the council give the land to Lyndoch.

    This also reeks of impropriety. I would hope Paton and Cassidy have their hands off this when undertaking their council duties. I’m sure IBAC would also be interested to know what’s happening. And whilst on the subject, it would be interesting to see what conflicts all Councillors and managers of council have. I bet their tentacles are everywhere.

    The terrier is right to be concerned. The land itself could have better use. But let’s ensure the public owners of it are not ripped off and have a say in it. A $2-3 million sale would do a lot of good for this city. Better still, leave it alone.

    Side note. Apparently the Lyndoch ceo is chair of a local health organisation. Somehow that organisation is now renting a facility at Lyndoch. I wonder what type of rental deal was done and at whose expense. Would be worth exploring this one as well. You’ll probably find more tentacles of WCC there.

  4. The naturalness of Scoborio Reserve is so important to our city. I love the bird life there.
    It’s unfortunate that some people see vacant land as an opportunity to build. We need to keep the balance.

  5. I live a block away from Lyndoch and parking has been a long standing problem
    The reserve is already being used as an informal car park for staff
    The new development has probably got some parking spaces but not enough for the future needs
    I love the reserve and would hate to see it go
    WCC is notorious for the backroom deals
    Look at all the done deals re Midfeld the community concerns were completely dismissed and plans approved regardless od community sentiment
    The reserve is used by walkers going around the beach walks as well as a haven for wildlife

  6. When I heard about Lyndoch’s plan to acquire Wmbl med centre and build it where Tomlinson centre is, i knew they would need scoborio reserve. Where else will they get the required parking? I didnt pick a child care centre though. What a business plan. Breed them, raise them, house them in later life. All they need is to put a funeral parlour in too and they have life and death customers….

    1. Only be life customers if they can provide the required services at at an acceptable standard and cost .
      (Edited)

  7. Has anyone given a thought to the wildlife that make the Reserve their home and the buffer it provides for transient wallabies, possums and koalas (often sported in Lyndoch grounds) who have been displaced due to clearing and developing if every useable inch of green space around the city of WARRNAMBOOL.? Does anyone understand/support the imperative need for green spaces and corridors for both human and wildlife survival? Certainly not many on Warrni Council it seems. Wake up! Stay alert! Grow some and start being a bit more pro-active about protecting what we have. Thankyou Carol for keeping us posted.

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