February Message from Mayor Cr Marcia Timmers-Leitch

A Happy New Year to you and your family. As the newly elected Mayor, I am pleased to bring to you some of the latest news from Knox City Council in each edition.

Knoxfield development refused

Council has refused two planning permit applications for Development Victoria’s land at the corner of Burwood Highway and Scoresby Road (621 Burwood Highway) in Knoxfield.

The proposal was to remove vegetation and the dam (often referred to as Lake Knox), and subdivide the site to create 105 housing lots and establish a wetland. Council’s grounds for refusal included the extensive removal of native vegetation, its impact on a site of biological significance, including the Blue-billed Duck and potential impact on the endangered Dwarf Galaxais fish. Other issues included the appearance of the development from Scoresby Road and the balance of housing and other types of buildings such as shops and offices

Council received more than 1,170 objections, which were carefully considered in the decision.

Activating our shopping centres

A strategy developed in collaboration with our business community will breathe new life into Knox’s main shopping precincts in Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully, Knoxfield, Lysterfield, Rowville, Scoresby, The Basin, Upper Ferntree Gully, Wantirna and Wantirna South.

The Retail Activation Strategy includes about 40 ideas and maps out ways to support local businesses over the next three to five years, with a particular focus on independent retailers.

The last two years weren’t an easy time for Knox traders. COVID-19 took its toll and made it clear how important our shopping villages and retail centres are to their local neighbourhoods. Council has allocated $150,000 over three years to support the strategy.

Public art to transform Ferntree Gully Village

Public art will be installed at key locations in Ferntree Gully Village to restore pride in this once-vibrant centre. The public art, including light box galleries, creative play elements and murals, will brighten this historic community and retail precinct.

Our plan is a direct response to feedback from traders and residents who were concerned about the poor state of the village with significant vandalism, graffiti and empty shops. This plan will help Ferntree Gully Village realise its potential as a tourism destination and gateway to the Dandenong Ranges. The Ferntree Gully Creative Placemaking Plan is being delivered by Council in partnership with the Victorian Government. Council is contributing a $130,000 towards the project and has received $110,000 from the Victorian Government’s Living Local Fund Suburban Grants.

Artists at work

Mural painter Christian Vine is an artist immersed in love of landscape, especially the forests and foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. His new mural in Station Street merges into the greenery around the chestnut tree by the railway crossing. His blending of colours recalls sunlight filtering between trees.

A similar effect, from a different perspective, is achieved by artist Joanne Mott’s lightboxes in Horologist’s Lane where she collages children’s drawings into close-ups of birds and animals in the forest.

For more about Christian Vine’s work see wonderful paintings at artveins.com

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