Fears that the Scotchmans Creek Trail at Mount Waverley could be blocked by a property development have been put to rest.
Strong legal protections will ensure that the important bike and walking trail will have permanent access along the creek near Waverley Road.
Concerns emerged recently when a parcel of privately owned land that straddles both sides of the creek, and is a corridor for the trail, was placed on sale.
Due to earlier lack of foresight and proper planning, the land abutting the creek was never moved into public ownership.
When a nursing home was built on part of the land, special arrangements had to be made to enable a connection for the trail.
Doubt was thrown on to these arrangements when the ‘For Sale’ signs went up and Bicycle Network received reports that representatives of the vendors had told potential purchasers that the existing trail was part of the title and would transfer to any new owner.
However the trail access through the site is protected by what is known as an S.173 agreement registered on the title, effectively a legal contract that guarantees ongoing access.
Furthermore, the City of Monash has ensured that any sale of the site is dependent on a subdivision of the land being approved.
Any subdivision will include a requirement for an easement to be created over the bike path.
That double-barrelled legal barrier should give riders assurance that this attractive and valuable route will be retired well into the future.
As an additional argument, the trail at this location has also been added to Melbourne’s Strategic Cycling Corridor map, meaning it will have an important role in the metropolitan bike transport network as it develops in future years.
The council has also undertaken that any future redevelopment of the site will seek to mitigate any potential risk of vehicle-cycle conflict at Betty Court.
Given the awkward access to the site, and the numerous complexities associated with its creekside location, including easements for drainage and sewerage, and various flooding and wetland controls, development may not be economically attractive.
This means that the land may now be able to be acquired for public use.
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