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Heritage Permit for Toorourrong Reservoir Park

Monday 12 May, 2014

Whittlesea and Kinglake locals are invited to have their say on the re-development plans for Toorourrong Reservoir as part of Parks Victoria’s application for a Heritage Permit to ensure the reservoir and parks history is protected, recorded and shared with visitors.

Parks Victoria North Central District Manager, John Williamson said he welcomed Heritage Victoria’s decision to publically advertise the park’s redevelopment plans as a clear recognition of the communities desire to protect and record the unique history of the picturesque open space.

“Visitors to the park before its closure in 2009 fondly remember sharing food at treed family picnics, observing local wildlife and taking a good walk around the reservoir while enjoying inspiring views of surrounding mountain ranges,” he said.

Mr Williamson said because of the near total destruction of the park’s facilities during the Black Saturday fires, plans are for a new and different looking park that aims to reflect memories of the former park through its design and by providing information signs for visitors to read.

“Toorourrong Reservoir is also an important living example of the water management practices of yesteryear,” Mr Williamson said.

“This history will also be preserved within the information shelters, signs and seating areas which encourage visitors to relax and learn about the park’s history.”

Mr Williamson said park supporters will remember its listing on the Victorian Heritage Register in February 2011. Once on the register, any new works require a permit from Heritage Victoria.

“Advertising the detailed plans and seeking input from the community allows Heritage Victoria to then issue a permit to Parks Victoria to make sure the special place is protected for future generations to understand and enjoy.”

“Interested locals and park visitors were given a glimpse of the park redevelopment concept plans in October 2013 at a highly successful community open day held in the park. About 300 people attended, took tours of the park, viewed plans and spoke to Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and City of Whittlesea staff.”

“Since then Parks Victoria has been working hard to turn the well-received concept master plans into a build ready works program which it hopes to put to tender later in the year.”

 “Building at such a sensitive and unique public space brings special obligations to any developer. For Parks Victoria this has meant meeting a range of statutory obligations for environmental, bush fire, heritage, cultural management and water catchment obligations,” Mr Williamson said.

Plans will be available from Heritage Victoria’s website from Mid May. Once a Heritage Permit is obtained, Parks Victoria will apply to the City of Whittlesea for the planning permits to construct the park.

Our aim is to have the Toorourrong Reservoir Park open in the early part of 2015, Mr Williamson said.

We will keep interested community members informed about the project’s progress here.

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