Background

Following the release of the Haining Farm Concept Plan by DELWP and Parks Victoria in September 2017, Parks Victoria is now developing detailed design plans for the site.

As part of this phase you will be invited to give feedback on design options for the visitor facilities, woodland buffer and the community activities you would like to see in the new park.

Project Background

During 2016 and 2017, significant community and stakeholder conversations were undertaken by DELWP to determine an appropriate plan for Haining Farm. These conversations focussed on factors including bushfire risk, hydrology and habitat, and were supported by technical investigations by relevant experts. From this process a concept plan was prepared and approved.

The details and outcomes of this first stage of engagement are provided on the ‘Concept Plan’ tab. The planning for the wider area of the Yellingbo Conservation Area is available here.

The project is now at the detailed design stage for the community precincts. Community and stakeholder input into the design of the park is a critical step in creating the best possible park. This will assist in developing future funding bids to implement the full potential of the site.

Through August - September, we will invite you to give us your feedback on the layout and landscaping of the visitor areas, the selection of species in the Woodland Buffer and ideas for community activities and use of the park. Stay tuned for further updates.

Funding announced for bushfire mitigation measures

The Victorian Government has committed $670,000 to implement bushfire mitigation measures at Haining farm, in addition to an ongoing $50,000 per annum maintenance commitment.

The funding will be used to establish a number of measures that will ensure fire risk is minimised to the site, including: a 20-m fuel break around the area boundary; an internal track network to make the site easily accessible to emergency response vehicles; additional water points, and; an open woodland buffer.

The Haining Farm Bushfire Mitigation Measures report provides a detailed account of the mitigation measures that will be utilised at Haining Farm:

Concept plan

Concept Plan Background

After several months of work and significant community engagement led by the Haining Farm Working Group, the final concept plan for Haining farm was released in September 2017.

Thank you to the Haining Farm Working Group for their efforts and time in investigating the options and providing their recommendations, and the broader community for sharing their feedback and helping shape the future use of the site.

The concept plan attempts to balance the importance of conservation to the Victorian community, with the views of the local community and considerations to prevent increased bushfire risk. It was developed based on a combination of the recommendations of the Working Group, an assessment of bushfire risk and the results of extensive community consultation.

Community consultation recorded a significant level of support for the site to be used for conservation purposes and provide habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeater and Lowland Leadbeaters Possum at Haining Farm. To achieve this, the concept plan must include sufficient habitat including wet environments and dense mid-story vegetation as required by these species.

The presence of farm animals, particularly along the northern and southern boundaries, is evidently important to the local community and future uses for these areas that are consistent with these views will be investigated.

The final plan for the site includes open woodland on the northern and eastern boundaries, which is considered essential to prevent an increase in bushfire risk and in response to community concerns additional water sources will be incorporated in these areas. Collaboration with the Country Fire Authority in the detailed design phase will also ensure that the site meets their requirements for bushfire response.

Improved community access, recreation and education opportunities were important to both the local and wider Victorian community and these are integrated in the final concept plan to ensure the site responds to the wishes of Sir John Reid when he donated the land to the Victorian people as an environmental study park.

DELWP received over 2300 submissions during the Haining Farm consultation. View the engagement report and final concept plan for Haining Farm below:

Final Concept Plan for Haining Farm including 42 hectares for conservation, habitat for 168 Helmented Honeyeaters, 75 Lowland Leadbeaters Possums, 17 hectares open woodland grazing and 30 hectares of public/community access with 6km of walking and cycling

The final concept plan for Haining Farm

From the Haining Farm Working Group

At meeting number 12, held on 27 July 2017 it was decided that the Don Valley Community Representatives would prepare a narrative to provide the background to their recommended concept plan, which would be provided to the joint sponsors of the Working Group.

The process behind the Working Group’s recommendations and the associated narrative has involved 13 formal meetings and many informal meetings held by the community members to consider and evaluate the information and reports provided by the various government departments.

The community members of the Working Group considered the importance of farming to the local community, including the connection to seeing cows on site, the perceived bushfire safety provided by open pasture, a petition undertaken by the Yarra Waterways Group and the clear difference of opinion between the views of the local community and the wider Victorian community who preferred the site to be used for conservation purposes.

The concept plan proposed by the community members of the Working Group split the site 50/50 to provide conservation along the waterways and retaining sufficient pasture in the remaining areas to maintain a dairy operation onsite. The values adding concept proposed by concept 2 has also been dropped as part of the groups proposed compromise.

Increased community access is provided for to allow the public to walk through and view the farm animals in pasture areas and threatened species in the areas set aside for conservation. The tracks would also improve access for fire management.

The Working Group community members think the proposal considers the wishes of the donor of the Haining Farm, Sir John Reid, and that the donor should be recognised for his gifting of the farm, and subsequent contribution to the modernisation of the dairy, with a plaque to be placed in a secure, publicly accessible area onsite.

The proposal also provides an opportunity to educate children on farming and conservation and how they can coexist.

Read the full position statement below: