The Save Tootgarook Swamp group has been pushing for the protection of the 30 hectares since the 1990s.
A number of village applications have been made to develop it. These included an 80-unit retirement village plus a 75-room hotel and recreation centre, a 99-unit development by Watermark Village and a 163-home land lease community by Lifestyle Communities.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has knocked retirement living developments because of environmental restrictions on the site.
Now the Mornington Peninsula Council has announced it will compulsorily acquire the land to end “developer threats” – and they will have to open their wallet wide.
The land was last listed for sale for between $4.3 and $4.7 million – and there is no state or federal funding for the purchase.
If they fail to reach terms with the current owners, the case could again go to VCAT – either way, it’s another victory for community advocacy groups.