Burns Road land investment turns sour

POLICE were called to last night’s Hobsons Bay Council meeting after landholders from Altona’s troubled Burns Road estate disrupted the council meeting.

Tempers flared after the council failed to answer a raft of questions from ratepayers who say they have “dead land”.

SEE: Council fury: Police called, residents ‘disgusted, appalled’

A group of up to 200 landholders, spearheaded by Laverton North business owner Michael Sergi, believe the council has not helped them make something of their investment. The land was zoned residential in 1927 and subdivided into some 550, 600-square-metre lots.

An estate caveat dictates that land under two hectares cannot be developed. However, a real estate agent advertised for sale at least one lot under two hectares, with unsuspecting buyers being unaware they can never build on it.

Mr Sergi said the council had been “stealing rates” and had “failed the people of Altona”.

“In 1997, the council commissioned Ratio planning and development consultants to produce a structure plan for the Burns Road industrial estate,” he said.

“The report recommended a ‘unit trust’ scheme where individual lots would be pooled to form a minimum two hectares for development.

“The report was presented to landowners in July 2004 and promptly shelved. Why has Hobsons Bay not acted on the report of the consultants it has contracted?”

As the Weekly exclusively reported last September, Mr Sergi hopes to form a consortium and build a truck wash on the 40-hectare estate, which was rezoned light industrial in 1954.

To date, he has spent more than $1 million battling the council without progressing his plans.