The Merrimu Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) is being prepared by the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) in conjunction with Moorabool Shire Council. The area will support a proposed 7,200 lot residential precinct near Bacchus Marsh, north-west of Melbourne. Ecology and Heritage Partners is assisting a major landholder/developer with extensive cultural and natural heritage services, and collaborating with the VPA regarding the development of the PSP.
During this early planning stage, our cultural heritage team is working with the landholder/developer and Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) to conduct preliminary Aboriginal and historic heritage assessments and extensive site testing. This formal survey process identified a number of Aboriginal historical sites that require the preparation of complex Cultural Heritage Management Plans (CHMPs).
Early engagement with our heritage advisors and the RAPS during the planning stage has been highly beneficial to reducing costs and timelines for the project. Avoidance and mitigation strategies for culturally sensitive areas are able to be considered whilst the design is still fluid.
Our natural heritage team has also worked with the landholder/developer. In collaboration with the VPA, background technical ecological reports have been prepared to inform the development of the PSP documents and Native Vegetation Precinct Plan (NVPP). In addition, advice on approvals pathways has been provided to respond to state and Commonwealth legislative requirements such as an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act) referral and requirements under the Victorian Environmental Effects Act 1978.Key services for this project include: