Dear Editor,

I have recently raised a number of issues with Hepburn Shire Council in regard to the leasing of the Glenlyon Recreation Reserve to the Daylesford Field and Game Club (DFGC).

My understanding is that the Glenlyon Recreation Reserve is Crown land and that a lease requires the Minister’s prior approval. As the use of the reserve as a shooting range is not a use consistent with the reservation, the provisions of the Crown Lands Reserves Act (1978) indicate that the Minister is required to certify that the use does not cause detriment to users of adjacent reserved land. This is a hurdle it would be difficult for the DFGC to meet.

Any lease the Council has entered into without the approval of the Minister may not be valid (which could cause liability issues for the Council should anyone be injured through the Club’s use of the land). In addition, numerous VCAT decisions have determined that a planning permit is required where the use of parkland is not a use on behalf of the public land manager. These cases suggest that the Daylesford Field and Game Club requires a planning permit for the use of the Reserve.  A planning permit application would allow objections to be lodged and an appeal made to VCAT should the Council grant the permit.

The Council has refused to provide me with a full copy of the current lease and has not yet provided a detailed response to the issues I have raised.

Alison Joseph