What is Lake Knox?
Lake Knox is a naturalised wetland in the heart of Knox, affectionately named by the many locals who value this large, deep-water body. Acting for the State Government, Development Victoria intends to fill in Lake Knox for a new blank canvas on which to meet stormwater requirements so that they can build medium-density housing developments onsite. The Development Victoria proposal would disturb and destroy the home of endangered species, for the mighty dollar once again.
The best place to see Lake Knox is via the Blind Creek Trail ->
*Please note that there is no public access to the lake as it is on government land.
Selling Off Threatened Habitat
The current proposal will see crucial deep-water habitat for the Blue-billed Duck lost. This duck is listed as endangered in Victoria, and the governments own action statement for the duck recommends ensuring important breeding sites are secured from further environmental degradation, and the protection, enhancement and restoration of key sites in parks, reserves and private land.
The planned wetland area to replace Lake Knox will see the current ecology trashed. The Blue Billed Ducks will not return to the site as they require a deep large body of water for their habitat requirements. The area of the lake will expand, but it will lose 10million litres (or 1/3) of its capacity. The deep water body that it is, will not be recreated, and what you'll end up with is just another “wetland” that will become polluted once further stormwater is directed into it.
Further reading: 11 Key Points in the Case to Save Lake Knox
Planned development areas.
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Crowd-funded Professor Paul Boon Report
This report reviews the ecological values of Lake Knox and the likelihood that the new lake/wetland complex will adequately replace the foregone biodiversity and ecological values if Lake Knox were to be destroyed. Two expert reports now state that the Development Victoria proposal essentially seeks to ‘engineer’ away a problem through off the shelf design options that do not stand up under even limited scrutiny from an ecological/biodiversity/urban design point of view.
We wish to highlight that over 132 people contributed to a crowd funding campaign in order to pay for this report.
Review of proposal to drain Lake Knox & replace it with a constructed stormwater lake/wetland complex: ecological considerations by Professor Paul I Boon, Dodo Environmental, 18 September 2020.
Read more about the communities findings here.
What are we doing about it?
First Friends of Dandenong Creek (FFDC), the Knox Environment Society (KES) and Friends of Lake Knox Sanctuary (FOLKS) have been campaigning for some time but the community are not being listened to, despite having a petition with over 13,000 signatures, having written many submissions and letters to various departments and politicians and engaging in several community "meetings". (See Update August 2020 for more info.)
Development Victoria's proposal will mean effective or functional loss of the well-established, existing aquatic ecosystem, alongside other losses in terrestrial native vegetation and potential habitat. It seeks to replace this vital asset with a relatively conventional complex of stormwater wetlands. Lake Knox currently supports a range of rare and endangered flora and fauna, including the iconic Blue-Billed Duck (endangered in Victoria) and the critically endangered Eel Grass in Knox (considered rare in Melbourne) (see full list below).
Development Victoria remains committed to seeing Lake Knox as an obstacle, unwilling to acknowledge reputable scientific assessments and advice that seeks to find a solution to conserve protect and enhance the life already abundant therein.
While we appreciate the redevelopment amounts to a complex urban infill project, with various considerations to take into account, the proposal does not yet provide a full and proper response to biodiversity and habitat considerations in this northern sector. Consequently, it does not favour a net community benefit and sustainable development.
Based on current legal advice from our lawyer, Dr Bruce Lindsay from Environmental Justice Australia, the proposal does not appear to be responsive to a correct assessment of legal and policy provisions and, as a result, it is not clear that the response proposed in the stormwater wetland complex is viable or optimal or both by Development Victoria. This view is further informed by key uncertainties evident in technical reports on which the proposal appears to rely, but not satisfactorily accounted for. These uncertainties exist alongside the fact of high value biodiversity, including both flora and fauna species, associated with the extant wetland and surrounding land.
That said, when legitimate concerns are being raised over the quality of information presented by Development Victoria, it must be treated with the utmost seriousness. Rightfully the community is not accepting Development Victoria’s position, having relentlessly sought appropriate audience with Development Victoria for the past two years, to no avail.
Photo by Nalini Scarfe
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More about the Ecology of Lake Knox
These species have been observed here:
Endangered - Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)
Endangered - Hardhead Duck (Aythya australis )
Rare - Floodplain Fireweed (Senecio campylocarpus)
Regionally (in Knox):
Critically engangered - Eel Grass (Vallisneria australis)
Critically engangered - Hairy Knotweed (Persicaria subsessilis)
Critically engangered - Small Mudmat (Glossostigma elatinoides)
Endangered - Hop Wattle (Acacia stricta)
Endangered - Tree Everlasting (Ozothamnus ferrugineus)
Endangered - Tasmanian Wallaby grass (Rytidosperma semiannulare)
Endangered - Narrow-leaf Cumbungi (Typha domingensis)
Endangered - Pale Flax-lily (Dianella laevis)
Source: Flora, Fauna and Native Vegetation Assessment 609-619 & 621 Burwood Highway Knoxfield by ECOCENTRIC Environmental Consulting dated 4th August 2017.
For more information on the conservation values of the site, please view the Ecological Assessment by Dr Graeme Lorimer.
Together we can stop this development!
Here are some of the other ways that you can help!
Sign the petition
Sign the Petition on Change. org and share it with your friends on social media and email.
Help spread the word by printing off one of these posters and popping them up:
Join the discussion in the Facebook group - Save lake Knox
Share the petition on change.org to your social media accounts.
Emails and letters
If you are a Knox resident, email your local Councillor, the Mayor and CEO.
Note: Knox Council will ultimately inherit the site, and the Council need to support the community.
Yvonne Allred – Baird Ward Cr.Yvonne.Allred@knox.vic.gov.au
Jude Dwight – Chandler Ward Cr.Jude.Dwight@knox.vic.gov.au
Marcia Timmers-Leitch – Collier Ward Cr.Marcia.Timmers-Leitch@knox.vic.gov.au
Sorina Grasso – Dinsdale Ward Cr.Sorina.Grasso@knox.vic.gov.au
Meagan Baker – Dobson Ward Cr.Meagan.Baker@knox.vic.gov.au
Susan Laukens – Friberg Ward Cr. Susan.Laukens@knox.vic.gov.au
Lisa Cooper – Scott Ward Cr.Lisa.Cooper@knox.vic.gov.au
Darren Pearce – Taylor Ward Cr.Darren.Pearce@knox.vic.gov.au
Nicole Seymour – Tirhatuan Ward Cr.Nicole.Seymour@knox.vic.gov.au
The following state MP's are the local representatives for the community and are aware of the campaign.
Nick Wakeling MP - State Member for Ferntree Gully - email@example.com
Jackson Taylor MP - State Member for Bayswater - Jackson.Taylor@parliament.vic.gov.au
Shaun Leane MP - Eastern Metropolitan - firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to Development Victoria from Dr Bruce Lindsay at Environmental Justice Australia, 22nd June 2020
Letter to Michael Wandmaker, Managing Director at Melbourne Water from FFDC, 27th of July 2020
Letter to Nick Wakeling MP and Jackson Taylor MP from the President of the Knox Environment Society, August 2020
The letter to Dr Kirsten Shelly, General Manager Waterways and Land, Melbourne Water, from the FFDC, September 2020
The letter to Dr Kirsten Shelly from Richard Faragher, KES President, October 2020
Review of proposal to drain Lake Knox & replace it with a constructed stormwater lake/wetland complex: ecological considerations by Professor Paul I Boon, Dodo Environmental, 18 September 2020
The letter to Dr Kirsten Shelly, General Manager Waterways and Land, Melbourne Water, from the FFDC, May 2021
Letters of Support
Rakali Ecological Consulting Letter of Support - Signed by Damien Cook, Senior Ecologist and Director, September 2020
Werribee River Association letter of Support - Signed by John Forrester, October 2020
Port Phillip EcoCentre Letter of Support - Signed by April Seymore, EcoCentre Executive Officer and Neil Blake OAM, Port Phillip Baykeeper, October 2020
Yarra Riverkeeper Association Letter of Support - Signed by Andrew Kelly, October 2020
PeTA Letter of Support - Signed by Laura Weyman-Jones, October 2020
Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc. Letter of Support - Signed by Peter Hylands, President, October 2020
Jane Goodall Institute Australia Letter of Support - Signed by James Forbes, Chief Executive Officer, November 2020
Victorian Greens Letter of Support - Signed by Ellen Sandell, State MP for Melbourne, November 2020
Environment Victoria Letter of Support- Signed by Signed by Dr Nicholas Aberle, Campaigns Manager, December 2020
Darebin Creek Management Committee Letter of Support - Signed by Dr Graeme Hamilton, Executive Officer
Greenpeace Letter of Support - Signed by Nelli Stevenson, Head of Communications, May 2021
Croydon Conservation Society Letter of Support - Signed by Liz Sanzaro, President, May 2021
Yahoo News article - Plan to replace endangered duck breeding site with housing - 20 May 2021.
The Age newspaper - 'We will not be gagged' - December 2019
Herald Sun newspaper - "Friends of Lake Knox Sanctuary rally to protect it", December 30, 2016
Development Victoria website
Lake Knox Development Plans Questioned, Rod Barton MLC
Let the community decide the fate of Lake Knox, Red Barton MLC
A Blue-billed Duck mural by Jimmy Beattie, aka Dvate in Knoxfield 2020.
Photo by Nalini Scarfe
Photo by Nalini Scarfe