It is with a great sense of relief that I applaud the decision to stop the development at Hanging Rock, however, I cannot escape a lingering sense of déjà vu.
Long-term residents will remember the fight in 1989 to prevent the development of a 45-hectare zoo, brewery, lake and theme park only 2km from Hanging Rock. That time, however, the then council was against the development and it was eventually blocked at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. This time, the council was all for it.
To prevent a 'next time' the East Paddock should be handed to the State Government, as was originally intended by the then council of the Shire of Newham and Woodend. The East Paddock and the Hanging Rock Reserve could then be incorporated into the Macedon Regional State Park. This would ensure the long-term preservation and management of this iconic public asset.