Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar made the offer in a letter to Council today.
Council members recently voted in favour of retaining the Strathallan Golf Course site as public open space and requested a valuation of the land as well as information on options and costs for placing a caveat or covenant on the land to prevent development, or for compulsorily acquiring the land.
The University owns the 18-hectare site, which is located north of its Melbourne campus in Bundoora and is leased to the Strathallan Golf Club until January 2019. The University had started the process of determining the next long-term use for the land once the lease expires and the land ceases to be a golf course.
Professor Dewar said compulsory land acquisition could be a lengthy and complex process, so was prepared to fast-track the process by negotiating a private treaty sale with an interested buyer.
“I believe that La Trobe University and the City of Darebin can agree on a mutually beneficial resolution to this matter by negotiating a private treaty for the sale of the Strathallan Golf Course land based on a valuation by Victoria’s Valuer-General,” Professor Dewar said.
“Such an agreement could enable Council to retain open space for the community and at the same time support the University’s desire to release the landholdings so we can focus on our core educational activities. A private treaty sale would also avoid unnecessary and time-consuming planning scheme amendments and compulsory acquisition processes.
“There are a number of matters that would need to be resolved to facilitate a fair and reasonable private treaty sale, but where there’s a will, there is always a way.
“I am happy to work with the local Council to deliver on what they are seeking – to purchase this piece of land,” he said.
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