YARRIAMBIACK Shire councillors have rejected a Heritage Council of Victoria proposal to register Lake Marma Reserve at Murtoa.
Councillors unanimously voted against supporting the proposal at their monthly meeting on Wednesday.
Mayor Kylie Zanker said council wanted more clarity about what would become heritage listed before it would support the proposal.
She described the heritage council's report as open-ended.
The report stated Lake Marma Reserve satisfied criterion A, importance to the course or pattern of Victoria's cultural history; criterion E, importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics; and criterion H, special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria's history.
It stated the reserve was historically significant for its mass planting of sugar gums one of the earliest known examples of a mass planting of Australian native trees in a public park in Victoria; its aesthetic landscape and linear regular planting of sugar gums; and its association with the first State Government botanist, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller.
The report also noted the reserve's 1920 First World War memorial arch and gate, 1907 band rotunda and 1895 Sprott Fountain in the reserve.
Cr Ray Kingston said he was unhappy with the heritage council's process to inform residents about the proposal.
He said the heritage council advertised the proposal and asked for community feedback in the Herald Sun in late January.
"Essentially it was up to the community to find out from that point,'' he said. "They didn't have a massive go by any stretch of the imagination.''
Cr Kingston said the three criteria could be interpreted broadly.
“If you interpret it generously, virtually any waterway could be heritage-listed,’’ he said. “You could have a nightmarish-sized situation.”
Cr Kingston said the sugar gums could fit criterion A but other sections such as the rotunda were subjective.
He said criterion E was also too open-ended.
“I think the trees in my backyard are aesthetically pleasing but I’m not going to have them heritage listed,” he said.
“We could list anything.”
Cr Kingston questioned listing the reserve because of its link to Baron Ferdinand von Mueller.
“It’s not exactly the birthplace of Mary McKillop,” he said.
“I don’t think the Murtoa community is lining up to change Lake Marma to the Ferdinand von Mueller Lake.
“My concern is that Heritage Victoria says ‘it kind of ﬁts the description, let’s bang it in’.
“Does it really need to be protected at a state level or is our overlay enough?”
Cr Kingston said the Heritage Council needed to do more research and talk to the Lake Marma management committee.
He said the committee was not ‘anti-heritage’ but needed to be considered.
Council agreed to write to the Heritage Council with its concerns.