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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Public Meeting 3 March 2010

'Traffic and transport in our community: what would a bypass mean for Drysdale & Clifton Springs?'
This was the topic of DCSCA's latest Public Meeting, which was at 7.00 p.m. on March 3 at Springdale Neighbourhood Centre, Drysdale High Street.

Over forty local residents and business people attended the meeting. They heard that a bypass around the town is unlikely in the near future. Mr. Robert Scott, Planning Team Leader at Vic Roads told the meeting that while the proposed bypass was a good idea, the likely cost - $50 - 70 million - and the relatively low current traffic flow meant that Vic Roads didn't regard it as a priority. Nonetheless, Vic Roads has spent $4 - 5 million buying land to create a 'corridor' along the route of the bypass and will acquire more land as it becomes available. Vic Roads can't buy more land until it becomes available, which is why the bypass is taking so long to be established.

The meeting then heard Mr. Paul Westcott, Convenor of the Geelong branch of the Public Transport Users Association. He said that in Victoria, a major impediment to the development of public transport is that there is no unitary body in charge of public transport, equivalent to Vic Roads, which develops and runs roads. As a result, no 'corridors' are being set aside for public transport development equivalent to, for example, the 'corridor' being created by Vic Roads for a Drysdale bypass.

The final speaker was Mr. Phil Baulch, of the Geelong Sustainability Group. He forecast steep rises in oil prices as reserves become unprofitable to mine. Cars will be increasingly expensive to run and rising transportation costs will increase prices across the board. Mr. Baulch said that many local communities are responding to these circumstances by becoming 'transition towns', living in new ways that lower their energy costs and their carbon emissions. There are two 'transition towns' nearby. One is Transition South Barwon, the other is Transition Neighbourhood Bell, which represents the residents of Bell Park and Bell Post Hill - two of the most diverse and multicultural suburbs in the Geelong region.

People at the meeting were interested in the speakers' three very different perspectives on traffic and transport in our community. In a snap poll after the meeting, a clear majority of those voting wanted a bypass, but there was also strong support for better public transport.

(DCSCA invited Mr. David Hannah, Manager of the City of Greater Geelong's Engineering Services division, to speak at the meeting, but he had a prior commitment. He said that he would be happy to discuss with DCSCA any issues that emerged at the meeting.)

For more about Vic Roads:

For more about the Geelong branch of the Public Transport Users Association:

For more about the Geelong Sustainability Group:

For more about Transition Neighbourhood Bell:

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