The authors of a Community Plan for a Springs Street Reserve heard today that the City of Greater Geelong will not meet local people’s wishes and rezone open land at Springs Street, Clifton Springs.
The authors heard the news at Geelong City Hall, at a meeting arranged by Cllr. John Doull and also attended by Mr. Jeff Wall (CoGG Manager, Corporate Services), Mr. Alan Grant (CoGG Property Advisor) and Mr. Paul Jane (CoGG Manager, Sport/Recreation).
The Community Plan proposes that CoGG rezone the open space in Springs Street, Clifton Springs, from Business to Open Space. Cllr. Doull said that the council didn't want to see the land 'locked up' as Open Space for community use because, according to an internal council estimate, it is worth more than a million dollars. While the whole area can't be developed because a creek runs through it, parts of it certainly could be.
More than 180 local people around Springs Street had said that they'd like the area retained as open space, but Mr. Grant said that local people always say that they'd like open space nearby. He said that the council asked local people for their views on the area when they published the proposal to rezone it for housing.
Mr. Wall said that the council had no plans to do anything with the land 'at present', but the Plan's authors pointed out that the council had created uncertainty about the area's future by proposing recently (in Amendment C194) to rezone the area for housing, contradicting its own Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs.
Mr. Jane said that council policy is to create Open Space where people have none within 400 metres of their front door; and that from this perspective, the presence of the nearby Dell means that the Springs Street area needs no more open space. The Plan's authors pointed out that The Dell is inaccessible to older people, to people with disabilities, to children and to parents with prams and pushchairs.
The Plan's authors thanked Cllr. Doull for arranging the meeting and thanked him and the officers for their time. The original invitation to the meeting had said that Cllrs. Richards and Mitchell would attend, together with Mr. Stephen Griffin, Chief Executive Officer for CoGG. Each sent his apologies for absence.
Background In April and May, DCSCA members and friends developed a Community Plan for a Springs Street Reserve. (See 'Community Plan authors await councillors’ response’ [July 23] elsewhere on this blog.) On June 24, they submitted the Community Plan to local Councillors John Doull and Rod Macdonald, together with Cllr. Andy Richards (Parks and Gardens) and Cllr. John Mitchell (Mayor) and asked for a meeting to discuss the Plan. They received an acknowledgment of receipt ... and nothing else.
Subsequent attempts over seventeen weeks to 'follow-up' by asking Cllrs. Richards and Doull to indicate when the Plan's authors might receive a reply - let alone an invitation to discuss their Plan - have led to nothing, apart from a courteous e-mail from Cllr. Macdonald saying that he believes that communication on the issue should go via the ward Councillor, John Doull.
Four weeks ago, in response to formal questions from the Plan's authors at a Council meeting (September 28), Cllrs. Doull and Richards each said that a meeting between themselves and the authors of the Plan is imminent; and Cllr. Richards said that the open space in Springs Street should be formally rezoned as Open Space.