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Friday, November 12, 2010

DCSCA meets Cllr. Rod Macdonald (4)

On 5 November, DCSCA Committee members met Councillor Rod Macdonald in Drysdale. This was the fourth of a series of quarterly meetings that DCSCA has initiated with the two Councillors whose wards coincide with DCSCA's area - the other is Councillor John Doull, with whom we will have our fourth quarterly meeting on 12 November.

First, we said that we had still not received a reply from Mr. Paul Jamieson (CoGG's Manager of Community Development) to DCSCA's letter to him in January about CoGG proposals for Drysdale Town Centre. Cllr. Macdonald had said at our quarterly meetings with him in May and in August that that he would raise this with Paul Jamieson, but he hasn't had a reply; so he'll contact Paul Jamieson again. We emphasised that our letter presents significant local concerns about the proposal, which is why we are calling so persistently for a reply; and that we want to see this issue resolved before there is any movement towards a next phase of the proposed development.

On the broader topic of community consultation, we asked Cllr. Macdonald whether he knew of any progress in CoGG's internal review of its consultation policies, but he didn't.

Then we asked about progress on the proposed sports centre in Andersons Road, Drysdale. Cllr. Macdonald said that CoGG has allocated money in its 2010/11 budget to create a more detailed proposal. CoGG has applied to the state government for a $2m contribution towards the cost of creating Stage 1 of the sports centre and is hoping for decision before the state election on November 27. If the application fails, CoGG will try to get the money from various other sources, including sporting bodies and organisations promoting social inclusion.

Next, we raised our continuing concern that the proposal to upgrade facilities at Lake Lorne in Drysdale, including building a walking track around it has stalled. (DCSCA initiated this proposal in 2007.) No money is allocated to it in the council's 2010/2011 budget and it looks like no work will be possible until July 2011 at the earliest.* We asked if there is anything that DCSCA can do to restart the project; Cllr. Macdonald said that he would investigate the current state of play and report back to us.

Onto a fairly simple topic: how do we get the 'welcome/what's on' signs at the entrances to Drysdale & Clifton Springs that most other Bellarine towns have? Cllr. Macdonald said that he would explore the process and report back to us.

Our last topic was increasing local economic development and employment. We started by referring to several stories in the local press recently about the CoGG's recent decision to re-rate small Bed & Breakfast establishments from 'Residential' to 'Business', leading people who offer B&B in their home to say that the significant increase in their rates will cause them to close down. We asked Cllr. Macdonald whether CoGG has evaluated the economic effects (let alone the social effects) of this policy; and how it fits with CoGG's economic strategy of promoting the Bellarine as a tourist destination. Cllr. Macdonald said that revaluing property is a state government requirement and that CoGG performed it on behalf of the state government; that the level of rates on a property is a percentage of that property's value; and that people can appeal against their rates in CoGG's annual review of rates between January and March.

We then talked more broadly about how the council could promote new businesses in the area. We suggested that DCSCA's Festival of Glass (20 February 2011) would be a perfect occasion on which CoGG could announce new support for small art and craft business on the Bellarine (e.g. business advice, assistance to explore new markets, rates relief). Cllr. Macdonald suggested that we approach Geelong Chamber of Commerce for advice and said that he would contact the CEO of the Chamber to alert her to our interest.

Finally, we brought Cllr. Macdonald up to date with recent DCSCA actions. First, work continues on our two 'arts' projects - the Festival of Glass and From Streetscape to Artscape - and we hope that we will hear in November whether our applications to CoGG for funds for each project have been successful. Second, DCSCA is developing a comprehensive proposal for a local Open Spaces Network. Each piece of open space in the network will have a 'Friends of …' group and will be linked to the others by walking/cycling tracks. DCSCA will launch the proposal formally at DCSCA's next Public Meeting:
'Forming "Friends of ..." groups in our community'
December 1 at 7.00 p.m. at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre in Drysdale High Street.
Speakers from the Bellarine Catchment Network, Bellarine Landcare, the City of Greater Geelong and the Department of Sustainability & Environment.

DCSCA's next quarterly meeting with Cllr. Macdonald
will be on Friday 4 February 2011 @ 10.00 a.m. @ 'Zoo', Drysdale High Street.

Would you like us to discuss any issues with Cllr. Macdonald at that meeting? If so, please leave a comment below, e-mail DCSCA ( or write to DCSCA at P.O. Box 581, Drysdale 3222.

* For more information on this issue, see 'DCSCA meets Cllr. Rod Macdonald (3)' elsewhere on this blog.

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