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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hitching a ride on an electric car trial

DCSCA is exploring how Drysdale & Clifton Springs can make use best use of the Victorian Government's five-year Electric Vehicle Trial, which is due to start later this year.

The trial aims to understand how Victoria can best make the transition to electric vehicle technologies. It will include around 60 passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and two-wheelers (such as motorbikes), rotating between different households and fleets. It will include 76 companies, such as providers of electric vehicles and infrastructure, electricity retailers and fleet operators.

Later this year, the Victorian Department of Transport and the RACV will select 180 households from those interested in taking part in the trial. Each household will receive an electric car for three months. Households will pay for their own electricity during the trial (but will find it's cheaper than filling up with petrol), and will record data about their experience.

DCSCA's interest in the electric car trial's potential for the Bellarine accompanies its suggestion that the proposed trial of an electric car service for Geelong should include Clifton Springs; and its bid for a Green Zone Drive event - highlighting low emission vehicles - for the Bellarine. Each of these events could be a foundation for a post-carbon economy and DSCSCA is keen for the Bellarine to be seen as a 'case study' or 'demonstration project' of such an economy. (See related postings on this blog: 'Bellarine electric cars' 6 August 2010; 'Councillor carries locals' hopes to Tokyo' 27 September 2010; 'A "Green Zone" event for the Bellarine?' 28 September 2010.)

The electric vehicle trial will help to raise public understanding and acceptance of electric vehicles and will address the barriers to their adoption. It will collect information on the growing market for electric vehicles in Victoria, on electric vehicles' performance and efficiency and on their implications for electricity demand and for gas emissions.

Other countries - including the UK, Canada, the USA and Portugal - are holding trials of electric vehicles. The Victorian trial will examine how different technologies, approaches and providers work together; and will involve several types of vehicles, several charging infrastructure providers and several electricity companies, reflecting the variety of providers and approaches that are likely to develop in the market.

A combination of manufacturers' data and desktop analysis shows that electric vehicles powered by Victorian-produced coal-fired electricity produce slightly more greenhouse gas emissions than comparable petrol vehicles. However, electric vehicles have no exhaust emissions, thus improving air quality in areas of heavy traffic.

For more information, go to 'Projects' at

A 'Green Zone' event for the Bellarine?

DCSCA has asked the organisers of a test-drive of low emissions vehicles (LACs) in Melbourne next month to consider holding an equivalent event in Geelong and Clifton Springs.

The Melbourne Green Zone Drive - a collaboration between Victoria's Environmental Protection Agency and the RACV - gives drivers the chance to test drive low emission vehicles (LEVs) from Audi, BMW, Citroen, Ford, Hyundai, Mini, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volvo. (The illustration accompanying this post is the Green Zone logo.)

The drive along a predetermined route through Docklands lasts only a few minutes, but is long enough to demonstrate the everyday performance of LEVs. Test-drivers will be accompanied by a representative of the presenting car company who will describe the vehicle's environmental friendliness of the vehicle and explain the company's approach to sustainability.

DCSCA's proposal for an equivalent event in Geelong and Clifton Springs follows its suggestion that a proposed trial in Geelong of the Better Place electric car system should include Clifton Springs. (See 'Bellarine electric cars' on this blog, August 6 2010.)

The Green Zone Drive accompanies The Green Zone Expo, which explains current and near-future low emission technology in simple terms and displays some innovative vehicles. It will be based outside the Fox Classic Car collection on the corner of Collins Street and Batman's Hill Drive.

Green Zone Drive runs between Saturday 2 October and Friday 8 October, from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. For more information:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Councillor carries locals' hopes to Tokyo

Clifton Springs- based members and friends of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) will watch with particular interest this week as City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) Councillor John Doull visits the Better Place electric car trial in Tokyo.

Before his departure last week for Japan, Cllr. Doull said on the CoGG website that he had received, 'significant positive feedback from my local community on the electric vehicles project'. DCSCA has provided a significant element of that feedback. When his visit to Japan was announced, DCSCA wrote to Cllr. Doull asking for Clifton Springs to be included in any trial in Geelong of the Better Place electric car system and told Better Place directly that we'd made the request (Bellarine Times, 17 August 2010, p1). Subsequently, DCSCA has maintained our link with Better Place. (See 'Bellarine electric cars' on this blog, August 6 2010.)

Last year, we read with interest Cllr. Doull's report of his visit to the Copenhagen summit on climate change and we expect his report on his visit to Japan to be just as interesting. Bon voyage, Councillor!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jobs and Wealth in our Community

There are lots of plans for the population of Drysdale & Clifton Springs to grow, but without equal planning for the economic growth of the towns, they are likely to grow into 'dormitory towns' for Geelong and Melbourne.

Drysdale & Clifton Springs form a designated 'growth area' on the Bellarine Peninsula. This means that their population will increase significantly over the next few years - starting with the 1,500 houses in Stage 1 of the Jetty Road development. This will change the town's character. Not least, it will mean that more and more local people will have to commute to Geelong or Melbourne. Why? Because while there are lots of plans to increase the population, there are no plans to provide them with jobs when they move here.

In the absence of any plans to grow the local economy, commuters from Drysdale & Clifton Springs will be forced to create wealth elsewhere - wealth that won't be invested in Drysdale & Clifton Springs. No new investment means no new local jobs and firms ... so more commuting!

At present, public transport on the Bellarine is so poor that there is little alternative but to commute by car. Not only is individual commuting an inefficient form of transport, it is a significant source of greenhouse gases, including Carbon Dioxide. Without an economic plan for the area, an increasing population will inevitably lead to increased commuting and increased greenhouse gases.

Jobs and wealth in our Community: growing the local economy in Drysdale & Clifton Springs
Wednesday 22 September 7.00 p.m. Springdale Neighbourhood Centre, Drysdale High Street.
This is the latest Public Meeting organised by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) and it will incorporate DCSCA's Annual General Meeting. Hear speakers from local businesses and business associations talk about the state of the local economy and its prospects for growth and Have Your Say.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bellarine associations meet senior council managers

On 9 September, senior managers from the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG), led by Chief Executive Stephen Griffin, met representatives of the Affiliation of Bellarine Community Associations ABCA) for a second time. ABCA had arranged the first meeting on June 18 and Stephen Griffin initiated this follow-up.

The second meeting consolidated the work of the first around four issues:
1. Communication with CoGG on Bellarine-wide issues. ABCA people had asked in the first meeting for a liaison person within CoGG with whom to raise Bellarine-wide issues. In this second meeting, it was agreed that Stephen Griffin's office would be ABCA's first point of contact for operational issues; and that the ABCA will convene a meeting with the four councillors representing the Bellarine to discuss Bellarine-wide policy issues.
2. CoGG consultation policy. CoGG is reviewing its approach to consultation, drawing on the work of the International Association for Public Participation (IAPP). ABCA people had emphasized in the first meeting that CoGG's current policy includes no benchmarks of excellence or audit mechanisms to see if they're met; and highlighted a similar lack in the IAPP material.
3. Long-term plans for the Bellarine. In the first meeting, Stephen Griffin had described the ABCA as the peak body for community issues on the Bellarine and that ABCA would be invited to be part of CoGG's 2011 mid-term review of the Bellarine Strategic Plan.
In this meeting he said that the G21 Regional Land Use Plan (G21RLUP) will govern where, when and how development will occur in the G21 region(including the Bellarine Peninsula); and that the authors of the G21 Regional Land Use Plan will draw on the Bellarine Strategic Plan and other strategic and structure plans.
It was agreed that the 2011 mid term review of the Bellarine Strategic Plan could take place as part of the G21RLUP process and that the ABCA should a) liaise with equivalent regional organisations elsewhere in the G21 region to foster 'community ownership' of the Plan; b) hold a regional forum to discuss the Plan's draft proposals when they are released in late 2011 or early 2012.
4. Infrastructure on the Bellarine. The ABCA has developed a comprehensive plan for upgrading regional infrastructure. It was agreed that ABCA should submit its plan to the Project Steering Group of the G21 Regional Land Use Plan and should request involvement in the G21RLUP process.

It's fourteen weeks now, Councillors!

Fourteen weeks after asking local Councillors for a meeting to discuss a Community Plan for the open space near Springs Street, the Plan's authors still have no reply.

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 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.

At a Council meeting on September 28, Cllrs. Doull and Richards each said that a meeting between themselves and the authors of the Community Plan is imminent; and Cllr. Richards said that the open space in Springs Street should be formally rezoned as Open Space.

Watch this (open) space!