On 4 February, DCSCA Committee members met Councillor Rod Macdonald in Drysdale. This was the fifth of a series of quarterly meetings that DCSCA has initiated with the two City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) Councillors whose wards coincide with DCSCA's area - the other is Councillor John Doull*.
First, we said yet again that we have still not received a reply from Mr. Paul Jamieson (CoGG's Manager of Community Development) to DCSCA's letter to him in January 2010 about CoGG proposals for Drysdale Town Centre. Cllr. Macdonald has said at three previous quarterly meetings (May, August and November 2010) that he would raise this with Paul Jamieson, but nothing has happened. Cllr. Macdonald then said that CoGG's proposals for Drysdale town centre are only a starting point for discussions at some indeterminate time in the future, when there will be plenty of opportunity for local people to put their views.
Those proposals include developing the existing Drysdale library. Cllr. Macdonald said that state government money had been committed to this project, which will now proceed. We asked Cllr Macdonald whether the new state government had started to implement its pre-election promise to produce local Statements of Planning Policy for four areas in Victoria - one of which is the Bellarine Peninsula. He had seen no sign of this initiative.
This led us to ask what are CoGG's priorities for the Drysdale/Clifton Springs area and he said that CoGG will decide its priorities at a special meeting before it announces its Budget for the 2011/12 financial year.
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. A similar exchange happened at our last quarterly meeting with him on 5 November 2010.
Second, we asked Cllr. Macdonald whether anything had happened since our last 1/4ly meeting with him about providing 'welcome/what's on' signs at entrances to our towns. He said that they could be provided through his Councillor Community Grants fund and asked us to contact CoGG's Engineering Services division.
Next, there was a brief discussion about the Lake Lorne Masterplan and the Masterplan for the proposed regional sports/recreation hub (at the junction of Andersons Road and Grubb Road in Drysdale), each of which is being exhibited for public comment. We said that CoGG's consultation process around the Lake Lorne Masterplan had been excellent (but SO slow!) and that we hope that consultation around the sports/recreation Masterplan would be as good. Funding for the sports/recreation hub is in question, as the current State government has made no commitments for Drysdale, and the various grant programs that they may implement are yet to be announced.
Finally, we returned to the issue of local economic development. DCSCA has long expressed its concern that while there are detailed plans to expand the local population considerably, there are no equivalent plans to provide diverse jobs for all the newcomers. DCSCA has tried for some time to meet CoGG's Economic Development Unit to discuss this issue and at our last meeting, Cllr. Macdonald had said that he would ask the Unit to talk to us about our concerns. This didn't happen and Cllr. Macdonald said that he would again ask the Unit to contact us.
We said that the forthcoming Festival of Glass would be an ideal occasion on which CoGG could announce new support (e.g. business advice, mentoring, networking) for small art and craft business on the Bellarine; Cllr. Macdonald posed a counter-suggestion - that we invite the Engineering Cluster of the Geelong Manufacturing Council to have a stall at the Festival of Glass.
DCSCA's next quarterly meeting with Cllr. Macdonald will be on Friday 6 May 2011. Any residents of the Drysdale/Clifton Springs area are welcome to ask DCSCA to raise any issue of concern with Cllr. Macdonald.
* Our previous quarterly meeting with Cllr. Doull was meant to happen on 12 November 2010, but he didn't appear. Subsequently, Cllr. Doull has asked DCSCA if he could renew our quarterly meetings and we've agreed.