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Thursday, August 11, 2011

DCSCA meets Cr. Rod Macdonald (7)

On 5 August, DCSCA Committee members met Councillor Rod Macdonald in Princess Street, Drysdale. This was the sixth of the 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, whom we met on 4 August at City Hall.

New DCSCA Committee 2011-2012
First, we told Cr. Doull that DCSCA had held its annual General Meeting on July 20, at which a new Committee was elected and told him the members of the 2011-2012 Committee. (To see the membership of the 2011-2012 DCSCA Committee, go to 'DCSCA's 2011 Annual General Meeting' on this blog, 25 July 2011.)

The 'Central Walk' development
Local residents have expressed concern to DCSCA about aspects of this development, for which advertising/promotion materials have recently started to appear in the local papers.* Residents are concerned about Central Walk because:
  • it contradicts CoGG's Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs and the design guidelines of the state government's Urban Growth Authority (For more on this, see 'Hullo Central Walk, goodbye Structure Plan' on this blog, 14 July 2011.)
  • the advertising/promotion materials make it appear that the whole area is being developed as a single estate by a single developer, whereas ownership of the is split between several landowners. One of those landowners (Urban Land Developments) is driving the development, even though it doesn't own significant portions of the land involved
  • the development will include the demolition of the properties at 27 Princess Street, which features many long-established trees that provide homes for a variety of native birds and animals. The Bellarine Catchment Network and Landcare are among local groups to have expressed an interest in turning the property into a community facility including, e.g., a nursery and community garden.
DCSCA has suggested that 27 Princess Street is declared part of the 'public open space' that is a required element of the Central Walk development; and that an equivalent parcel of the land currently designated as 'public open space' be released for development - in effect, a land swap. Cr. Macdonald said that he would discuss the proposal with CoGG's strategic planners, but cautioned that CoGG has formally approved the development as proposed - including the demolition of 27 Princess Street. Consequently, a formal application will have to be made (by the developer?) for the proposal to be varied to allow the land swap - and this could be an expensive business.

DCSCA is also concerned about the maintenance of the development's open space - especially its proposed 'wetlands'. Cr. Macdonald said that developers are responsible for maintaining open spaces in a development until two years after their creation, after which the council assumes responsibility.

Local economic development
We asked whether the council would extend the ‘Industrial’ zone in Murradoc Road so that it joined the site of the planned Drysdale bypass. Cr. Macdonald replied that the council would examine such a proposal only if it was part of a larger proposal concerning the zoning of that area of Drysdale; and only if someone applied for such a rezoning. (N.B. An area can be considered for rezoning and subsequent development only if at least 70% of the owners of the area request it. However, such support isn’t required for ‘infill’ development, i.e. a proposal that rezones and develops an area in line with the areas surrounding it.)

CoGG's 'bio-retention basins' (aka 'urban dams')
We referred to the recent fiasco at Ryan Court around one of these 'basins', when local residents asked DCSCA to support them in their dealings with the Council. We told Cr. Macdonald that we supported his intervention in the issue, which resulted in a decision to fill-in the dam. (For more information about Ryan Court, see 'Who you gonna call? Dam busters!' on this blog, 1 August 2011.)

However, we suggested that the episode raised council-wide issues. The 'basin' in Ryan Court was created to deal with the increased stormwater run-off from a nearby new housing estate and equivalent 'basins' are going to be associated with other new housing estates, such as those in Jetty Road and the Central Walk estate off Murradoc Road. Events at Ryan Court showed a) that the design of these devices is faulty and b) that council officers cannot specify how effective these devices are in filtering pollutants - their ostensible purpose. While supporting Cr. Macdonald's intervention in the issue, we suggested that its successful outcome cast doubt on whether the use of these dams had been thought-through sufficiently; and suggested that the council should think about the 'urban dam' in Ryan Court before deciding to create another elsewhere.

Ward boundaries Finally, we asked Cr. Macdonald where exactly the northern boundary is between Cheetham Ward (Cr. Macdonald) and Coryule Ward (Cr. Doull); he'd brought a detailed map showing that the boundary is the western side of an imaginary extension northwards of Jetty Road.

DCSCA's next quarterly meeting with Cr. Macdonald will be on Friday 4 November 2011 at 10.30 a.m. Any residents of the Drysdale/Clifton Springs area are welcome to ask DCSCA to raise any issue of concern with Cr. Macdonald.

* 'Central Walk' is the result of the passage last year of Amendment C103 to the City of Greater Geelong Planning Scheme, which rezoned the land bounded by Murradoc Road, Princess Street, Woodville Street and Clarendon Road in Drysdale and gave approval for a housing estate to be built there.

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