Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Local people plan central Drysdale

On June 18 and 23, the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) ran two information and consultation sessions at Drysdale's Senior Citizens centre to gauge local reaction to its Draft Drysdale Urban Development Framework (DDUDF).

Each two-hour session attracted around fifty local people. Consulting stakeholders and incorporating their views is essential to the development of an Urban Design Framework, which combines a strategic plan for an area with detailed/practical designs for the plan's implementation. The Draft Drysdale Urban Development Framework is a result of an 'Enquiry by Design' process - two days of consultation with local people (including DCSCA representatives) in December 2011 and the subsequent consultants' report. CoGG received the consultants' report in Febuary 2012 and published its DDUDF in June 2012.

Consistent concerns
The June meetings showed that local people have consistent concerns about their town's future. Not everyone at these meetings had attended the December consultations, but nonetheless the concerns expressed on the three occasions were very similar. People are concerned that heavy traffic is spoiling the town's character and heritage. They pointed out that concentration of services at the town's centre means that as it expands, it's less possible for people to walk to and from the town centre; and in the absence of swift and convenient public transport (e.g. a 'smart' bus service), people have no option but to drive into town. Increasing traffic increases the demand for parking space and while new developments (e.g. Drysdale's new Aldi supermarket) must include some car parking, this isn't enough to compensate for Drysdale's growing role as a shopping centre for the north Bellarine.

The Draft Framework proposes to alleviate traffic stress by making the High Street-Murradoc Road roundabout into a traffic light-controlled junction and diffusing traffic away from it by creating new linking roads (e.g. between Collins Street and Murradoc Road); and it proposes to make Murradoc Road more attractive by, for example, creating a service road in front of the current light industrial units, landscaping both sides of the road, installing proper footpaths and encouraging 'al fresco' dining near Aldi. The Framework seeks to retain Drysdale's heritage and character as a rural village and to enhance it through sensitive placement of street furniture, public art and indigenous plants. It also proposes imaginative improvements to the town, such as creating a permanent Farmers' Market between the side entrance of the Safeways complex and the shops opposite; and making any expansion of Safeways contingent on the development of a 'civic centre' that would face the green - but not encroach on it; and ensuring that new buildings face their streets, not back onto them.

Deadline extended
Several people were concerned at the short period of time in which people could submit their views on the DDUDF to the council. The deadline is 29 June and while this is a month after CoGG published the document, it's only a week or so after the information sessions. In response, the CoGG officers extended the deadline by two weeks to 13 July.

... and the Drysdale bypass??
The council had asked the 'Enquiry by Design' consultants to create a draft 'Masterplan' for the town centre, thereby excluding any consideration of the proposed Drysdale bypass. However, during the December consultations, local people insisted that any discussion about the town centre must include the issue of the bypass; and people at the June meetings saw a bleak future for Drysdale's town centre unless a bypass removes some of its through traffic.

A Drysdale bypass would relieve traffic congestion and increase pedestrian safety. Further, a bypass linked with the eastern end of Murradoc Road would improve transport links to Geelong and Melbourne, make that part of town more attractive to new businesses. This would boost the local economy, stemming the flow of wealth and talent from our town and preventing it from becoming just a 'dormitory town' for Geelong and Melbourne.

Many of those at the meetings wanted to be part of the DCSCA-led campaign for a Drysdale bypass and heard that DCSCA will contact them about the campaign so far and how they can help.

No comments:

Post a Comment