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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Community Concepts' - Festival of Glass submission

The Festival of Glass committee has submitted a proposal to the City of Greater Geelong's 'Community Concepts' programme.

The City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) initiated the programme in December 2013, when it invited individuals, groups and organisations in the Greater Geelong area to submit proposals for capital works, to be considered for inclusion in the council's 2014 - 2015 budget. Submissions opened in December and closed on January 17 2014.

The Festival of Glass committee is a sub-committee of the Drysdale and Clifton Springs Community Association Inc., which initiated the Festival of Glass in 2011. Our submission is below.

-->Name of project: ‘Bridging Our Heritage: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’
Brief description of the project
This sixteen month mural project will create two glass-based public art exhibits in Drysdale. The project is a partnership between the Festival of Glass, the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (which launched the Festival in 2011) and Bellarine Secondary College, advised by Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op and Bellarine Historical Society; and it reinforces Drysdale’s growing national and international reputation for glass-related art, craft and industry. The first exhibit will be a free-standing, ceramic and glass ‘Welcome to Drysdale’ sign on the ‘Village Green’. This will give the mural team the knowledge and experience to create a major ceramic and glass mural with the theme, ‘Bridging Our Heritage: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’.

In practical terms, separate glass/ceramic strands (‘Yesterday’) will be braided together (‘Today’) and then unwound again (‘Tomorrow’). This shows that our ever-changing community includes not only its various groups, associations, schools and businesses but also the continuing presence of Wathaurong people and culture and the continuing effects of European arrival (including the significance of Anne Drysdale and of the mineral springs at Clifton Springs). The braid of ‘Today’ unwinds again into the disparate hopes and dreams of the community and especially of its diverse young people - our ‘Tomorrow’.

Objectives of the project
This project’s objectives support the council’s priorities as follows:
‘Community well being’.
·      To connect different sections of the local community (e.g. clubs, schools, community associations, volunteer groups) in a creative project that enhances the well being and quality of life of the whole community.
‘Growing our economy’.
·      To support existing local businesses by making Drysdale a more vibrant, attractive and distinctive destination for residents and visitors.
·      To promote innovation in the local economy by encouraging the establishment of new, glass-related businesses. This will complement the success that the Festival of Glass has had already in promoting such new businesses.
·      To promote Drysdale – and the Bellarine Peninsula more broadly – as a centre of glass-related art, craft and industry, making it more attractive to artists, craftspeople and companies. This complements the Festival’s forthcoming Glass Trail, which aims to encourage and promote new and existing glass-related businesses in the region.

Street address and suburb: ‘Village Green’ and Hancock Street, Drysdale.
Council ward: Cheetham 

Estimate of total project cost: $14,200 (Phase One: $2,100; Phase Two: $12,100)

Details of community group’s contribution (if any)
The Festival’s mural team will:
·      oversee the design and execution of each phase of the project, including co-ordinating practical, ‘hands on’ participation in each phase by local individuals, groups, societies, schools, etc.
·      seek appropriate permissions from landholders
·      obtain local funding to support council funding. (The team has local pledges of $1,200 already for Phase One.)

Previous project funding
This mural project has received no funding. However, the Festival of Glass has received council funding in each of its four years.

Ongoing maintenance requirements (if any).
The sign and the mural will each be built of resilient materials – glass, ceramics and steel – that will require minimal maintenance.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Exercising 'discretion' - who benefits?

A decision about a proposed Caltex service station in Drysdale depends on the 'discretion' of the City of Greater Geelong.

Caltex franchisee Milemaker Petroleum p/l has applied for planning permission to build a service station in a Rural Living Zone in Drysdale. Certain types of development (including service stations) in a Rural Living Zone are 'discretionary'. In other words, an application to build such a development is by no means approved automatically, even if it is written and submitted according to the relevant procedures.

The council can (and should) exercise its 'discretion' to refuse Milemaker's application on two 'procedural' grounds:
1. Many local people were prevented from commenting on the application by council's incompetence in advertising it.*
2. The application is full of inconsistencies and contradictions to present planning laws and practices.**

The council should also exercise its discretion and refuse Milemaker's application because the proposed service station in a Rural Living Zone would threaten local 'green space', already under threat from massive new housing estates approved by the council, contradicting its own 'Structure Plan' for Drysdale, which aims to retain the town's 'rural character'.***

The council can exercise its 'discretion' in this matter to benefit Milemaker and Caltex in defiance of its own Structure Plan or to benefit local people (and support its Structure Plan). The choice is clear.

See also earlier posts on this blog:
* 'Council restricts public comment on proposed new service station in Drysdale' [January 29 2014].** 'Service station proposal challenges planning laws and practices' [January 30 2014].
*** 'Council dismisses environmental and economic objections to service station' [March 13 2014].

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Council dismisses environmental and economic objections to service station

Objectors to a proposed service station in a 'Rural Living' zone in Drysdale have been told that their concerns that the proposal threatens the local environment and local economy are irrelevant.

Their concerns were dismissed by City of Greater Geelong planner Grant Logan, who chaired a council-convened discussion on 12 March about Caltex franchisee Milemaker Petroleum's application for planning permission for a new service station on land between the southern ends of Portarlington Road and Jetty Road.

Industry in a rural setting? No problem!
Many objectors said that if the council approved Milemaker's application, this would introduce an industrial development into a Rural Living Zone; and that this would reduce still further the vestiges of open space and greenery left over from the major housing developments in the area. In reply, Grant Logan said that certain types of 'discretionary' development were allowed in a Rural Living Zone and that a service station came under that category. Consequently, objections that a service station is inappropriate in a Rural Living Zone were simply wrong in legal terms.

Local economy? Not our concern!
Objectors were also concerned at the likely effect on the local economy of three or even four service stations, especially when the long-promised Drysdale bypass takes through traffic away from Drysdale High Street. They questioned the 'need' for a third service station in the area and said that Milemaker's application includes no statistical data to justify another service station, especially one that would be a few hundred metres from the two existing ones - one of which is Caltex owned. Further, an application is likely for a service station at the Woolworths-led shopping centre in the new Curlewis estate, bringing the local total to four.  Objectors were concerned that an over-supply of service stations in the area could reduce profitability for all of them or even force one out of business. Either result would be bad for the local economy. In reply, Grant Logan said that economic considerations such as these were irrelevant to decisions on applications for planning permits.

Public participation? We sent them letters!
Many objectors mentioned the very poor publicity and short notice of the application. The official A4 notices pinned to the fence line of the property were taken down a day earlier than they should; and even while they wewre there, they were barely visible. (See 'Council restricts public comment on proposed new service station in Drysdale' on this blog [January 29 2014].) This lack of concern about public participation was reinforced when objectors to the application received an invitation from the council to discussion their concerns with 'the applicant' - no-one from Milemaker attended the discussion. Instead, there was a representative from Contour Consultants Australia p/l, which had submitted the application on Milemaker's behalf. Further, the invitation asked people to contact Grant Logan for any more information - but Mr. Logan was on leave until the day before the discussion.