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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DCSCA comments on town square proposals

DCSCA has lodged a substantial submission with the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) concerning its proposals to remodel Drysdale's 'town square', including extending the shopping complex.

CoGG’s proposals are in a glossy booklet, copies of which are available at the CoGG Customer Service Centre. The council held an information session at the Senior Citizens' club on the evening of Wednesday 6 July and has invited public comment on the proposals by July 29th.

In its submission, DCSCA congratulated the City of Greater Geelong for the thoroughness of its consultation exercise and the resources it has expended on it. It asked how the council would respond to the submissions, to demonstrate that the consultation was meaningful; and it asked how much the exercise had cost and whether the council had borne the whole cost.

A summary of DCSCA's 4-page submission follows.

The proposals offer several benefits. They could refresh the area, enhancing its attractiveness and utility, reinforcing its role as a focal point of the town and boosting connectivity within the town centre. They could also resolve the current mix of gradients, improving access by cyclists and by pedestrians. A small children’s play area should be considered; parents/carers could watch children from the rotunda.

There are two problems with the proposals: they involve the sale of part of the ‘own square’ to support the extension of the shopping complex; and they add no more parking spaces to accommodate increased custom in the extended shopping complex. (The current car park has less than the regulation number of spaces; extending the complex without adding car parking will worsen an already bad situation.)

There are several omissions from the proposals. These include the future of the rotunda, the library and the customer service centre; the traffic implications of the proposed new offices in Hancock Street; the relations with the forthcoming upgrades to Drysdale High Street; and any consideration of how the proposals could provide an ‘energy dividend’, e.g. by increasing energy efficiency in lighting, heating and cooling systems.

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