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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Public Meeting 3 March 2010

'Traffic and transport in our community: what would a bypass mean for Drysdale & Clifton Springs?'
This was the topic of DCSCA's latest Public Meeting, which was at 7.00 p.m. on March 3 at Springdale Neighbourhood Centre, Drysdale High Street.

Over forty local residents and business people attended the meeting. They heard that a bypass around the town is unlikely in the near future. Mr. Robert Scott, Planning Team Leader at Vic Roads told the meeting that while the proposed bypass was a good idea, the likely cost - $50 - 70 million - and the relatively low current traffic flow meant that Vic Roads didn't regard it as a priority. Nonetheless, Vic Roads has spent $4 - 5 million buying land to create a 'corridor' along the route of the bypass and will acquire more land as it becomes available. Vic Roads can't buy more land until it becomes available, which is why the bypass is taking so long to be established.

The meeting then heard Mr. Paul Westcott, Convenor of the Geelong branch of the Public Transport Users Association. He said that in Victoria, a major impediment to the development of public transport is that there is no unitary body in charge of public transport, equivalent to Vic Roads, which develops and runs roads. As a result, no 'corridors' are being set aside for public transport development equivalent to, for example, the 'corridor' being created by Vic Roads for a Drysdale bypass.

The final speaker was Mr. Phil Baulch, of the Geelong Sustainability Group. He forecast steep rises in oil prices as reserves become unprofitable to mine. Cars will be increasingly expensive to run and rising transportation costs will increase prices across the board. Mr. Baulch said that many local communities are responding to these circumstances by becoming 'transition towns', living in new ways that lower their energy costs and their carbon emissions. There are two 'transition towns' nearby. One is Transition South Barwon, the other is Transition Neighbourhood Bell, which represents the residents of Bell Park and Bell Post Hill - two of the most diverse and multicultural suburbs in the Geelong region.

People at the meeting were interested in the speakers' three very different perspectives on traffic and transport in our community. In a snap poll after the meeting, a clear majority of those voting wanted a bypass, but there was also strong support for better public transport.

(DCSCA invited Mr. David Hannah, Manager of the City of Greater Geelong's Engineering Services division, to speak at the meeting, but he had a prior commitment. He said that he would be happy to discuss with DCSCA any issues that emerged at the meeting.)

For more about Vic Roads:

For more about the Geelong branch of the Public Transport Users Association:

For more about the Geelong Sustainability Group:

For more about Transition Neighbourhood Bell:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lake Lorne pathway

On 4 February, DCSCA Committee members attended a briefing about the proposed pathway around Lake Lorne, convened by Bruce Humphries, of the Environmental Planning Department of the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG). The briefing took place at the Drysdale railway station and was attended by people from a wide variety of organizations, including the Bellarine Peninsula Railway, Vic Track (owners of the railway line), the local Pony Club, local schools and the Geelong Field Naturalists Society.

The pathway was suggested initially by DCSCA some time ago and it has taken quite a while to get to the stage of having a draft plan. However, this is public (Crown) land in which a wide variety of people have an interest, so getting to this stage was always likely to be a lengthy and complicated process. Also, as you'll see below, CoGG is proposing not just to install a pathway, but also to improve and upgrade aspects of the site overall.

The focus of the briefing was a draft plan, commissioned by CoGG from Thompson-Birrell, a firm of landscape architects. Thompson-Birrell has done other work for CoGG, including the Griggs Creek Rehabilitation Plan. Thompson-Birrell's Matt Bolton presented the draft plan and answered questions about it. In broad terms, the present proposals are:
  • to create a low-key, low-impact gravel path around the lake at the high-water mark of 2001
  • to create a parkland environment between the path and the boundary of the land
  • to retain thick grass between the path and the lake's edge, to deter dogs from attacking the waterfowl
  • to replace some of the non-native vegetation with local native plants
  • to upgrade aspects of the railway station's physical infrastructure
  • to ensure stakeholder support at each subsequent stage of the planning process.
There was significant concern about the present and future threat by dogs to waterfowl on the Lake, especially as some of these birds are rare or endangered species. DCSCA shares those concerns. DCSCA has also suggested that future drafts should highlight and celebrate the area's Indigenous heritage as a site used by the Wathaurong people.

The next stage is for Thompson-Birrell to produce a revised draft plan, drawing on comments at this briefing and at a 'walk and talk' around the Lake by various stakeholders that will happen in the next few weeks. CoGG will invite a broader range of stakeholders (including people living near the Lake) to comment on the revised plan; then a final plan, together with a budget to implement it, will be presented to a formal meeting of the Council, probably in mid-2010.

If you'd like to have your say about the Lake Lorne pathway project, you can do one or more of the following:
  • contact your local CoGG Councillor (John Doull or Rod Macdonald)
  • leave a comment below
  • contact DCSCA direct:
We'll post another report on this project after the 'walk and talk' around the Lake. In the meantime ...
for more about the Bellarine Peninsula Railway:

and for more more about the Wathaurong people:

DCSCA meets Cllr. Rod Macdonald

On 5 February, DCSCA committee members met Councillor Rod Macdonald at Geelong City Hall. This was the first of a series of quarterly meetings that DCSCA has initiated with the two Councillors whose wards coincide with DCSCA's area - the other is Councillor John Doull, whom we met on 18 January. (See ' DCSCA meets Cllr. John Doull', Tuesday, January 19, 2010 on this blog.)

This was a positive and productive meeting. First, we told Cllr. Macdonald of people's dissatisfaction with the Council's public communication and consultation processes around, for example, the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Structure Plan, the Council's proposals to revamp Drysdale town centre and Amendments C194 and C103 to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme that the Council is proposing currently; and we said that these concerns were shared by other community associations on the Bellarine. Cllr. Macdonald ('RM') responded as follows:
CoGG communication and consultation processes. RM will send DCSCA a copy of CoGG's policy.
The D/CS Structure Plan. RM described this as 'informal' consultation - 'a way to put a position that can then be debated'. Thus, not every ensuing proposal will reflect it exactly; and not every view received will be reflected in it.
The Drysdale town centre proposals. RM will talk to Mr. Paul Jamieson (CoGG's Manger, Community Development) about DCSCA's letter to him, the proposals it contains and the lack of a reply.
Amendments C194 and C103. RM said that he has asked Council officers to examine particular aspects, including the flood risk in Springs Street.

Next, we discussed arrangements for local participation in Clean Up Australia Day and Cllr. Macdonald advised us who to contact regarding signage for the day.

Finally, we brought Cllr. Macdonald up to date with preparations for the Drysadale Festival of Glass and he suggested some people within CoGG who might be able to help and advise us.

Our next quarterly meeting with Cllr. Macdonald: 7 May at 10.00 a.m. at City Hall. Among the agenda items will be DCSCA's proposals about improving the Council's communication and consultation policies. We have sent these to Cllrs. Doull and Macdonald, as well as to all the community associations represented in the Affiliation of Belarine Community Associations (ABCA).
Would you like us to discuss any issues with Cllr. Macdonald at that meeting? If so, please leave a comment below or e-mail DCSCA: