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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DCSCA meets Cllr. John Doull (2)

On 18 April, DCSCA committee members met Cllr. John Doull at Geelong City Hall. This was the second of a series of quarterly meetings that DCSCA has initiated with the two Councillors with wards in DCSCA's area - the other Councillor is Rod Macdonald, with whom we'll have our second quarterly meeting on 7 May.

'Special charges'
We asked Cllr. Doull whether he supported the principle of levying 'Special Charges' on landowners to pay for infrastructure - for example the landowners in the Central Road area of Clifton Springs, who face bills of thousands of dollars for a drain to service proposed a retirement village (see 'A "Special Charge" for developer's drains' elsewhere on this blog). John Doull sees no alternative, because CoGG is 'catching up' with past developments that included no infrastructure. He said that footpaths increase a property's sale price and will send DCSCA evidence of this. He also said that he and Cllrs. Richards and Farrell have asked CoGG's Engineering Department to examine alternatives to concrete paths (e.g. crushed rock).

Drysdale town centre
Then, we told Cllr. Doull that in January, DCSCA wrote to ask Mr. Paul Jamieson - CoGG Manger, Community Development - for a discussion about CoGG's plans for Drysdale town centre, but had received no reply. Cllr. Doull said that he would ask Paul Jamieson why he hadn't replied.

City of Greater Geelong's consultations policy
Next, we raised DCSCA's proposals for changes in CoGG's consultation policy. We'd raised this with Cllr. Doull before, but received no substantive response. Cllr. Doull said that he was unaware of any complaints about CoGG's consultation policy. In response, we cited local people's dissatisfaction with consultations around, for example, the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Structure Plan, CoGG's plans for Drysdale town centre, Planning Amendments C194 and C103 to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme and the proposed 'Special Charge'. Cllr. Doull then said that he has no evidence that CoGG consultations have worked badly in his ward and cited recent successful exercises in Portarlington, St. Leonards and Indented Head.

Retaining open spaces
We then discussed how best to retain existing open spaces - including Beacon point Reserve - as recreation areas. Cllr. Doull said that this was an issue he wants to promote and invited DCSCA to write to him saying that alongside recreational facilities, adults and children need simple open space; that CoGG should be setting aside land for this purpose - preferably linked in 'corridors'; and that CoGG should investigate the feasibility of setting covenants on open space (equivalent to the 'Land For Wildlife' scheme) to identify them and protect them from developers' claims.

Finally, we brought Cllr. Doull up to date on the Drysdale Festival of Glass and told him about DCSCA's information session on Planning Panels (Tuesday 20 April).

Our next quarterly meeting with Cllr. Doull will be on 19 July at 4.00 p.m. at City Hall.

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