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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Contacting local MPs

As the federal election draws near, local drycliftdays readers may wish to contact the politicians standing for election. Their details are as follows:

CORANGAMITE Darren Cheeseman MP (Labor), Member for Corangamite
Visit: Shop 3A, 195 – 203 Colac Road, Waurn Ponds
Phone: 5243 2400

Sarah Henderson, Liberal Candidate for Corangamite
Visit: Suite 3, 165 High Street, Belmont
Phone: 5243 2862

Mike Lawrence, Greens Candidate for Corangamite

CORIO Richard Marles MP (Labor), Member for Corio
Visit: 17A Yarra Street, Geelong
Phone: 5221 3033

Don Gibson, Liberal Candidate for Corio
Phone: 5243 2862

Gavin Brown, Greens Candidate for Corio

Friday, July 23, 2010

'Community Plan' authors await councillors' response

A month after DCSCA members and friends in the Save Our Springs Street Open Space (SOSOS) group asked local councillors to discuss The Community Plan for the Springs Street Reserve with them, they still have no answer.

On June 24, the SOSOS group submitted The Community Plan for the Springs Street Reserve to local councillors Rod Macdonald and John Doull, to councillor Andy Richards and to the Mayor, councillor John Mitchell. Their submission has been acknowledged, but SOSOS still don't know whether councillors will discuss the Plan with them.

Cllr. Andy Richards has told DCSCA that the councillors are waiting to be 'briefed' by Council officers on the issues associated with the Springs Street area. DCSCA has responded that it assumes that those Council officers will have been given a copy of The Community Plan for a Springs Street Reserve and, therefore, that they brief councillors in full knowledge of local people’s wishes; and that it hopes that their briefings contain more opportunities than challenges!

The Community Plan for the Springs Street Reserve is a significant step forward in local democracy. It has very broad local support as the result of several months hard work by the SOSOS group to discover local residents' views about how best to use the open space in Springs Street, Clifton Springs.

The creation of the Plan follows a successful campaign by SOSOS to convince the CoGG to abandon its plans to allow a housing estate on the public open space in Springs Street - one of the few stretches of open space left in the area. DCSCA officers helped local residents to challenge the proposal and over 150 local people signed a petition opposing it. A Council meeting on 23 March voted to abandon the proposal. SOSOS memberNeil McGuinness said at the time, 'Councillors Macdonald and Richards came to see us and gave us a fair hearing. They appreciated our concerns and they've taken the right decision. The land has a beautiful bay vista and would be ideal for public passive recreation and a children's playground.'

The Community Plan will benefit visitors as well as locals. It proposes to beautify the area and highlight its historical significance, enhancing the aesthetic, cultural and historical value of the nearby lookout and The Dell.

DCSCA is delighted and proud to support The Community Plan for the Springs Street Reserve. We hope that other residents will follow the example of the SOSOS group and decide among themselves what they would like to happen to their immediate enviroment.

The Festival of Glass is online!

The Festival of Glass has entered the blogosphere! The Festival's blog is up and running and would love a visit from you!

To access the blog, just type its address ( in the title bar of your search engine. Once the blog starts to get significant numbers of visitors, it will be possible to access it just by typing 'festivalofglass' into the search bar of your search engine (e.g. Google).

The Festival of Glass is an initiative of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA), but the Festival committee is autonomous of the DCSCA Committee. With the establishment of its own blog, the Festival now has its own public profile online. You might consider becoming a 'Follower' of the 'festivalofglass' blog - just click on 'Followers' and follow the instructions.

Congratulations to festivalofglass from drycliftdays and a very warm welcome to the blogosphere!

'Works on our sites? News to us!' Update

Major excavation work by the Barwon Water Alliance continues apace at the two pumping stations in Jetty Road, Drysdale and in Bayshore Avenue, Clifton Springs. (See 'Works on our sites? News to us!' 16 July on this blog)

The Barwon Water Alliance's Stakeholder Engagement Group has told DCSCA that in May 2010, the Alliance sent a notice to residents informing them that 'upgrades' would take place at the two pumping stations between June 2010 and March 2011. However, some residents didn't receive a copy of this notice; and the Alliance appears to have no record of who they contacted and who they didn't.

The notice states that, 'During construction, we will endeavour to minimise the impact of construction noise and heavy vehicle movement.' However, at the Jetty Road site, 'construction noise and heavy vehicle movement' is starting as early as 7.15 a.m., as nearby residents and commuters will attest.

The notice also states that, 'Weekend or after hours work is not currently planned. However, if there is a requirement for construction at these times, we will notify nearby residents as early as possible.' Imagine nearby residents' surprise when, with no notification, 'construction noise and heavy vehicle movement' started just before 8.00 a.m. on Saturday 17 July - the first Saturday of serious work on the site. Those same nearby residents have subsequently been told that construction work will also happen on Saturday July 31. Two weekends out of the first three on a site where, 'Weekend or after hours work is not currently planned.'

DCSCA has discussed these events with members of the Stakeholder Engagement Group and with site/project managers and the general view has been that stakeholders in the local community could have been 'engaged' more successfully. DCSCA has said that it is keen to see that process of engagement succeed and is ready to help however it can ... but probably not on Saturdays!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Local voices down the drain? Update

Pressure from local people has led the City of Greater Geelong to postpone a planned internal review of its proposal to levy landowners in Central Road, Clifton Springs, a 'Special Charge' of between $3,000 and $256,888 each.

The 'Special Charge' is meant to raise part of the estimated $1,492,827 cost of a new main drain for a retirement village in Central Road. When the council announced the proposed 'Special Charge' in February, more than thirty local landowners objected, as did the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association. On March 31, the objectors held a public meeting that featured on Channel 9's A Current Affair.

On Thursday 15 July, some of the objectors received a letter (postmarked 13 July) from the council inviting them to appear before an internal Submissions Panel established to review objections to the proposal. The letter said that the Panel would be chaired by Councillor Jan Farrell, who holds the council's 'Democracy and Governance' portfolio; and that it would meet on Tuesday 20 July, i.e. just three working days away. By Friday July 16, other objectors hadn't even received such a letter.

The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (and others) argued strongly to Cllr. Farrell that three working days was insufficient notice. On Monday 19 July, Cllr. Farrell told the association that she had postponed the Submissions Panel until 16 August.

Community Association Secretary Patrick Hughes said, 'This is a small but significant victory for local democracy. We applaud Councillor Farrell's decision to postpone the Panel until August 16 and we have thanked her for her sensitivity on this issue. People have work and family commitments and can't just set them aside at three working days notice. Councillor Farrell's decision gives local landowners a reasonable time in which to prepare their arguments and the association is helping them to do so. The outcome will be a more thorough and rigorous examination of the issues than would have been possible in the council's original timetable.'

Friday, July 16, 2010

'Works on our sites? News to us!'

For some days now, contractors and machinery have been busy at Barwon Water's two pumping stations in Jetty Road and Bayshore Avenue, Clifton Springs. Local residents will have noticed this, as will visitors travelling past the sites. Barwon Water, however, seems unaware of it!

When contacted this morning, Barwon Water's Customer Liaison office knew nothing about the work and referred the call to the Maintenance division. They knew nothing about it either and referred the call back to Customer Liaison, who said that they would try to find someone who did know about it. Barwon Water prides itself on its 'open and honest communication with each other, our customers and our community' and it seeks to ' achieve a reputation for excellent customer focused services and stakeholder relationships' (Barwon Water web site). Seven hours later, nothing more has been heard from them.

The backdrop to this extraordinary episode is the Barwon Water Alliance, through which Barwon Water is pursuing its statutory responsibilities (under the Water Act) in collaboration with two private companies - GHD and John Holland*. Over the next five years, the Alliance will deliver more than 100 projects worth $355 million.

One of those projects will upgrade Barwon Water's two pumping stations in Jetty Road and Bayshore Avenue. New 'holding tanks' - in fact, a series of closed-ended pipes - will be installed five metres below ground at each pumping station. In the event of a storm, these 'tanks' will store excess stormwater run-off temporarily, allowing it to be pumped away once the storm subsides. The work is due for completion in March 2011.

The upgrades anticipate the increased stormwater run-off from Stage One of the Jetty Road housing estate and from the continuing 'in-fill' house-building to the east of Jetty Road. Bitumen and concrete in these developments stop rainwater soaking into the ground, creating increased run-off. Barwon Water has said that their current infrastructure in Drysdale & Clifton Springs is reaching capacity and that the urbanisation of Jetty Road will 'theoretically exceed capacity', although 'the town can be serviced with water without the need for major capital works.' (Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs. City of Greater Geelong. 2009 [p. 25]).

The Clifton Springs project is part of Barwon Water's 'Bellarine Peninsula Sewage Management Strategy', which also includes projects in other towns on the Bellarine, such as Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.

To discover whether Barwon Water's Customer Liaison office is aware yet of the work on its sites, call them on (03) 5226 2376 during business hours.

* GHD (named after original partners Gutteridge, Haskins & Davey) provides professional and technical services in utilities, including water, energy and transportation. It will contribute expertise in design, environmental and stakeholder management to the Alliance. John Holland provides contracting and engineering services and will contribute construction and commercial management expertise to the Alliance.