Search This Blog

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bridge protesters lose at VCAT

After a two-day VCAT hearing, Clifton Springs residents heard that the proposed bridge in Bayshore Avenue will be built, despite their fears and objections.

The months-long campaign against the proposed bridge has been led by the Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG), supported and assisted by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA). the campaign has been documented extensively on this blog. (See most recently,'Bridge proposal "bad planning practice"' 4 October; 'Shadow Minister invites bridge protesters to Parliament', 6 October)

The VCAT case arose because developers Bisinella had applied to the City of Greater Geelong for a permit to build a bridge across Griggs Creek from Bayshore Avenue. CoGG failed to issue the permit within the specified time limit, so Bisinella asked VCAT to review CoGG's 'non-decision'.

At the VCAT hearing, Bisinella's case was that CoGG should have issued a building permit for the bridge because there was never any question that a bridge should be built there. Each version of the plans for the Jetty Road Growth Area as a whole had shown a bridge at that location; and each phase of the plans for the Growth Area had been approved in the proper manner, according to local and state planning laws, regulations, etc. As the VCAT panel-member put it in his statement of decision, ‘The bridge is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle’.

CSIRG's case has always been that the original design of that 'jigsaw puzzle' (i.e. the design of the Jetty Road Growth Area) has changed so much that 'the last piece' doesn’t fit any more. In particular, a road leading from the southern part of the Growth Area into Bisinella's land at the north will not now be built until 150 houses have been built on Bisinella's land. So until those 150 houses are built, Bisinella's land is 'landlocked' from the rest of the Growth Area. In these circumstances, the bridge assumes a significance that it has never had in earlier plans for the Growth Area, which have always described it as a 'local, minor road'. (As late as 2010, CoGG's Infrastructure Plan for the Growth Area still described Bayshore Avenue in these terms.)

The delay in building a north-south road means that the bridge is now the only route into and out of Bisinella's land; and so it is the only way in which heavy construction machinery can access the land to build those 150 houses and associated infrastructure. That's why local residents have fought so hard to stop the bridge. They saw a future in which bulldozers, excavators and earth-moving trucks drove up and down Bayshore Avenue because they had no alternative route. (Residents could get some idea of what this scenario would look like by standing in Jetty Road at its junction with Wyndham Street and watching the mayhem being created as stormwater drains are being laid in Jetty Road and as access roads into the first estate are created opposite Wyndham Street.)

It was suggested at the VCAT hearing that there is a possible alternative route - a 'right of carriage' on land to the west of Bisinella's land, facing McDermott's Road. CSIRG argued strongly that this should be the designated route in and out of the Bisinella land. However, it isn't certain whether this right of carriage could become a road or not. A major reason for this uncertainty is that CoGG has failed to explore the possibility. Despite years of proposals, planning amendments, planning overlays, traffic studies, etc., CoGG still doesn't know whether the Bisinella land has a right of carriage across the land fronting McDermott Road or whether that right of carriage will be the access point for the development. Instead, it 'understands' this to be so. At the VCAT hearing, CoGG's representative - referring to this right of carriage - said, 'My understanding is that that will be the point of access for the bridge and for the site'; and his statement echoed a passage in the minutes of CoGG's Development Hearings Panel of 7 July 2011 that states, 'The land at 206 Bayshore Avenue (the Bisinella land) … is understood to have a right of carriage across land to the west fronting McDermott Road.' (Emphasis added in each case.)

So the bridge will be built. The City of Greater Geelong has required several pages of ‘conditions' to be met as 'safeguards' agaisnt a number of eventualities, including land slips in Griggs Creek during construction. But who will police those restrictions? How will they be enforced? What is the track record of success of such conditions? None of this is stated in CoGG's several pages.

The CSIRG group worked their hearts out and ran a brilliant campaign. For DCSCA, it's been a pleasure and a privilege to support and assist them. Everyone who’s been involved in the campaign – at whatever level – can feel proud of themselves and hold their heads high. Better to have fought and lost than to have done nothing and then sit around later thinking ‘If only we’d done something’.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Gore show a Reality check

Around fifty people saw the updated version of Al Gore's slide show, 'An Inconvenient Truth' in Drysdale recently.

The occasion was a public meeting about climate change, held at SpringDale Neighourhood Centre on Friday 21 October. The meeting was organised by members of the Drysdale Harvest Basket Group and supported by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) and the Drysdale Raw Foods Group.

Presenter Damien Paull from The Climate Project said that the updated slide show was released in September. Like the original show, the new version uses startling graphics and clear graphs to show that climate change is real and that unless humanity takes it seriously, we will see increasing incidence of droughts, floods, storms and storm surges - all contributing to a significant decline in the human population's ability to feed itself.

The updated slide show includes new material to counter climate change deniers. The deniers either say that climate change is happening at all or, if they accept that it's happening, they deny that it's caused by human activity. Paull highlighted new evidence from 'core sampling' of the ice caps at the north and south poles that shows irrefutably that the earth has been warming - erratically but inexorably - since the start of the industrial evolution; and that the pace of global warming is accelerating. Paull also contrasted the dissidents' denials with the definite action being taken by the global insurance industry. Nationally and internationally, insurance companies are refusing to cover properties that they consider at risk from climate-induced disasters (floods, fires, etc.). At the local level, the City of Greater Geelong is among the growing number of local councils withholding planning permission from developments in areas regarded as susceptible to rising sea levels.

The Climate Project was founded in November 2006 as a non-profit organisation. It consists of 3,600 volunteers around the world trained by former USA Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore to alert people to the harmful effects of climate change. Worldwide, presenters from The Climate Project have spoken to more than 7.3 million people about the need to maintain the climate balance on which human life and society depend.

Illustration taken from the poster for the movie 'An Inconvenient Truth'.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bridge campaign now on YouTube

The 'No Bayshore Avenue bridge' campaign has produced a video about its arguments and actions and posted it on YouTube.

The campaign against the proposed 'no limits' bridge in Bayshore Avenue, Clifton Springs, is led by the Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG), supported by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association. It has generated a petition signed by 864 local residents, a packed public meeting of 150 and 200-strong rally.

The 8-minute video features some good stills and footage from those events:

Climate change - what could it mean for the Bellarine?

People on the Bellarine have the chance to see an updated version of 'An Inconvenient Truth', by former USA Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore.

The latest version of the Academy Award-winning documentary will feature in a public meeting about climate change on Friday 21 October at 7.30 at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre. Presenter Damian Paull of The Climate Project will talk about the effects of the documentary and highlight its implications for the Bellarine Peninsula.

'I think that a broad cross section of the community is concerned with climate change, as shown by the recent rallies supporting the idea of a price on carbon', said Paull. 'Increasingly, mainstream Australia is concerned about the effects of climate change; and economic debates have to address climate change - especially the question of who is going to pay for it now.'

Damian Paull is CEO of the Code Compliance Monitoring Committee, which ensures that banks meet criteria of good banking practice. The Climate Project was founded in November 2006 as a non-profit organisation. It consists of 3,600 volunteers around the world trained by former USA Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore to alert people to the harmful effects of climate change. Worldwide, presenters from The Climate Project have spoken to more than 7.3 million people about the need to maintain the climate balance on which human life and society depend.

The meeting is being supported by Drysdale Harvest Basket Group, the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) and the Drysdale Raw Foods Group.

A gold coin donation buys a light supper of local, 'low food miles' resources. RSVP for catering to Jill Pring (0411 238 465)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More shops, no vision

The City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) recently announced that by 2021, the Leopold shopping centre will expand to 65,000 square metres of shopping space from its present 5,ooo square metres and become the 'service centre' of the whole of the Bellarine Peninsula.

CoGG has designated the Leopold shopping centre as a 'sub-regional activity centre' (where do they get these names from?!), on a par with shopping centres in Waurn Ponds and Corio Village. Visitors to the expanded shopping centre can expect to find several supermarkets, major chain stores,mutiple small speciality shops and a cinema. As the Leopold shopping centre expands, the town's population is expected to expand also - to 15,000 from its present 10,000.

More shops but no vision
Obviously, the plan is welcome news for people in Leopold and elsewhere who want a lot more shopping. However, the council's announcements highlight yet again that its vision for the economic development of its peripheral communities is limited to shopping. The Leopold Sub-Regional Activity Centre will provide some new jobs on the Bellarine, but most of the jobs will be low-skilled, low-paid and with very limited career paths. Why are there no plans to provide other sorts of jobs? Indeed, does the council even know just what number and type of jobs will be associated with this expansion of Leopold’s shopping centre - and how that number compares with a planned population expansion of 5,000?

Centre versus periphery
Just as CoGG is developing central Geelong by turning towns on its periphery (including towns on the Bellarine) into dormitory towns that export their workforce and skills, so it now intends to develop Leopold by drawing-in spending/shopping from other towns on the Bellarine. In other words, just as the economic development of central Geelong is happening at the expense of Geelong's periphery, so the economic development of Leopold is set to happen at the expense of other towns on the Bellarine. CoGG's drive to expand the population of the Bellarine must be accompanied by plans for expand employment. As a rule of thumb, a new job should be created for each house built. That would at least start to match economic growth with population growth.

Another Westfield?
The opening of the Westfield shopping centre in central Geelong has been closely associated with the closure of many shops in central Geelong. Will a similar problem arise from the development of a major shopping centre in Leopold? Has the CoGG examined whether the closure of shops in central Geelong is due in any way to the opening of Westfield? If it has, how has it incorporated the results of that research into the plan for the Leopold centre? If it hasn't done such research, how does it know that the Leopold centre won't be associated with an equivalent rash of business closures on the Bellarine?

Finally, shopping centres such Waurn Ponds, Corio Village - and now Leopold - presuppose extensive car ownership and rely on people driving significant distances to them. This contradicts completely CoGG's stated ambition of becoming a low carbon economy as embodied in its new program, Future Proofing Geelong. A council that is serious about reducing carbon emissions in its boundaries would be planning to reduce the 'food miles' (more generally, the 'shopping miles') its citizens have to travel, not increase them by developing suburban 'big box' centres such as it is planning for Leopold.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gracie Rose grows up, but urban dam remains unfilled

It's time to say, 'Happy second month's birthday, Gracie Rose!'

Gracie Rose was born around the time that the City of Greater Geelong assured Ryan Court residents and DCSCA that a council-built 'urban dam' in their street would be filled-in and the area restored. Gracie Rose is celebrating her second month’s birthday, but the 'urban dam' remains untouched.

Since March, Ryan Court residents have watched as this urban dam filled with rainwater that fails to drain away as promised, and that has collected foam and oil slicks. In July, they asked DCSCA for assistance and, as a result, council officers told them that the dam would be filled-in. Indeed, council officers have said on several occasions that the dam would be filled in, each assurance accompanied by a date for the completion of the work that is later than the previous one. To create the dam took just two days, but to 'un-create' it has taken three months so far, with no end in sight.

Gracie Rose's grandmother is a Ryan Court resident. She keeps telling Gracie Rose about council officers' repeated assurances, but as Gracie Rose grows up, she's learning not to believe everything she hears! Happy birthday, Gracie Rose; see you again next month.

Jetty Road traffic lights - an 'idle' threat?

The temporary traffic lights controlling traffic on Jetty Road in Drysdale are a foretaste of the future, when permanent traffic lights will control the junction of Jetty Road and Wyndham Street.

At present, motorists and cyclists in Jetty Road are having to contend with long delays, because the western side of Jetty Road has been closed while new stormwater drains are laid to take the run-off from the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area. The roadworks are forcing pedestrians onto the eastern side of the road that is, however, part-occupied already by contractors' vehicles.

Contractors Drapers have said that once the drains are laid, a new pavement will be laid on top of them and a new crossroads will be created where Jetty Road will meet Wyndham Street on its eastern side and the new dual-carriageway road into the Growth Area on its western side. The roadworks are meant to finish by Christmas, when the crossroads will be controlled by new - permanent - traffic lights.

On present plans, that dual-carrriageway road opposite Wyndham Street will be the Growth Area's only point of entry and exit for some years. Only later will it continue south through the Growth Area to join the Geelong-Portarlington Road. Until then, vehicles wishing to access the Geelong-Portarlington Road will have to do so by driving south down Jetty Road, increasing the present congestion in that road and at the ensuing roundabout.

Further, on present plans, that dual-carrriageway road won't proceed to the northern end of the Growth Area at all. That is why the City of Greater Geelong (the planning authority for the developoment) is supporting a proposed 'no limits' bridge to enable construction vehicles to access the northern end of the Growth Area from Bayshore Avenue and across Griggs Creek. If that bridge is built, residents can look forward to still-greater congestion on Jetty Road as construction vehicles go up and down it carrying machinery and dirt into and out of the northern end of the Growth Area.

Traffic lights an environmental problem, say researchers
The City of Greater Geelong is installing traffic lights in Jetty Road just as other cities and communities are realising the economic and environmental costs of traffic lights and replacing them with roundabouts. The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association's Neil McGuinness has been reading the research and doing some calculations - here are the results.

Traffic should only have to stop to accommodate pedestrians, not to control traffic flow. Traffic lights are designed to bring traffic to a stop. Drivers then wait for the lights to change and, as they wait, their vehicles idle, polluting the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. When the lights change, drivers accelerate their vehicles to cruising speed, using more fuel than they would if they'd maintained their crusing speed and, therefore, creating more pollution than they would if they hadn't had to stop in the first place. Roundabouts, in contrast, keep traffic moving - perhaps moving slowly, but still moving.

An imaginary intersection
Let's assess the problems associated with traffic lights by conducting an 'environmental audit' of an imaginary intersection controlled by traffic lights. Let's start by making some assumptions about usage and time. Let's assume that between 7.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m., an average of 10 vehicles pass through the intersection each minute (i.e. an average of 600 vehicles/hour); and that each vehicle has to wait at a red light for an average of 30 seconds. On the basis of those assumptions, we can say that our imaginary lights-controlled intersection creates 60 hours a day of 'wasted' waiting time:
600 vehicles/hour x 12 hours x 30 seconds = 3,600 minutes, i.e. 60 hours a day of 'wasted' waiting time.

Now let's make some some assumptions about fuel costs. Let's assume that, on average, a stationary vehicle with its motor idling uses approx 1.5 litres of fuel per hour (i.e. 0.025 litres/minute) and that fuel costs $1.45 a litre. Thus, the cost of idling is approximately 3.6c/minute. (Fuel usage will depend, of course, on the vehicle's engine type, size and efficiency.) Now, let's add our assumption that our imaginary lights-controlled intersection 'wastes' 3,600 minutes a day. On the basis of those assumptions, we can now say that our imaginary intersection 'wastes' $129.60 in fuel a day:
3,600 minutes/day x 3.6c/minute = $129.60.

Finally, lets make some assumptions about the pollution costs of our imaginary lights-controlled intersection. Let's assume that each litre of fuel produces, when it's burnt, 2.4kg of carbon dioxide; that a stationary idling vehicle uses approx 1.5 litres per hour of fuel (i.e. 0.025 litres/minute); and that our imaginary lights-controlled intersection creates 3,600 minutes (60 hours) a day of 'wasted' waiting time. On the basis of those assumptions, we can now say that our imaginary intersection creates 216kg of carbon dioxide a day:
3,600 minutes/day x 0.025 litres/minute x 2.4kg = 216kg (0.216 tonnes).

The proposed Carbon Tax will assign Carbon Dioxide a value of $23 a tonne. On that basis, our imaginary intersection will cost us all $5.40 a day on top of the wasted fuel costs: 0.216 tonnes x $23/tonne = $4.97

In summary
On each day, our imaginary intersection controlled by traffic lights has these costs:
  • 60 hours of 'wasted' waiting time
  • $129.60 of 'wasted' fuel
  • 216kg of carbon dioxide
  • $4.97 of carbon tax.
You can use these assumptions and calculations to conduct your own audit of a real intersection controlled by traffic lights; and if you do that at each such intersection on your route to and from working, studying, etc., you can estimate the environmental costs of your daily commute. (It will give you something to do as you sit at the traffic lights!)

Once you've costed your commute to and from work, you can speculate on the likely environmental impact of new developments in Drysdale, such as the Jetty Road Growth Area and Central Walk. Neither of those developments is accompanied by any plans to create jobs locally for their residents. Consequently, each development will make Drysdale even more of a 'dorimitory town' for Geelong and Melbourne, as new residents are forced to commute there for work; and each new commuter will have their environmental impact increased by each intersection on their route that is controlled by traffic lights! Those impacts will start with the traffic lights in Jetty Road.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Planning for traffic and jobs

Traffic and transport emerged as a significant issue from a recent mid-term review of the City of Greater Geelong's Bellarine Strategic Plan (2006-2016).

More than fifty local people conducted the review on October 5 at a public meeting in Drysdale's SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre, called by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA).

People at the meeting acknowledged that recent changes to bus routes and frequency had improved local public transport, but reported that buses were having to contend with increasing local traffic, due to two developments. First, the number of heavy trucks is growing as the Corio Waste Disposal Centre closes and Drysdale becomes the major point of rubbish disposal in Geelong. This problem is worsened by the heavy construction vehicles associated with the developments in the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area; and will worsen further when work begins at the Central Walk estate south of Murradoc Road. Further, when the Aldi store in Murradoc Road opens in early 2012, this will inevitably attract still more traffic into the centre of Drysdale.

The second reason that local traffic is increasing is that Drysdale & Clifton Springs are becoming 'dormitory towns' for Geelong and Melbourne. The increasing population is forced to commute along roads that are crowded already and were never meant to cope with current traffic levels, let alone the levels that we'll see as the towns' population increses still further.

The City of Greater Geelong has declared Dysdale & Clifton Springs a 'growth zone', but it has no plans to match the increased local population with upgraded local roads. Instead, the council is pinning its hopes on plans for a Drysdale Bypass that doesn't even have a starting date. Nor are there any plans to provide new jobs for the new residents. The council proclaims proudly that its planned development at Armstrong Creek has job creation as an integral feature and DCSCA has applauded the initiative. However, we've paused in our applause long enough to argue that if the council can find the political will to make this happen at Armstrong Creek, it can make it happen in Drysdale & Clifton Springs.

Putting traffic and jobs together
DCSCA has said consistently that traffic management is linked inextricably with economic development, because in the absence of a growing local economy, new residents will be forced to commute elsewhere. We've argued that the local economy needs to grow in ways that will provide people with real choices over where they work; that will stem the tide of wealth and talent flowing out of our towns and into Geelong and Melbourne; and that will rein-in the ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gases produced by commuters' vehicles.

To make these ideas a practical reality, DCSCA President Doug Carson is in a project team based at the SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre that is creating a local training & economic development plan. In September and October, team members will visit every business in Drysdale & Clifton Springs, explaining the plan and how it can its benefit them. A Business Summit in November will be the basis of the first draft of the plan, which will be launched at DCSCA's next Public Meeting on 8 February 2012.

DCSCA is also investigating the feasibility of creating a light rail service on the Bellarine, which would reduce local petrol-based traffic and, in the process, create new local jobs. We will present our proposals for a Bellarine light rail service to a DCSCA Public Meeting on 2 May 2012, but here are a couple of possibilities:
  • A light rail service between Geelong and Drysdale. This service could be extended to Queenscliff, to link with the ferry; and the service could also be extended to Portarlington if another ferry service starts there.
  • A light rail 'Circle Line' running around the Bellarine and through each town (including ferry terminals), with a 'spur' connecting it with central Geelong and another 'spur' connecting it with Torquay.
DCSCA's interest in light rail is part of its program Going Green on the Bellarine, which aims to develop the local area as a showcase of tomorrow's 'green' economy. So far, the program has focused on introducing electric vehicles to the area as part of broader projects initiated by the City of Greater Geelong and by the former Victorian state government. These initiatives complement DCSCA's promotion of cycling and walking in another of its programs - The Open Spaces Network. This program aims to create a network of open spaces in Drysdale & Clifton Springs, each protected from 'development' by a 'Friends' group and all interconnected by walking/cycling trails.

If you'd like to learn more about Going Green on the Bellarine or about The Open Spaces Network, contact DCSCA at P.O. Box 581 Drysdale, Vic. 3222 or at

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beacon Point - 'just leave it alone' say residents.

People in Drysdale & Clifton Springs are concerned that the City of Greater Geelong's Masterplan for the Beacon Point Reserve in Clifton Springs would 'develop' this vital green open space with facilities such as barbeques, buildings and pathways.

Over fifty people discussed the future of Beacon Point at a public meeting on October 5 at Drysdale's SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre. The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) had called the meeting to gauge local people's views on the City of Greater Geelong's Belarine Strategic Plan, now halfway through its ten-year life.

The Reserve at Beacon Point was one of several items in the Strategic Plan with direct effects on Drysdale & Clifton Springs. Several speakers argued that the less done to Beacon Point the better because such facilities can, unless maintained well, fall into disrepair and become prey to vandalism. One speaker earned applause for suggesting a collective letter to the City of Greater Geelong that said 'Beacon Point - just leave it alone!'

Beacon Point is one of the sites in DCSCA's Open Spaces Network - a collection of open spaces protected from 'development', interconnected by walking and/or cycling tracks. DCSCA President explained that each site in the Open Spaces Network has its own group of 'Friends' and asked if anyone would like to be part of a Friends of Beacon Point. Fifteen people volunteered on the night and others have volunteered since. Doug Carson said that, 'The number of people volunteering for the Friends of Beacon Point shows clearly that local people are vitally interest in their towns and want the council to listen to them before it creates still further change in our community.'

Beacon Point was a focal point of a broader concern at the loss of open space and the continual erosion of the 'green belts' between the towns on the Bellarine Peninsula and there were calls for a 'no build' zone to surround each town. The one change that people want at Beacon Point was better access to the beach and a say in just where and how that access is constructed. Community Association President Doug Carson said, 'The current beach access built off the end of Cantata Way is almost unusable, and was built without any community involvement or discussion. Indeed, had the community had its say, the Cantata way access would never have been built there.'

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shadow Minister invites bridge protesters to Parliament

Victorian Shadow Planning Minister Brian Tee has invited supporters of the 'No Bayshore Avenue bridge' campaign to meet him at state Parliament.

The Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG) is heading the campaign against the proposed 'no limits' bridge in Bayshore Avenue, supported by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association. CSIRG had asked Mr. Tee for his support and in his reply, Mr Tee invited CSIRG to a rally that he is staging on the steps of Parliament House on 12 October at 1.00 p.m. At the rally, community groups will call on Planning Minister Matthew Guy to respond to their concerns about inappropriate development in their area, as he did recently at Philip Island.

Mr Guy said that he had stopped development at Phillip Island because the local community opposed it so strongly; and he has also that infrastructure should be built before houses, not the reverse. Could Clifton Springs be another Philip Island? In Clifton Springs, the local community is certainly opposing the proposed 'no limits' bridge in Bayshore Avenue very strongly (an 864-strong petition to Matthew Guy, a public meeting of more than 150 households and a rally of more than 200 people); and the proposed bridge will enable construction crews to build houses at the northern end of the Jetty Road Growth Area long before roads are constructed.

Of course, Ms. Miley Cyrus isn't Tweeting for Clifton Springs as she did for Philip Island! However, CSIRG believes that it has logic and ethics on its side. It continues to argue that the proposed bridge is bad planning policy and has bad outcomes for everyone in the area; and that the City of Greater Geelong should examine two positive alternatives to the bridge - a north-south road running the length of the Growth Area or a road from the west of the Growth Area into its northern end. (see 'Bridge protesters accentuate the positive' [4 October 2011] on this blog.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bridge proposal 'bad planning practice'

Campaigners against the proposed 'no limits' bridge in Bayshore Avenue, Clifton Springs have labelled the proposal 'bad planning practice'.

The Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG) is opposing the proposed bridge, which will be built to enable heavy construction vehicles to access land owned by property developers Bisinella at the northern end of the Jetty Road Growth Area. CSIRG is being supported and assisted in its campaign by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA).

CSIRG and DCSCA are arguing that the proposed bridge is not only completely inappropriate in such a local, minor road, it represents bad planning practice in two respects. First, it contradicts repeated undertakings by the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG). Every report produced by or for CoGG has identified the bridge as a continuation of a 'local, minor road' that services an exclusively residential area, yet the proposal is for a bridge that would carry heavy construction traffic. Second, the bridge proposal is part of a broader plan that will allow houses to be built before an access road to them is constructed. In current plans, there is no direct road leading into the Bisinella development from the rest of the Growth Area; and no access road into into the development will be built until 90 houses have ben built there. Planning Minister Matthew Guy has stated publicly that he believes that building houses first and roads second is inappropriate. The Bayshore bridge proposal is a clear instance of that sequence, yet the Minister refuses to 'call in' the proposal.

Bridge protesters accentuate the positive!

Organisers of the campaign against the 'no limits' bridge proposed for Bayshore Avenue in Clifton Springs are highlighting two positive alternatives to the bridge.

The Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG) remains implacably opposed to the proposed bridge, which will be built to enable heavy construction vehicles to access land owned by property developers Bisinella at the northern end of the Jetty Road Growth Area. CSIRG is being supported and assisted in its campaign by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA).

CSIRG are arguing that such a bridge is not only completely inappropriate in such a local, minor road, but also that heavy construction vehicles could access the land in question via two alternative routes. Each alternative would be more beneficial for the development of the Growth Area as a whole than the 'no limits' bridge being proposed by Bisinella and the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG).

The first alternative would be a major road running the whole length of the Jetty Road Growth Area, instead of stopping half-way, as it does at present. This would mean that all the developments in the Growth Area would be served by a road designed to carry heavy traffic, instead of the couple that have such a road so far. Why does the only major road in the whole Growth Area stop halfway through it? It appears that CoGG planners suddenly realised that they'd not specified a road into the northern end, panicked and designated the Bayshore Avenue bridge as the access to that land.

The second alternative would be a road into the west side of the Growth Area from McDermott Road. CoGG officers 'understand' that ‘rights of carriage’ exist over the land, so there should be no major legal issues involved. Such a road would run between the Growth Area and McDermott Road which, in tern, leads into Coryule Road.

Each alternative is an improvement on the proposed bridge for three reasons. Each alternative would:
  • reduce traffic congestion in Jetty Road and at the Jetty Road roundabout
  • prevent Bayshore Avenue becoming a 'rat run' for excavators and bulldozers
  • have no effect on people's way of life - unlike the proposed bridge.

CSIRG has invited Planning Minister Matthew Guy and local MPs David Koch and Lisa Neville to visit Bayshore Avenue and allow CSIRG representatives to show them the advantages of each of the two alternatives.

Meanwhile, the proposal for a 'no limits' bridge in Bayshore Avenue will be heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 26-27 October in Geelong Magistrate's Court. CSIRG and DCSCA are urging members and friends to come and support your neighbours!

2012 Festival of Glass 'bigger and better' - organisers

The City of Greater Geelong recently invested $6,000 in the 2012 Festival of Glass, which is close to having 40 exhibitors.

The Festival of Glass is an initiative of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) - publishers of this blog - and is organised by a DCSCA sub-committee. In February 2011, the inaugural Festival attracted 30 exhibitors and around 6,000 visitors, who crammed into Drysdale's Potato Shed. The organisers were overwhelmed with the number of visitors and immediately started to look for a bigger venue, which they found in the nearby Bellarine Basketball Stadium.

Festival organissrs are confident that the 2012 Festival of Glass will be bigger and better than the inaugural one. It will be bigger because, with four months still to go before the event, it has attracted almost 40 exhibitors, with more applications still arriving. It will be better because the exhibitors confirmed so far represent a broader selection of the multi-faceted world of glass, there will be more demonstrations, there will be classes associated with the Festival and - oh, there will be much more room in the new venue!

The City of Greater Geelong has shown its confidence in the 2012 Festival of Glass by investing $6,000 towards the costs of the Festival's infrastructure, marketing and promotion. The $6,000 is the result of an independent assessment of the 2012 Festival of Glass by the council's local experts in festival organisation. Their support reaffirms the vision behind the Festival and gives a tremendous boost to the artists, craftspeople and business who have agreed to participate in it.

The council invested a similar amount in the inaugural 2011 Festival of Glass and the Festival Committee is grateful for the continuing support and encouragement of officers in the council's Arts and Culture Department and of local councillors Rod Macdonald and John Doull.

The Festival organisers have developed a five-year Business Plan for the Festival and are seeking sponsors to broaden and diversify the Festival's funding.

Festival of Glass website:
Festival of Glass blog:

Illustration: glass clock - 'Rise and Shine' - by V.A. Glass (exhibitor at 2012 Festival of Glass)