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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org