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Friday, November 25, 2011

Our region's future - have your say

In early December, people on the Bellarine Peninsula can comment on the Regional Growth Plan being developed by the G21 - a formal alliance of government, business and community organisations across Greater Geelong, Colac-Otway, Surf Coast, Golden Plains and Queenscliffe councils.

Between December 2 and December 11, G21 will hold 'listening posts' at which local people can say how they would like the region to develop. The 'listening posts' exercise is part of a broader consultation process to shape a draft G21 Regional Growth Plan, which will be released for comment in April 2012.

Local 'listening posts' are as follows:
Friday 2 December 4pm - 6pm The Terrace, Ocean Grove
Saturday 3 December 9am - 11am Barwon Heads Market, Cnr. Hitchcock Avenue and Ozone Street, Barwon Heads
Thursday 8 December 12pm - 2pm Hesse Street, Queenscliff
Saturday 10 December 9am - 11am Newcombe Street, Portarlington
Saturday 10 December 12pm - 2pm High Street, Drysdale/Clifton Springs
Saturday 10 December 3pm - 5pm Gateway Plaza Bellarine Highway, Leopold
Sunday 11 December 10am -12pm - Point Lonsdale Primary School Market, Bowen Road, Point Lonsdale

People who are unable to attend a 'listening post' can have their say at an online forum at; and there is also a G21 Regional Growth Plan website:

Consultations about the G21 Regional Growth Plan started in late September with workshops in Colac and central Geelong. At these workshops, representatives of state and local government, community and environment groups, business and industry groups and the land development industry discussed some basic principles that should guide the Plan's development.

What is a 'regional growth plan'?
The G21 Regional Growth Plan is one of eight such plans being developed across Victoria. It is being developed in response to anticipated growth in the Geelong region's population, which is expected to reach 500,000 by 2050, approximately 200,000 more people than today. It will plan for population, employment and associated infrastructure (e.g. transport and other services).

DCSCA members and friends will be among the local people participating in the consultations and DCSCA will be watching the exercise carefully to ensure that it is as inclusive as it should be.*

DCSCA has argued consistently that planned population growth should be accompanied by planned economic growth. G21 - like the City of Greater Geelong - asserts that this is its approach, too, but there has been no sign of that approach in recent developments in Drysdale & Clifton Springs. DCSCA has also argued that a combination of local economic development (reducing commuting to Geelong or Melbourne) and significantly improved public transport (including, perhaps, a Bellarine light rail system) would reduce traffic congestion and pollution significantly and prevent Drysdale & Clifton Springs becoming mere dormitory towns for Geelong and Melbourne.

Finally, DCSCA has argued that the City of Greater Geelong's Bellarine Strategic Plan and its Structure Plans for each town should direct the region's growth. However, while the Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs calls for greater housing diversity and the retention of the town's rural character, recent local developments meet neither criterion. This has to cast doubt on the validity of further exercises in planning, although other Bellarine towns have had quite different experiences around their Structure Plans.

What is 'G21'?
G21 consists of over 300 community leaders and specialists, who work to create better co-ordinated research, consultation and planning across the five councils - Greater Geelong, Colac-Otway, Surf Coast, Golden Plains and Queenscliffe . G21 is also the Strategic Planning Committee for the Geelong region, responsible for developing and implementing the region’s strategic plan. Most of G21’s financial support comes from the five councils it represents, along with government grants and its membership.

* DCSCA has long criticised the City of Greater Geelong's approach to consultation, which has excluded key voices; and - in concert with the Affiliation of Bellarine Community Associations - we have submitted a positive alternative consultation policy to the council (with no acknowledgement, let alone a proper response).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Greater safety on Jetty Road!

Pedestrians and cyclists can expect much safer travel on Jetty Road when the current construction work is complete in early 2012.

DCSCA's Neil McGuiness reports that DCSCA has pressed the City of Greater Geelong to make Jetty Road safer and, in particular, to improve the cycle track between Wyndham street and Griggs Creek. So we were pleased to hear that as part of the current construction work on Jetty Road, a 2.5m concrete path will be created on the road's western side. The two-way path will run from a point 170m south of Coriyule Road to a point 120m north of Griggs Creek and will be shared by pedestrians and cyclists. It will be separated from the road by 1.25m.

These improvements to Jetty Road take us a step closer to DCSCA's vision of an Open Spaces Network - a collection of open spaces protected from development and linked by a network of cycling/walking trails. We have three suggested trails:
  • A Northern Trail: Drysdale Station, to the town centre, to the Recreation Reserve (Market area), to McLeods Waterholes, to Griggs Creek, to the Bay, to the Boat Ramp, to Drysdale station.
  • A Southern Trail: Drysdale Station, to Lake Lorne, to the Basin, to Drysdale station.
  • A Bayside Trail: Drysdale station, to the town centre, to Beacon Point, to The Dell, to the Boat Ramp, to Drysdale station.
On each trail, we'd like to see signs and leaflets directing cyclists and walkers to scenic locations, popular destinations and places of interest. Jetty Road has been a sticking point for the Northern Trail, so the improvements will take us a step closer to our vision of a network of safe cycling/walking trails in our community.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Combined celebrations for Gracie Rose!

Gracie Rose is looking forward to a celebration that combines her birthday with the long overdue filling-in of a dangerous 'urban dam' in Ryan Court, Drysdale!

Gracie Rose was born in July - 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. Since March, Ryan Court residents had watched as this urban dam filled with rainwater that failed to drain away as promised, and that soon 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.

One of the Ryan Court residents is Gracie Rose's grandmother, who has kept her informed of developments. As each month passed, Gracie Rose celebrated her monthly birthday ... but the dangerous dam remained untouched. After two months - on September 13 - we asked, 'How many more sleeps for Gracie Rose before the Ryan Court dam is filled-in?' Ryan Court residents (and DCSCA) continued to press the council to fill-in the dam in their street and Gracie Rose continued to celebrate her monthly birthdays - four in all, which is a lot of sleeps!

Now, the Ryan Court 'urban dam' is being filled-in - four months after it was promised. Plans are afoot for a celebration that combines Gracie Rose's four-month birthday with the dam's disappearance. An invitation probably won't be sent to the council contractor who said recently that they couldn't fill-in the dam because it was too wet!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hopping on and off in Collins Street

Residents of Collins Street, Drysdale can now hop on and off the Route 79 bus, because DCSCA has helped to get their bus stop upgraded.

In mid-September, Collins Street residents asked DCSCA for help. Elderly and infirm people were finding it extremely difficult or impossible to get on/off the Route 79 (Portarlington-Geelong) bus, especially if they had walkers and/or bags with them, because the bus stop outside Christian College in Collins Street, Drysdale had very poor road surface and no proper gutter. Even a bus’s raising/lowering platform wasn’t enough to compensate for the condition of the road at this bus stop. The next bus stop (where the road surface is more satisfactory) is too long a walk away for elderly and infirm people, so effectively, these people were denied access to a public transport service that is meant to be available to everyone.

DCSCA phoned the state Department of Transport in late September, then e-mailed the Department photographs of the bus stop in early October. After a follow-up e-mail in late October, the Department said that it had raised the issue at a recent meeting with the City of Greater Geelong and that it would 'put in a bid for funding'. (Right: the original bus stop.)

Subsequently, an upgraded bus stop appeared in Collins Street like a mushroom overnight! Reports from locals describe it as, ‘very impressive’ and ‘a bus stop up graded to the highest standard of our expectations ... (with) ... a proper kerb and channel, a generous slab of concrete for pavement, and (a) repaired the road surface. On the village side there is now a fixed seat.’ Thanks have been expressed to all concerned, especially the state Department of Transport.

What a pleasure to report a positive outcome!

Festival of Glass an attractive investment

The Bendigo Bank has shown its confidence in the 2012 Festival of Glass by investing $2,500 in sponsorship. The money will help to pay for the costs of the Festival's infrastructure, marketing and promotion.

The Bendigo Bank’s sponsorship of the 2012 Festival builds on its support and encouragement for the inaugural Festival of Glass in 2011 and shows potential sponsors that this innovative event is gaining a positive reputation from which they can benefit.

The Bank's support follows an announcement by City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr. John Mitchell that the City will invest $6,000 in the 2012 Festival of Glass, which he described as 'an innovative festival (that) is already stirring considerable interest among glassmakers and fans around Australia.'

'Ticks of approval' from these two major local funders reaffirm the vision behind the Festival and give a tremendous boost to the artists, craftspeople and business participating in it. They also show potential sponsors that the Festival of Glass has a growing positive reputation from which they can benefit.

Exhibitors investing Exhibitors at the 2012 Festival of Glass are also investing in its success. More than forty exhibitors - many of them local - have booked spaces already, three months before the Festival; and eighteen of them have donated items worth a total of $1,520 to the 2012 Festival of Glass raffle.

Doug Carson, Chairperson of the Festival Committee said, 'The Festival Committee has been (almost!) overwhelmed by the response and we really appreciate it. The number and value of items donated is a strong vote of confidence by local glass artists and craftspeople in the Festival’s potential to promote their work. It’s also clear evidence that the Festival has the potential to become a major showcase of local glass art, craft and industry, driven by the active support of local glass workers. The more that the Festival generates broad and active support such as this, the more viable it becomes. So a big "Thank you" to those exhibitors who have donated items.'
(Illustration: VA Glass)

DCSCA meets Cllr. John Doull (7)

On 11 November, DCSCA Committee members met Councillor John Doull at City Hall. This was the seventh of the quarterly meetings that DCSCA has initiated with the two City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) Councillors whose wards coincide with DCSCA's area - the other is Councillor Rod Macdonald, whom we met on 4 November.

Beacon Point Reserve Masterplan
Continuing our discussions about the proposed Beacon Point Reserve at our last two meetings*, Cr. Doull said that he wanted the Masterplan in place so that the Reserve had some sort of protection. We told Cr. Doull that a 'Beacon Point Friends' group has started; he said that he would be happy to meet the group. ('Beacon Point Friends' was formed as a result of a DCSCA Public Meeting on October 5, but is independent of DCSCA.)
(* 'DCSCA meets Cr. John Doull [6]', 11 August 2011; 'DCSCA meets Cr. John Doull [5]' 12 May 2011 on this blog.)

Bellarine Lookout
Continuing our discussion about the proposed Bellarine Lookout at our last meeting*, Cr. Doull said that CoGG has withdrawn the review, as it was not happy with the consultant’s report on the issue. CoGG wants a lookout on the Bellarine and is aware of the economic value associated with its location. Thus, while Cr Doull accepts the ec onomic value of locating the lookout in Drysdale, his ward also includes other towns on the north of the Bellarine Peninsula. Further consultation with local people on this issue will occur in 2012.
(* 'DCSCA meets Cr. John Doull [6]' 11 August 2011 on this blog.)

Traffic matters
Cr Doull said that the decision as to whether to place 'Welcome to Drysdale' signs on Murradoc Road and on Portarlington Rd will not be taken until another project is completed. He has spoken to CoGG's City Services and to VicRoads about making the traffic lights in Drysdale High Street flash amber (similar to those in Ryrie Street, central Geelong).

Coastal matters
Cr. Doull reported on a number of issues related to the coastline at Drysdale & Clifton Springs:
The Boat Harbour. Dredging has been set back a week by the contractors.
Coastal erosion. CoGG is monitoring the slippage at The Dell and will shortly review the erosion at Edgewater, with a view to reducing the wave impact on the cliff face (e.g. installing more groynes, a sea wall). Cr. Doull has discussed this issue with CoGG CEO Stephen Griffin and with CoGG Mayopr Cr. John Mitchell. Work on the Dell itself is being considered, including replacing asphalt with grass in areas that don't need it.

Town matters
We told Cr. Doull that there is concern about vandalism occurring at the end of Beacon Point Road. We also raised the future of the fountain (currently unused) in Clifton Springs. The Clifton Springs Golf Club has apparently discussed creating a fountain in their lakes and DCSCA is keen to see a piece of sculpture in the town that better reflects its current character.

Drysdale bypass
We emphasised that a bypass is extremely important for the health of the town and that the only way to minimise the current effects of traffic going through the roundabouts and the High Street is to give heavy vehicles and through traffic an alternative route.

Cr. Doull agreed, but said that he - like CoGG in general - regards a Ring Road from the Surf Coast Highway to the Bellarine Highway as a higher priority. We replied that we support that proposed Ring Road and would like to see a cycle path alongside it, connecting the proposed Barwon Riverside Trail to the Rail Trail.

However, a Drysdale bypass is a greater priority for local people. Not only would it make the town safer for both motorists and pedestrians, it could also contribute significantly to the town's economic development, especially in concert with an extension of the 'Light Industrial' zone in Murradoc Road. DCSCA

Next meeting
DCSCA's next quarterly meeting with Cr. Doull will be on Thursday 2 February 2012 at 10.30 a.m. at City Hall. Any residents of the Drysdale/Clifton Springs area are welcome to ask DCSCA to raise any issue of concern with Cr. Doull.