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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DCSCA comments on town square proposals

DCSCA has lodged a substantial submission with the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) concerning its proposals to remodel Drysdale's 'town square', including extending the shopping complex.

CoGG’s proposals are in a glossy booklet, copies of which are available at the CoGG Customer Service Centre. The council held an information session at the Senior Citizens' club on the evening of Wednesday 6 July and has invited public comment on the proposals by July 29th.

In its submission, DCSCA congratulated the City of Greater Geelong for the thoroughness of its consultation exercise and the resources it has expended on it. It asked how the council would respond to the submissions, to demonstrate that the consultation was meaningful; and it asked how much the exercise had cost and whether the council had borne the whole cost.

A summary of DCSCA's 4-page submission follows.

The proposals offer several benefits. They could refresh the area, enhancing its attractiveness and utility, reinforcing its role as a focal point of the town and boosting connectivity within the town centre. They could also resolve the current mix of gradients, improving access by cyclists and by pedestrians. A small children’s play area should be considered; parents/carers could watch children from the rotunda.

There are two problems with the proposals: they involve the sale of part of the ‘own square’ to support the extension of the shopping complex; and they add no more parking spaces to accommodate increased custom in the extended shopping complex. (The current car park has less than the regulation number of spaces; extending the complex without adding car parking will worsen an already bad situation.)

There are several omissions from the proposals. These include the future of the rotunda, the library and the customer service centre; the traffic implications of the proposed new offices in Hancock Street; the relations with the forthcoming upgrades to Drysdale High Street; and any consideration of how the proposals could provide an ‘energy dividend’, e.g. by increasing energy efficiency in lighting, heating and cooling systems.

Monday, July 25, 2016

DCSCA drafts a strategy for landfill advisory group

DCSCA is a member of a Community Consultation Group created by the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) to advise it on the management of the Drysdale Landfill site (aka 'the tip'!).

CoGG launched the group at a public meeting in Drysdale on 7 June 2016 and DCSCA intends to be an active member. To that end, it has drafted a Waste Management Strategy, which it intends to present at the Group's next meeting in August.
DCSCA's draft strategy follows.

1.      Aims
Operations at the Drysdale Landfill site should accord with the Barwon Region Waste Management Plan, which should aim to provide the Barwon Region with a best practice Waste Management Plan meeting community expectations; and to promote sustainable built and natural environments.

The Barwon Region Waste Management Plan should meet its aims through four inter-related strategies: minimise the waste dumped at landfill sites; minimise the cost and maximise the convenience of dumping waste at landfill sites; minimise the social, environmental and health-related dangers of illegal dumping of waste; recycle as much as possible of the waste dumped at landfill sites.

Each of those four strategies should have a measurable target and success in meeting each target should be published each year, to promote continuous improvement. E.g.: 70% of customers ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’ with waste disposal in the region; 10% of litter, odour and run-off from the site.

DCSCA Questions. 1. Does the Barwon Region Waste Management Plan and the Drysdale Landfill site each have its own Objectives Statement? If so .... 2. Can the Consultative Group propose amendments to either Objectives Statement?

2.      Specific objectives
Operations at the Drysdale Landfill site should meet the following objectives:
2.1 Reduce waste. Set annual targets and publishing the results. E. g. phase out single use plastic bottles and plastic bags; teach people a) to reduce the waste they generate and b) to dispose of it selectively into the yellow, green and purple bins; encourage manufacturers a) to reduce their packaging and b) to make their products more easily disposable.
2.2 Re-use waste. Set annual targets and publish the results. E. g. increase the efficiency of material separation and recycling at recycling and waste disposal centres; create a clean site for waste disposal within a 20 mt. drive of each resident of the Barwon Region.
2.3 Recycle waste. Set annual targets and publish the results. E. g. encourage shops to have bins for returning packaging (e.g. bottles, boxes) to manufacturers. Institute an annual award for best performing shop; encourage manufacturers to use the trucks that collect and deliver their goods to shops to carry returned packaging (especially packaging that combines plastic, cardboard and foam) on their return journeys. Institute an annual award for best performing manufacturer. (The manufacturers create the waste, councils and private recycling companies shouldn’t have to clear it up.)
2.4 Generate income from waste to offset costs. Set annual targets and publish the results. E. g. recover precious metals from computers and mobile phones and sell as ‘raw materials’ to local industry to promote the local economy; separate metal, plastic, rubber, paper/cardboard (others?) and sell as 'raw materials' to local industry to promote the local economy; generate power with gases 'harvested' from waste and through high temperature incineration of toxic material; generate wood chips and mulch from 'green waste' and sell to the public.
2.5 Treat waste more efficiently and effectively. Set annual targets and publish the results.
2.6 Dispose of waste more efficiently and effectively. Set annual targets and publish the results. E.g. make disposal easier through providing bins dedicated to product types (e.g., batteries, scrap metal, computers/phones, furniture, beds & bedding); dispose of asbestos separately from general waste; seal it in non-permeable material and burry it in marked sites, to minimise health risks. (At present, asbestos waste is mixed-in with general waste at the tip face.); dispose of paint, chemicals, etc. separately from general waste, to minimise a) health risks and b) illegal dumping.
2.7 Work towards ‘Zero Waste’. Publish progress each year.

DCSCA Questions. 1. What can be done to reduce the cost of a trip to the tip? Illegal dumping is increasing in the Barwon Region, largely due to the high cost and difficulty of a trip to the tip. This could entail a 2 hour round trip, an outlay of over $60, a difficult reversing manoeuver with a trailer and unloading potentially hazardous objects from a trailer. It could also result in a muddy car and trailer.
2. Why is there a charge to dump green waste? Other councils make no charge for green waste. Why does CoGG charge to dump green waste AND mulch and sell it? (A ‘double dip’ at the tip!)

Geelong administrators encourage community engagement

DCSCA members heard the three administrators of the Greater Geelong City Council outline their ambitions at a community engagement meeting the administrators ran at Parks Hall, Portarlington on 20 July at 5.30pm.
Geelong City Hall

The administrators are acting as the Greater Geelong City Council, which the Victorian government dismissed on 16 April 2016, appointing Yehudi Blacher as interim administrator. The three administrators are Dr. Kathy Alexander (chairperson), Peter Dorling and Laurinda Gardner. They were appointed on 25 May 2016 and will run the council until elections are held in 2017 for a new council. At this meeting, they were accompanied by six senior council officers.

Administrators’ responsibilities
Dr. Alexander outlined the administrators’ responsibilities as follows:
1. To create a ‘citizens jury’ through which the community can have its say on how the City of Greater Geelong should be governed; to report quarterly to the Minister for Local Government on progress and on issues of concern; and to recommend actions to the Minister.
2. To create a thirty year Vision and Strategy for the municipality.
3. To recommend how the City of Greater Geelong should be governed from 2017. The administrators want to involve all parties and interests in these decisions, so they will seek comment from the community, e.g. through more community engagement forums.
4. To design a Community Communication Strategy.

No more piecemeal development
There followed a question and answer session. Most questions concerned issues at Portarlington, but there was also a call for development in/of Drysdale to be more coordinated and inclusive, rather than the piecemeal approach adopted to date. In response, CoGG’s William Tieppo said that Vic Roads would aim to coordinate the various developments; and subsequently, VicRoads and CoGG have created a Project Control Group to co-ordinate the planning and transport matters that link the Drysdale bypass, the improvements to the High Street and the proposals concerning the future of the ‘town square’.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Let's talk rubbish!

DCSCA has been invited to join a Community Consultation Group for the Drysdale Landfill site.

The Group was launched officially at a public meeting on 7 June 2016 at the SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre. The City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) manages the Drysdale Landfill site (aka the Drysdale tip!) and called this public meeting.

People at the meeting agreed that local people should be able to have their say about the landfill site through formal and informal channels – regular meetings of a formal Consultation Group and informal occasions when people can talk to Council staff about waste related issues. Occasionally, guests could be invited to discuss how the Drysdale site fits into broader waste management issues, such as:
·      the Barwon South West Regional Resource Recovery group, which produces a rolling Plan that informs operations at local landfill sites between Portland and Geelong
·      the Regional Waste Forum and its Reference Group.

CoGG manages the site and, as such, will take decisions about it. The role of the Community Consultation Group will be to inform the council’s decisions. It remains to be seen just what influence the Community Consultation Group can have.