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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let's plan NOW for a Drysdale bypass!

There has been a lot of interest recently in the proposed Drysdale bypass, but without careful planning it could take away trade as it takes away traffic.

Local papers have reported recently that the case for a Drysdale bypass has been strengthened by the closure of the Corio tip and the subsequent increase in the number of garbage trucks travelling through Drysdale. In the Geelong Advertiser (14 December), Tom Bennett wrote, 'From Monday January 2, 90 per cent of Geelong's rubbish will end up at the Drysdale landfill on the Bellarine Peninsula. It means about 30 large semi-trailer sized vehicles will be funnelled through central Drysdale en route to the tip each week.'

Similarly, the front page story in The Echo (15 December) said, 'Calls for a Drysdale bypass road are getting louder as the town braces for an influx of Geelong garbage trucks in the new year.' The story quoted local ward councillor Rod Macdonald: 'the state government must make a commitment to the concept of a bypass'; and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville: 'The addition of garbage trucks ... places added pressure on municipal and state authorities to commit to the bypass.'

The proposed bypass was also a focus of discussions in recent council-run workshops to sketch the future of Drysdale town centre. At those workshops, local people said that a bypass would make Drysdale a safer and more pleasant place to live, work and visit. However, they also said that a bypass could either strengthen or weaken the local economy, depending on how it was implemented.

A good idea?
A Drysdale bypass will offer a quicker alternative route to semi-trailers and trucks travelling through the town, making it a safer and more pleasant place. However, it will offer convenience of this alternative route to all traffic - semi-trailers, trucks, vans, cars, bikes and motor bikes. The makes it less likely that their drivers will stop - and shop - in Drysdale.

So despite the growing support for a Drysdale bypass, it won't necessarily - and by itself - improve the quality of life in the town. As it takes away traffic, it could also take away trade and weaken the local economy. However, with careful planning and preparation, a Drysdale bypass could not just relieve traffic but also boost the local economy.

A bypass is like a coin with two sides. On one side of the coin is a town in decline because travellers are - literally - bypassing it; on the other side is a town that is booming because it has acted to increase its attractiveness to locals and travellers alike. Planning for a Drysdale bypass could be a defence against potential loss of trade, but the bypass could also be an 'excuse' to positively rethink the town to make it even more attractive, vibrant and successful than it is already.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A new future for central Drysdale?

Local people, planning consultants and council officers sketched a new future for central Drysdale at a two-day 'Inquiry By Design' workshop on December 7-8 at SpringDale neighbourhood centre in Drysdale High Street.

Day one of the workshop started with an invitation to participants to identify what they thought were the good and bad features of the current town centre, especially in light of the town's increasing population. In the next session, participants suggested features of the town centre that needed to change - and those that should remain. People raised a variety of issues, including traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, the 'look and feel' of the town centre, poor public transport and the need to offer the expanding population a variety of jobs, rather than rely solely on shops and tourism. On day two, the consultants spent the morning collating all the material from day one's discussions into a presentation to the participants, which ran from 3.30-5.00 p.m.

Some new ideas
The consultants' presentation created great interest. It contained several radical proposals, including creating a permanent shelter for a farmers' market in the space between the side entrance of the Safeways complex and the rank of shops opposite; making the roundabout in front of the Drysdale Hotel pedestrian-controlled and diffusing traffic away from it by creating new linking roads (e.g. between Collins Street and Murradoc Road); ensuring that new buildings faced their streets, rather than back onto them; and making any expansion of Safeways contingent on the development of a 'civic centre' facing the green and rotunda. There were also proposals to make Murradoc Road more attractive, e.g. by creating a service road in front of the current light industrial units, landscaping both sides of the road, installing proper footpaths and encouraging 'al fresco' dining near to the Aldi site.

... and the bypass??
The council had asked the consultants to create a draft 'Masterplan' for the town centre, thereby excluding any considertion of the proposed Drysdale bypass. However, local people at the workshop insisted that any discussion about the town centre should include the issue of the bypass.

A Drysdale bypass would address many of the town's current problems, including traffic congestion and pedestrian safety. The need for a bypass has been increased significantly by the closure of the rubbish tip at Corio, sending still more heavy trucks carrying rubbish from the rest of Geelong through the town to the Drysdale tip. Also, a bypass at Murradoc Road's eastern end would offer very good transport links to Geelong, increasing the likelyhood that new businesses would want to establish themselves in Murradoc Road.

What next?
The consultants will collate their presentation and participants' responses into a detailed report, which they will submit to the City of Greater Geelong by the end of this year. In early 2012, the council will publish the report and its response to it as a draft 'Masterplan' for Drysdale town centre, on which it will invite comments from the community. After that public consultation, the council will publish a final 'Masterplan' for the town centre, which it will then seek to have included in the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme.

While the workshop was a success in its own terms, it was organised in a way made it almost impossible for certain types of people to attend:
People at work could only attend if they could afford to take take one or two days off work AND get permission to do so. This might not be a problem for middle class professionals, but it certainly would be for anyone else at work. Local business owners faced the same problem, of course.
Parents of young children couldn't easily set aside two days for a workshop and, even if they could, there were no child care arrangements in place to enable them to do so.
Parents of school-aged children couldn't necessarily arrange for someone to take their children to and from their school and, anyway, might not want their children returning to an empty house.
School students could only attend if they were able to take one or two days off school. This might be an attractive option to the students (!), but the absence of any young people at the workshop showed that it wasn't necessarily feasible.

DCSCA officers at the workshop did their best to think about what people in each of those absent groups might want to say about the future of the twon centre and to present those views effectively. However, nothing is as good as people presenting their own views and it's unfortunate that the workshop was arranged in such a way that they were unable to do so.

Lessons learned?
It's never possible to make arrangements that suit everybody, of course. However, DCSCA has criticised the council consistently for its inflexible approach to public consultation and has offered many positive suggestions for improvement, which have been ignored. With a little thought, the organisers of this workshop could have offered local people a variety of ways in which to participate, rather than having to turn up each day. This workshop offered many lessons concerning public participation - it remains to be seen whether the council applies those lessons in the next stage of this particular consultation process - inviting public comment on the draft 'Masterplan'.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thunderous reception for G21 'Listening Post' in Drysdale

Thunderstorms rolling around the Bellarine Peninsula on the morning of Saturday December 10 didn't stop local people making their voices heard at G21's Drysdale 'listening post'.

The 'listening post' was open between 12.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. opposite the side entrance to the Safeway complex. Despite the thunderstorms, lots of people dropped in to say how they want the region to develop. The listening post's two G21 staff did say, however, that it was sometimes hard to hear people over the drumming of the rain on the roof!

Drysdale's listening post was one of thirty held during November and December by the G21 organisation, which is a formal alliance of governments, businesses and communities across five councils - Greater Geelong, Colac-Otway, Surf Coast, Golden Plains and Queenscliff. The listening posts are part of broader consultations to shape a draft G21 Regional Growth Plan, which will be released for public comment in April 2012.

Regional Growth - 3 options
The Growth Plan is intended to manage the pressures on land-use, environment, employment, infrastructure and services accompanying population growth in the G21 region, which is expected to grow from the current 290,000 to around 500,000 by 2050. The current G21 consultations invite people to comment on three possible options for the region's growth:
1. 'Growing in' would consolidate and build on existing towns and villages, creating denser population centres. Less natural and agricultural land would be 'developed', enabling the region to retain and highlight its natural features.

2. 'Shared growth' would consolidate growth in existing dedicated growth zones (Drysdale, Ocean Grove and Lara) AND create a Geelong-Colac 'growth corridor', with towns like Birregurra and Inverleigh spreading outwards onto existing natural and agricultural land.

3. 'Growing out' would create new towns and communities in 'greenfield' sites (natural and agricultural land) along existing major transport routes.

The G21 staff at Drysdale's listening post said that most of their visitors had preferred either the 'Growing in' or 'Shared growth' options, or some combination of the two. Local people were concerned that the 'Growing in' option could lead to higher-rise buildings in inappropriate locations, including small country towns like Drysdale & Clifton Springs. They were very concerned that the 'Growing out' option would mean wall-to-wall buildings that would rob the region (and especially the Belarine Peninsula) of its unique characteristics.

DCSCA's response to the options
DCSCA is a local community association and so our focus is generally on the issues that matter to people in our local community. However, many of those 'local' issues are 'regional' ones, too and so our views on local issues can often be generalised into views on regional ones, as follows:
1. Integrated growth would link population growth with planned growth in local economies and transport, preventing regional towns and communities becoming mere 'dormitories' for central Geelong or Melbourne.
2. Sustainable growth would improve the quality and reach of public transport (including, perhaps, a Bellarine light rail system), reducing traffic congestion and pollution significantly
3. Democratic growth would actively encourage the growth and strength of local citizenship by encouraging local communities to participate in the design and enactment of growth plans AND giving them the resources (time, space, money and access to expertise) with which to do so, rather than relying exclusively on the good will of 'the usual suspects'.

* People can have their say at an online forum at www.G21regionalgrowthplan.com.au
There is also a G21 Regional Growth Plan website: http://g21regionalgrowthplan.com.au/

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 www.G21regionalgrowthplan.com.au; and there is also a G21 Regional Growth Plan website: http://g21regionalgrowthplan.com.au/

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.

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojnEyy0RxlI

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 dryclift@bigpond.com

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: www.festivalofglass.net.au
Festival of Glass blog: http://festivalofglass.blogspot.com


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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How many more sleeps for 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. A month later, Gracie Rose has celebrated her first month’s birthday, but the 'urban dam' remains.

Since March, Ryan Court residents have 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 .... or, rather, the lack of any. It would be nice if Gracie Rose's second month’s birthday could also be a celebration of the dam’s removal, but at the moment, that’s looking unlikely.

Any guesses on how many more sleeps for Gracie Rose before the Ryan Court 'urban dam' is filled-in?

Bridge protesters rally in red

Two hundred residents attended a rally and 'ribbon-tying ceremony' at Bayshore Avenue, Clifton Springs on Sunday 11 September to protest against a proposed bridge from Bayshore Avenue across Griggs Creek.

The rally was organised by the Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG), which is leading the proposed bridge. Property developers Bisinella has applied for a permit to build the bridge, which would be the only point of access for construction vehicles entering and leaving its land at the northern end of the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area, where it intends to build a high-end housing estate.

CSIRG had leafletted the area extensively, inviting people to the rally, asking them to wear red and suggesting that they tie red ribbon to their fences, letter boxes, etc.

Locals wearing a variety of red clothing applauded as one of the area's oldest residents, Max Christie, tied a ribbon carrying a 'STOP' sign across Bayshore Avenue, under a sign saying 'No Bridge!'

CSIRG spokesperson Gary Dean said that he was 'overwhelmed' by the community's response to the rally. 'Council has been ignoring the concerns of Clifton Springs residents, he said. 'I haven't met anyone who isn't against the bridge.'

The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) has been assisting CSIRG and supported the rally. DCSCA Secretary Patrick Hughes said, 'People don't want this bridge and they don't need it. The only people who need it are Bisinella and they only need it because the council has failed to require for a north-south road within the Growth Area.'

Bisinella's application to build the bridge will be considered by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 26-27 October in Geelong Magistrates Court.

For background, see these articles on this blog:
'A troubling bridge over local waters' [19 August]
'Interest grows in "rogue bridge"' [25 August]
'Bridge protesters go public' [2 September]
'Rally in Red!' [8 September]
'Packed hall says "No" to bridge' [9 September]

Geelong mayor 'sympathetic' to bridge protesters

City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr. John Mitchell today told representatives of the Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG) that he sympathised with their concerns about a proposed road bridge from Bayshore Avenue in Clifton Springs across Griggs Creek and into the northern end of the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area.

Property developer Bisinella has applied for a permit to build the bridge, which would be the only point of access for construction vehicles entering and leaving its land at the northern end of the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area. The application will be considered by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 26-27 October in Geelong Magistrates Court.

Cr. Mitchell told the CSIRG representatives that the council will investigate whether alternative access routes can be created into the Growth Area to relieve pressure on the proposed Bayshore Avenue bridge. He also said that the council will explore whether it can impose a 3-tonne load limit on Bayshore Avenue itself, to prevent heavy construction vehicles using it.

The CSIRG representatives were told that a right of way exists across farmland from McDermott Road into the northern part of the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area and that this right of way could be turned into an access road into the Bisinella land. Finally, the CSIRG representatives heard that if Bisinella's application to build the bridge succeeds, the council will require it to submit a Construction Management Plan detailing how it will a) minimise constriction work on either side of Griggs Creek and b) minimise construction traffic while the bridge is being built.

The CSIRG's Gary Dean said that it was a constructive meeting that had enabled the group to express its concerns to the council. 'We appreciate Cr. Mitchell making time to listen to us' he said. 'We also appreciate his suggestion that it might be possible to create a 3-tonne limit on Bayshore Avenue, but it isn't clear who would police that limit. The only real resolution to this situation is a north-south road within the development giving construction vehicles access to Bisinella's land. That should have been in the plans from day one.'

Friday, September 9, 2011

Packed hall says 'No' to bridge

Over one hundred and twenty people packed Drysdale's SpringDale Hall last night (8 September) and made it very clear that they don't want the 'unlimited load' bridge proposed for nearby Bayshore Avenue in Clifton Springs.

Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group spokesperson Gary Dean told the standing-room-only audience that property company Bisinella wants to build the bridge so that heavy construction vehicles can access its land at the northern end of the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area (see photo below), where it intends to build a high-end housing estate.

Dean said that the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) is supporting the proposed 'unlimited load' bridge, despite the fact that its planners and engineers have said consistently that such a bridge should carry only local traffic only, not construction vehicles.

To wide applause, Gary Dean said that the developers would leave the area after a couple of years, but the effects of the proposed bridge on the local area would be disastrous - 'If we don't do something now, we'll have to live with it forever', he said.

Audience members said that they couldn't believe that CoGG was allowing Bisinella to start building its estate before a major road running north-south into its land is built; and that rather than make the developers build such a road, the council was supporting Bisinella's proposed bridge. Several speakers said that the local council - and local councillors - should be representing the wishes of local people instead of bowing to developers' wishes.

Gary Dean thanked the Drysdale and Clifton Springs Community Association for its support and assistance, encouraged people to contact their parliamentary and council representatives and the media and urged everyone to attend the rally and ribbon-tying ceremony at the western end of Bayshore Avenue on Sunday 11 September at 10.30 a.m.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rally in Red!

At a rally on Sunday 11 September 2011, residents of the Bayshore Avenue area of Clifton Springs will tie a ribbon across the site of a proposed bridge to formally declare it … 'CLOSED FOR DEVELOPMENT!'

The rally will happen at 10.30 a.m. at the western end of Bayshore Avenue. The rally is being organised by the Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG). Spokesperson Gary Dean said, 'Were inviting everyone who'll be affected by the bridge to attend the rally, to wear an item of red clothing to the ribbon-tying ceremony and to tie their own red ribbon to their fence or letter box.'

The proposed bridge will run from the western end of Bayshore Avenue across Griggs Creek and into land owned by property company Bisinella. It will have no load limit, enabling construction vehicles to use it to gain access to the Bisinella land for development. (See 'A troubling bridge over local waters' [19 August]; 'Interest grows in "rogue bridge"' [25 August]; and 'Bridge protesters go public' [2 September] on this blog.)

'This bridge won't just affect residents of Bayshore Avenue', said Gary Dean. 'The whole area - Koorong Court, Kewarra Drive, Kanyanya Avenue, Kiama Way and Jetty Road - will be at risk from construction traffic moving through it. We're holding the rally to make the council and developers sit up and take notice of the growing opposition to the proposed bridge. We want them to stop treating Clifton Springs as Geelong's poor relation and to have meaningful discussions with us about this bridge.'

The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) has been assisting CSIRG and it is supporting the rally. Rally organisers are asking everyone in the area to attend, bringing family, friends, neighbours, children and even the family pet! They are asking people to park their cars in the streets, to highlight how unsuitable the roads are for heavy traffic. They emphasize that people should park legally, respecting residents' rights and ensuring that emergency vehicles have access if necessary.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group. E-mail csirgroup@yahoo.com.au
Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association. E-mail dryclift@bigpond.com

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bridge protesters go public

The Clifton Springs Independent Ratepayers Group (CSIRG) will hold a public meeting on Thursday 8 September at 6.30 p.m. at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre, Drysdale High Street. The topic of the meeting will be the City of Greater Geelong's (CoGG) recent decision to allow an 'unlimited load' bridge to be built from Bayshore Avenue into the northern end of the Jetty Road Urban Growth Area.

A decision of this sort of significance would normally be subject to public scrutiny through the formal planning process, but local people heard about this 'rogue bridge' only once CoGG had decided to allow it. In response, 864 residents have signed a petition organised by the CSIRG opposing the bridge.

(See 'A troubling bridge over local waters' [19 August] and 'Interest grows in "rogue bridge"' [25 August] on this blog.)

The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA) is supporting and assisting the campaign, which has attracted considerable interest from the local press. Geelong Mayor, Cr. John Mitchell, has recently invited representatives from CSIRG to discuss the issue with him at City Hall on 13 September.

CSIRG spokesperson Gary Dean points out that the rogue bridge will affect residents not just of Bayshore Ave, but also of all interconnecting streets between Kewarra Drive and Jetty Road. 'All these streets will be seriously affected by an unacceptable increase in traffic - including heavy construction vehicles - for many years', he said. 'This poses an unacceptable risk to our daily lives, especially to children and elderly people. We need to make it clear to City Hall that they are ignoring residents' and ratepayers' concerns, where they should be representing us.We need to make Council accountable for their decision.'

CSIRG can be contacted by e-mail (csirgroup@yahoo.com.au) or by phone (5251 1122).