Planning Minister Matthew Guy has told the Surf Coast Shire Council that ''ministerial amendment'' to planning controls for the land is warranted to ''respond to the urgent need to address housing affordability....and proactively manage growth for Torquay-Jan Juc''. In other words, the Surf Coast Shire Council must cave into State government demands, or they will be forced to! ("proactively"!) It will become another ubiquitous part of Melbourne's sprawling housing estates. It's an attack on democracy, public opinion, and is ecologically destructive.
Matthew Guy's Ministerial Amendment to override Torquay Council
Mr Guy has told the Surf Coast Shire Council that ''ministerial amendment'' to planning controls for the land is warranted to ''respond to the urgent need to address housing affordability, facilitate the establishment of new schools, and proactively manage growth for Torquay-Jan Juc''. In other words, the Surf Coast Shire Council must cave into State government demands, or they will be forced to! ("proactively"!) It will become another ubiquitous part of Melbourne's sprawling housing estates. It's an attack on democracy, public opinion, and is ecologically destructive.
Mr Guy plans to rezone about 240 hectares of farmland west of Torquay for housing. The council estimates the land near Spring Creek could provide 1900 new homes with an expected population of 4500 people.
Releasing land from agriculture is short-term foolishness when we in Australia have only 6% arable land, and will be harder to produce food without artificial fertilizers. Mr Guy's feigned concern about providing “afffordable housing” is all spin, and something that nobody could argue about. However, it's all deliberately manipulated so that population growth will continually outstrip available housing, and land.
This takeover of land, and the land rezoning process in Torquay is not about being sustainable or ecologically sound. Developments will mean bulldozing farmland and sensitive coastal areas. It's about more urban sprawl, something that the Liberals said they would curb.
2008 Torquay's growth planned
(Sunset at Torquay - there are some places that should be reserved for special occasions such as reflection, holidays and recreation- not for everyday living!)
The pressures for coastal development are increasing, with the number of applications for consent under the Act increasing by 32 % since 2003/04
A draft urban development plan for up to
6400 houses on a 600-hectare site west of Torquay, known as Spring Creek, has ignited a furious local response, with more than 1000 submissions sent to the Surf Coast Shire.
The plan could mean that Torquay more than double in size, with 14,000 residents moving in to the development area in the next 20 to 30 years.
All these submissions and objections are simply so that planners can tick the box “public consultation” and do what they like!
Growth outstrips schools
Back in April this year, the government with its election promise to build a new $20 million secondary college at Torquay North - said the plan to convert the existing school into a prep-to-year six school would go ahead despite public opinion to the contrary. Without a second primary school, Torquay College would swell to about 1300 students by 2015, leading to overcrowding, traffic congestion and a lack of playgrounds.
A housing development at North Torquay was expected to attract another 14,000 people to the area.
2009 Submissions dismissed
The council received 2843 submissions on the Spring Creek Urban Growth Framework Plan, with only about 20 in support. As each councillor rose to reject the plan the crowd burst into applause. The Surf Coast Shire voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposal covering 600 hectares west of Torquay and to review future development policy.
Surf Coast Mayor Libby Mears said that
residents were concerned about how their quality of life and amenity would be affected by Torquay's growth. As a growth area, rates would inevitably increase to pay for the extra services needed to be delivered, and the infrastructure for swelling numbers of people.
Our coastlines are valuable
People enjoy our coastlines for their intrinsic and recreational value. This is an example of a government bereft of economic and productive ideas. Grabbing land, and developing it, brings short-term profits, but long term implication and destruction. Any "vacant" land is now under threat. Without housing or other structures, it will be vyed for "development", for economic short-term gain.
This is not a nimby issue, but one for the greater community of Melbourne, and Victoria. There is no end to urban sprawl and land grabs while our population is being pumped up continually. The housing and land "shortages" will never be solved while our government take the easy route to economic growth - via population growth.
Torquay has been a popular destination for day-trippers and sight-seeing and picnics from the days of Cobb and Co in the 1800s.
It is thought that the Wathaurung Aborigines occupied the area prior to European settlement. Picnickers began to frequent the spot from the 1860s. When the first land was sold in the mid-1880s the locality was known to Europeans as Spring Creek,
It will become a generic sea of roofs, housing estates and towers, thanks to successive State Government “planning” regimes! Plans for overdevelopment along Spring Creek in Torquay could lead to multiple sets of traffic lights along the first 2 kms of the Great Ocean Road! This will kill tourism and destroy any sense of community residents have in Jan Juc/Torquay and Bellbrae.
Environmental Threats of developments
Invasive weeds as the greatest threat to the coast's natural values - dwarfing all other biodiversity management issues combined -and developments will bring more people to the area, more weeks, more traffic and threats to coastal birds and marine wildlife.
The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) Nature Conservation Review: Marine Conservation Priorities and Issue for Victoria. (April 2010)
Development and urbanisation is a major threat to intertidal and coastal environments.
Subdivision and urbanization of coastal areas is increasing in accordance with population growth. This is largely occurring around the fringes of existing coastal towns. An immediate consequence has been the reduction of coastal vegetation communities, however there are also direct implications for water quality (storm water, commercial wastes and sewage) and visitation to shore habitats.
Shipping transport tonnage is continually increasing, in accordance with population and economic growth. Some of the increase in international shipping may be negated through the use of bigger vessels. Associated threatening processes include oil spills, groundings, litter/rubbish and effluent dumping at sea, translocation of marine pests and release of toxic antifouling substances, including tributyl tin. Higher density shipping lanes are within Port Phillip Bay, as well as between Port Phillip Heads and Cape Otway, Wilsons Promontory and northern Tasmania.
With our manufacturing industries largely gone overseas, Victoria depends on service industries and commerce. It means we rely heavily on imports, and shipping goods via shipping.
Marine pests and climate change have the potential to catastrophically impact marine and coastal values in the future. As human populations increase in coastal areas, coastal vegetation is under increasing pressure from urban sprawl, coast developments, weed invasion, disease, ecreational activities and changing fire regimes. Many habitats have become highly fragmented and some, such as coastal moonah woodland, exist only in a small portion of their pre- settlement range.
The economic model based on perpetual and destructive growth
With priorities based on cash-flow and immediate economic benefits, the non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experience, social relations, and aesthetic values are being denied and destroyed.
While our economic growth is based on population growth, the wave of land takeovers will destroy Victoria's precious Great Ocean Road coastlines - all justified under the smokescreen of the need for "affordable housing" - something that our government could easily solve if they stopped pumping up our population!
An economy based on a reliance on population growth is totally flawed, environmentally destructive, economically and ecologically unsustainable and fatalistic.
(Torquay surf beach - the way it should be)