WONTHAGGI and Bass Coast will have a leading role to play in the region’s future growth and development according to the draft Regional Growth Plan for Gippsland released last week. The plan, which estimates Gippsland’s population could go as high as 465,000 by 2041, up from 270,000, acknowledges that Bass Coast and Baw Baw, specifically Wonthaggi and Warragul-Drouin, are expected to grow fastest over the next 30 years. And guiding the development of infrastructure and services to support and promote that growth is one of the plan’s main aims.Although it is yet to officially respond to the draft plan, the Bass Coast Shire Council is already giving the plan its qualified support.
“We welcome the further recognition of Wonthaggi as an important regional growth centre and also the significance given to Bass Coast’s tourism assets,” said the council’s director Planning and Environment, Hannah Duncan-Jones, last week.
“It is pleasing to see, for example, that the plan acknowledges the work that has already been done on establishing a new cultural precinct and a new education precinct in Wonthaggi.
“This will certainly assist us when pursuing these key objectives.”
Ms Duncan-Jones said that while the plan was necessarily low of specific initiatives, as these will follow in the implementation phase later, it did come out strongly in relation to Phillip Island tourism.
“The plan has recommended that a 20-year tourism strategy be prepared for Phillip Island ‘which emphasises high quality and sophisticated experiences, nature-based tourism investment, and includes an environmental capacity statement for the island’. That’s a very clear direction given by a document which is mostly about high-level planning,” Ms Duncan-Jones said. Community members with an interest in the plan will get two opportunities for input locally: at Leongatha (Council Chambers) on Tuesday, June 25 (2pm to 4pm) and Wonthaggi (Centennial Centre) on Wednesday, June 26 (2pm to 4pm). To read a copy of the draft Regional Growth Plan for Gippsland go to: www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/gippsland/rgp
Wonthaggi’s key role in growth plan