I’ve now been the Anderson ward (Bass Coast Shire) councillor for about 18 months.
In that time I’ve met some amazing people and there is not a day that goes by that I haven’t been able to learn something about this fabulous area we call home.
From South Dudley/North Wonthaggi through to Kilcunda/San Remo-Newhaven, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time to date.
Now that I’ve settled in, it’s time to report on some of the matters which have caught my attention and on which I’ve been working.
One of the first things that residents of San Remo told me they wanted was some sort of lighting on the town’s historic Norfolk Pine tree in Marine Parade – for Christmas and other occasions.
I’m pleased to report that council has provided $28,000 for this purpose.
The San Remo Traders’ Association – led by Nick Say – has also contributed generously; to the tune of $10,000.
The Traders’ Association contribution was made available through a generous grant from the Bendigo Bank.
I thank Bendigo Bank’s management for their outstanding corporate citizenship on this front.
It’s also pleasing that the new foreshore committee has hit the ground running and set aside $11,500 of their budget for this great initiative.
It’s great to see the council, traders’ association and foreshore committee working together to achieve goals which add value to our community.
These funds will not only light up a tree, but draw tourists to Marine Parade before they get to the bridge.
It’s been an incredibly long journey to get to this point – more than five years.
I want to thank all of those who have worked with me to make this happen.
As we get closer to Christmas I want to work closely with the community in putting together a plan for a function to celebrate turning on the lights.
I know from speaking with residents that there is some angst in sections of the community about the ‘footpath to somewhere’. Let me set out the details on this issue so that there is a good understanding of how we’ll complete the project.
First of all, it’s fair to say that, when complete, this path – linking San Remo with the Anderson link to the Rail Trail – will be a wonderful asset for our community.
It is wholly funded by the State Government through a grants process and is an ongoing project which will not be complete until 2015/16.
The cost of the project is some $1.1m and the next stage is due to commence later this year. Once complete, this will connect the existing path with the existing San Remo paths.
While the first stage is almost complete, it can’t be used until some boardwalks and bridges are installed – which are scheduled to be part of stage two.
I’d ask you to be patient as the project, when complete, will serve our community and tourists for many years to come. I was privileged to represent council at the recent San Remo Anzac commemorations.
San Remo has not had its own event for 11 years – when the old RSL folded. I’d like to publicly congratulate John Methven, OAM and Norm King along with Jane Ross who worked tirelessly to ensure the event occurred.
While organisers would have been satisfied with 30 or so participants, the crowd was closer to 300 – bearing testimony to the excellent organisation as well as to the community’s respect and reverence of the day.
I’m looking forward to attending in 2015 and for many years to come. The traders’ association is also to be congratulated for their support of the event and both Westernport and San Remo Hotels were generous in their support.
There were two addresses – one from retiring MP Ken Smith and the other from the Newhaven College Captain, Nickolas Hakansson.
Ken gave a very moving and well researched speech – his last on Anzac Day as the State Member for Bass.
Nickolas was outstanding in his words and sentiment and many of us went away shaking our heads at the utterance of such wise words from one so young.
Another thorny issue which has been the subject of extensive debate in our community has been the C82 amendment to the Bass Coast Planning Scheme – to apply the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay across areas that have been identified as at risk of inundation.
This change has been brought about by the State Government planning policies which require all municipalities across the state to plan for climate change and sea level rise.
There is nothing retrospective about the proposed amendment – if approved it will only impact on new buildings and developments.
Of course, if extensions to existing dwellings are planned then these would be subject to the amendment.
I would urge residents who may be subject to this amendment (through a new development or extension to existing dwelling) to book a face-to-face session with a planner and a representative from the relevant Catchment Management Authority.
You can do this by phoning council on 1300 226 278.
It’s worthwhile looking at the legislative framework and the objectives of planning in Victoria in this regard.
I’m also pleased to report that I’ll be setting up a regular ‘clinic’ at each town in the coming weeks.
This presents residents and ratepayers with an opportunity to approach me and have a chat about what concerns you. I’ll be providing more information on these in the coming weeks.
Cr Brad Drew, San Remo.