By Michael Giles
INVERLOCH has a lot going for it.
It must have, given its popularity among holiday makers, home owners and permanent residents, who’ve beaten a well-worn path to the town over the past decade in particular.
The magnificent main surf beach is one of the safest, open ocean beaches in Victoria. The inlet is a haven for sailors, fishermen and windsurfers.
And the ‘village by the sea’ atmosphere, which is enshrined in the Inverloch Design Framework is highly prized by locals.
That’s why they come after all.
Hopefully the framework will help protect the character of the town for years to come, although we have seen the planning controls tested in recent times by those who want to go higher and bigger on their residential blocks.
Certainly there are some things that need to be improved, as was pointed out at a community meeting convened by Cr Jordan Crugnale, in the town last Friday night.
Design and architectural experts at the meeting pointed out several of the shortfalls with the town centre, for example, which they described overall as an embarrassment.
In fact, they don’t even take their friends into the CBD when they come to visit.
They listed several of the businesses by name, detailing problems with their loud signs, ugly delivery areas and poor architectural features.
Some of those business owners had the misfortune to be sitting there in the crowd while their premises were critiqued.
It was an uncomfortable moment.
Maybe they were right, and it certainly gives us pause to think about the look of Inverloch’s town centre. Maybe there is a need for a consistent design and appropriate theme but whether we are ready for the dialectical approach to finding solutions is another matter.
Praise loudly and criticise quietly they say in good management texts and in this case they might have something.
The fact is that the real problem with Inverloch is not a shortage of ideas. There’s always been plenty of them. It’s the people, the willingness and the financial resources needed to make it happen that’s at issue.
Those with a passion are urged to get involved in a group like the Inverloch Jazz Festival Committee and actually do something for the town rather than just talk about it.
Anyone who has lived in Inverloch for a while will be aware that there’s always been a divergence of views when it comes to development and the protection and enhancement of the environment – which aren’t mutually exclusive ideas.
What we need to do is settle on the best compromise, one that has the support of the majority of people and get on with it.
Building the footpath and taking away the dangerous chicanes in Surf Parade are cases in point – we already have wide community agreement on those issues.