What do I despair about? I despair at our shire performance and in particular the planning department decision making. What, yet again, has annoyed me now?
This morning I purchased my staple bread and milk, from the Mirboo North shops. Talking with an acquaintance I learned that our wonderful planners, that I call responders, have given the distant Hastings purchasers of the crucial plot of land next to the police station, permission to build three new shops.
The most valuable and distinctive asset of that small town is the park. This last weekend witnessed the motorcycle gathering which, I am told, was a great success. The park was an essential component of this success. The provision of three new shops will however detract from the park’s value by its separation from the town centre.
The existing rather astonishing police station and the park side row of brassy shops certainly proves the point.
To add to my dismay, whilst talking, heavy trucks thundered past at a pace too fast for the conditions.
No doubt when someone is knocked down everyone will declare loudly that “Someone should have done something”.
The problem is repeatedly and glaringly displayed to any person who has eyes to see – there is no overall planning strategy. I repeat, the planners are merely responders.
They respond to individuals seeking permission to satisfy personal needs or they are responding to state government ridged all controlling regulations or very destructive responses to developers seeking permission to make money often at the general society’s expense.
Our so called planners do not seem to understand the meaning and importance of having a basic planning strategy.
Such a fundamental plan would divert traffic away from the centre of town – it can be done. The park side of the road should be cleared of shops, over time, or those shops should be restructured to complement the town’s unique potential.
The main street would then be paved, vegetated and suitably lighted to satisfy social needs. The park will then become intimately, part of the town.
I realise such a vision demands creative people in charge. Currently we have business men and professionals and that, in my opinion, is the problem. My recent presentation at the shire proves my argument. You will be aware of the planned inadequate bypass and nonexistence of the suggested plaza in Leongatha.
This week the councillor, Don Hill, refers in the local paper to the much repeated demand for a new shire office complex.
Such a development will certainly be very costly to the ratepayers. Alternative suggestions have been made such as building upon the existing site. This society must really get its priorities right.
Recently a councillor states that, “the councillors have no control over the planning manager”. He apparently ignores what they have to say. Now that is a real worry. There must always be some final control over the professionals by the laymen in council who are the representatives of the people.
Without this oversight we will have increasing dictatorial behaviour, secrecy, inadequate decisions and ultimately an impoverished cultural future.
Rob Brown, Turtons Creek.