Cape residents fear massive housing plans

CAPE Paterson residents are pushing back against the proposed $180 million development of land to the north of their seaside town.
With the matter due to come before the Bass Coast Shire Council on March 15, residents are appealing to the council not to bow to developers.
The Cape Paterson Residents and Ratepayers Association wants large future housing developments to be in Wonthaggi.
The controversial Cape Paterson northern development, which would involve a 900 lot subdivision and the rezoning of land in the farming zone to residential, has angered many in the Cape Paterson community.
They feel that the development would not be in keeping with the small, coastal hamlet vision of the township.
Data and statistics back the disgruntled residents’ stance that the proposed subdivision would lead to an oversupply of land in Cape Paterson.
Cape Paterson is listed as a ‘Low Growth’ area in the Bass Coast Planning Scheme, in comparison to Wonthaggi, which is a ‘High Growth area’, in particular North Wonthaggi.
Census data also support the Cape Paterson Residents and Ratepayers Association’s viewpoint.
While data from the most recent census hasn’t been released yet, according to the 2011 census, Cape Paterson’s population was sitting at 718, with only 1010 private dwellings.
The population of the town increased by just 44 people between 2006 and 2011.
In contrast, Wonthaggi and Wonthaggi North’s combined population was listed as 6879, with a noted increase in population by 307 people between 2006 and 2011.
Wayne Skate, director of PBE Real Estate in Cape Paterson, said that potentially the low growth in Cape Paterson was due to the lack of real estate options available to buyers.
“In the past 12 months we have sold 15 blocks out here, but the year before that only three blocks were sold,” Mr Skate said.
“Over the past three to four years we’ve had a lot more locals wanting to buy, a lot of younger families looking to come out and buy blocks. Currently there are only three blocks for sale. They are priced between $265,000 and $300,000, which prices them out of the market.”
He said the proposed development could create new, cheaper blocks, allowing locals to buy into the Cape Paterson market.
“Nine hundred lots is ridiculous, though. But the whole problem is that the land does need to start moving along and start subdividing.
“There are under 10 properties for sale in Cape Paterson at the moment, and only two properties under $400,000 for sale.”
In 2010, the Cape Paterson Masterplan was developed, outlining what residents enjoy about Cape Paterson, and what could be done in future to improve the quality of life.
The overall “feel” of Cape Paterson was listed as one of the elements residents enjoyed most.
This included the friendly people and neighbours, small village atmosphere, peaceful, safe, relaxed, and family friend nature.
The rural feel of the area was also identified as a factor in residents’ enjoyment, as well as the underdevelopment of the area, which included the lack of retail/commercial development, and low traffic levels for most of the year.
Secretary of the Cape Paterson Residents and Ratepayers Association, John Coulter, said that the Cape Paterson Masterplan 2010 clearly outlined the community’s feelings towards excessive development in the town.
“There was a large response to Community Plan developed in 2010,” Mr Coulter said.
“It describes what matters most to Cape Paterson residents.
“In surveys people stated they wanted better community facilities but that doesn’t mean they wanted these if it meant adding over 900 houses, on top of the 210 already approved to the west.”
At the August 2016 council meeting, the previous council deferred making a decision on the application to rezone and develop the land until March 2017.
During that time, the ratepayers association has been working hard to let councillors know that they are opposed to the idea.
The ratepayers association hosted a public meeting in Cape Paterson on Saturday, January 14, where more than 200 people showed up to oppose the subdivision.
A petition with more than 300 signatures has also been circulated throughout the community, and will be presented to the council at an upcoming community consultation session.
The petition objects to the development on the grounds of an oversupply of land in Cape Paterson, a lack of existing infrastructure and lack of consideration of the environmental impact.
The ratepayers association has also made direct contact with the developers themselves, to express their concerns over plans to double the population of Cape Paterson.
In a final push to stop the development in its tracks, the ratepayers association will make a presentation to the council at a community consultation session on Wednesday, March 8.