By Nathan Johnston

EVERY year when the state budget is released, we trawl through dozens of press releases looking for the good news about funding for the Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires.
Usually there are a couple of nice ones, but the money doesn’t flow beyond the southeast of Melbourne like it does to the southwest. It’s more a trickle down this way, and that’s when you untangle the kink in the hose.
It’s because we don’t have the population here.
The Surf Coast and Bass Coast shires are very similar in numbers, but the service centre for Surf Coast is Geelong with 230,000 people.
Our service centre is Wonthaggi with 7500 people.
To get priority funding for new schools, hospitals and basketball stadiums (oh, hang on…) the population base needs to be there.
The State Government predicts Bass Coast will be a go-to place and those who come will want to live near the beach. It’s just what we do in Australia.
Cape Paterson has to grow. It’s inevitable. But 930 blocks at once is too much. Gradually, over 30 years? Perhaps.
Cape residents are right to say growth should be directed to Wonthaggi, and one thing that could be done to make Wonthaggi more enticing would be to emphasise its proximity to the sea.
You can hear the surf from South Wonthaggi, but you can’t walk there even though its only 2km away.
I’m not suggesting we need to open up a new estate in the dunes along the Kilcunda-Harmers Haven Coastal Reserve, but if more land could be made available in that general direction, with access to the beach (mind the Hoodies and the rips!), South Wonthaggi would be a better option than North Cape Paterson.