By Michael Giles

I’VE been a resident of Inverloch for about five years now. I was happy enough in Leongatha but like many others, moved down to the coast to get the best of both worlds, country living by the sea.
It’s been a good decision.
Not everyone in Inverloch likes the influx of tourists that has become more than an annual occurrence these days, but the reality is that half of the home owners in the town have their main residence elsewhere.
And personally I like the vibrancy that the part-time owners and visitors bring to the town and the local district. It also means jobs for our young people and a boost for the economy.
But how far should it go?
The fact is, we’re only going to have a small say in how Bass Coast develops from here. We like living by the coast at Phillip Island, San Remo and Inverloch, so it’s reasonable to expect that many, many others will like it too.
The authorities have been telling us for years that as Melbourne grows east and the Mornington Peninsula gets over-developed, more and more people will ‘discover’ this area and we are seeing that happening strongly at the moment.
There’s been a massive run on local real estate, for example, to the point now where the agents have greatly reduced their stocks of property for sale and the prices have experienced the sort of step increase you only see when there’s a complete clearance of old stock.
This has resulted in an increase in the number of new homes going up as new house and land packages represent good value against established homes.
So there’s plenty of demand for a foothold along our beautiful coast.
Ideally you’d like most of the new housing growth in Bass Coast to be concentrated in Wonthaggi where all the services are located and where we’ll eventually get a new sub-regional hospital and new senior campus of the secondary college.
A major development of the town’s sporting facilities is also on the cards.
For Wonthaggi to be as attractive as possible to residents, so it can take the pressure off the coast, that infrastructure development must go ahead soon. Wonthaggi’s own close proximity to the coast also needs to be highlighted by the development of boardwalks and viewing areas near the town.
But pressure for further growth at places like Inverloch is coming and we saw that with the proposal by Jason Yeap and the Mering Corporation at Maher’s Landing last week.
Make no mistake, this could represent a development worth well in excess of $1/2 billion dollars and, if done properly, could involve the rehabilitation of a significant piece of coastal land along Anderson Inlet, while also allowing appropriate residential development.
Unless the proposal is called in by the State Government for decision, the time to secure the appropriate social, community and environmental dividend that must flow from such a financial windfall is at rezoning amendment time and both the community and the local shire will have to be on its mettle to be sure we are getting value for the money that is generated by changing the recommended land use from ‘Farming’ to ‘Residential’.