By Michael Giles
A LOCAL estate agent friend of mine said at the weekend how excited he was that the Wonthaggi Secondary College had finally received the funding it needs to go ahead and develop a new, 21st century senior campus on a green-field site in McKenzie Street.
He says good education and sporting facilities are two of the key things people are looking for when they consider moving to an area and the $32 million announced for the school, part of which ($6 million) will go to a new three-court sports stadium, will be a great selling point.
Sure there’s a generous helping of self-interest in those remarks but what’s good for new residents coming to the area is also great for the local economy, for jobs and the families who are already established here in Bass Coast.
There’s no doubt that these sorts of major announcements, and the facilities when they are built, will lead to an acceleration in growth and development in the area.
And we applaud the Bass Coast Council for getting on board with $1.5 million towards the project but it’s up to them now to make sure we have a ready supply of new residential land to cater to the demand that is already coming our way, especially if the shire wants to direct that growth into the place that can best handle it – Wonthaggi.
That’s not to say we don’t want to see improvements at Inverloch, Phillip Island and the Western Port towns but certainly in Inverloch and the Island’s case, there are already heavy development pressures there.
The reality is that this area has been sorely neglected in almost every area of public spending, with the possible exception of tourism, for far too long.
And unfairly, that’s largely been because of the “safe” status of our State and Federal electorates, although that could be changing where the seat of Bass is concerned.
We’re delighted with the announcement by the Premier Daniel Andrews last Friday as one of the most important funding initiatives in the region’s history.
And good manners dictates that we leave it at that for now.
But there are also pressing deficiencies in health, public transport, local government and social facilities that need attention.
For now though, it’s a huge thank you to everyone who got behind the campaign to get a new senior campus of the Wonthaggi Secondary College for Bass Coast. Generations of local kids will be the main ones to benefit and we look forward to seeing them shine even brighter in the future.