I have noticed some councillor candidates have expressed an interest in pushing for growth in the shire.
Growth in population numbers is necessary to deliver upgraded hospital services, increased employment opportunities and improved public transport services. Of course, this needs to be done while addressing the implications of climate change.
The recently adopted Economic Growth Strategy indicated there was a problem in the council facilitating planning for growth. Roadblocks in the administration were raised in various submissions to that Strategy development.
This roadblock mentality is also evident in the South Gippsland Coastal Strategy – Background Paper – Dec 2019. That document listed all the negative issues relating to coastal development but scarcely mentioned how any development could be accommodated in the shire. Much of the negativity is due to the possibility of global sea level rises impacting the shire.
However, the shire has much high ground near the coast which would not be affected. The Background Paper did not discuss the issues with trying to encourage development on such locations.
What are the opportunities and constraints for such a concept?
I think we all realise that near-to-coast properties are in high demand, a demand which we are not able to supply at present. The shire is missing out on a great opportunity from the current shift of people from Melbourne.
In June 2020, the administrators decided to put on hold further work on the Coastal Strategy until the Community Vision was developed. That is another 13 months (and counting) delay on planning for our future.
There has been no planning or discussion with the community on what the Community Vision should be or how it would be developed. The community engagement process has not been mentioned.
The challenge for new councillors will be how to turn around an administration to actually give it a direction where it strives to achieve sustainable growth and is measured by its success. We need a commitment from all to make it happen.
Will the Coastal Strategy be like the Port Welshpool Marina work or the Agnes Falls viewing platform work and just sit on a shelf?
Council candidates – you will have to think more clearly than just read the notes from the administration.
Lindsay Love, Leongatha.