By Justin Flynn
City of Greater Geelong has adopted a settlement strategy directing long-term growth away from the Bellarine Peninsula, although permanent settlement boundaries are yet to be locked in.
Councillors recently voted to accept all 13 recommendations of an independent panel and adopt amendment C395.
Permanent settlement boundaries will be determined through the Distinctive Area and Landscape declaration process, which is overseen by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
The process will decide on long-term settlement boundaries and review height controls within towns on the Bellarine.
It’s a win for towns on the Bellarine although Ocean Grove Community Association (OGCA) chairperson Phil Edwards said “the existing Ocean Grove settlement boundary needs to be made permanent now”.
“The Bellarine has done the heavy lifting for Geelong in accommodating residential housing growth over the last 10 years,” he said.
“Did you know Ocean Grove already has the capacity to accommodate some additional 6700people in the already approved residential zoned areas?
“The issue of the location of settlement boundaries around each town is still under review and should be decided by the government’s Bellarine Distinctive Areas Landscapes (DAL) process for the Bellarine Peninsula when a draft Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) is released for public consultation in coming weeks.
“Developers are still pushing strongly for the further release of more land to the north and west of the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, north to the Bellarine Highway and east of Banks Road.”
OGCA will continue to engage with DELWP who are responsible for the Bellarine DAL, Mr Edwards said.
“Concurrently OGCA will lobby state government members of Parliament as we now move into the final stages of the DAL,” he said.
“We will alert everyone as soon as the draft Statement of Planning Policy is released by DELWP for community consultation. This will probably be your last chance to have your say and support the campaign to oppose further outward sprawl of Ocean Grove by retaining the settlement boundaries in their current location.
“Firm settlement boundaries are essential to maintain liveable communities and the beauty and vitality of the green spaces that separate towns on the Bellarine.”
The OGCA-sponsored Enough is Enough online petition (chng.it/44MPprTqrJ) has attracted more than 4600 signatures.