One of our members has already sent this email to councilors. It is very detailed and may give you some inspiration -
" To councilors of Surf Coast Shire.
I have read with interest the C66 panel report and offer the following comments re proposed Torquay town boundary in Spring Creek valley.
The panels generally recommends that the boundary for the Spring Creek valley be at the 1 km west of Duffield's Road and points to strategic planning up to 2009 as the reasoning for this recommendation.
This reasoning appears to be a political solution to what is a much contested issue, a solution that is designed to placate the threats of civil actions by developers.
I disagree with that reasoning.
It is true that previous strategic planning nominated the Spring Creek valley as possible for future development, yet in all the strategic planning, the decision to develop the valley was qualified indicating that council and the community would make the final decision at the necessary time. The time is now and a significant portion of the Torquay, Jan Juc and Bellbrae communities are against the valley being developed for residential housing. The previous strategic plans put the decision clearly in the community's hands for a decision and that decision was emphatically stated at the "Red Rally".
If developers and landowners were advised that development into the valley was a forgone conclusion, then they have misinterpreted the previous strategic plans. If previous council officers and councilors intended the valley to be developed, then those strategic plans should have given unambiguous statements to that direction and not used words such as "possible future growth".
It is my opinion that the C66 panel has not fully understood the current situation or history of the local region. This may be due to a lack of funds available to the community to fully present its position or maybe the panel thought it more palatable to say yes to the developers and no to the community.
All the previous strategic plans were based on assumptions that did not include the Armstrong Creek suburb, as at that time the Geelong southern boundary was the Grovedale railway line. We now have significant available housing on the door step of Torquay, yet no mention of this appears to have been considered in the C66 panel's report. All previous population growth reports, that strategic plans are based, do not have this growth suburb fully considered, and are based on previous Torquay / Jan Juc growth trends, which may now alter due to Armstrong Creek and may therefore not be reliable. I suggest that a parametric study be undertaken to determine if any assumptions in previous population reports are valid.
Further previous strategic plans indicated that the development west of Torquay would preclude any development to the north of the town. Development of north Torquay has now been approved and is underway. Shops and schools are under construction or land has been allocated. This new community accepted scenario negates the need for development into the valley.
Based on previous statements in strategic plans council's choosing to grant development permits in north Torquay has effectively already made a decision to hold development at Duffields Road.
However, if development into the valley was to proceed, then significant work in planning must be redone to adjust for the development of the town in two directions. Sports facilities, ovals, shops, fire protection and other services would need to be provided, many creating financial burdens on the community which were never planned. Should council decide to vote in favour of development into Spring Creek valley, then there should be an immediate stop to the development of services and sporting facilities in north Torquay until after a new strategic plan was considered and finalised with full community consultation - a totally impractical outcome.
Councillors who represent wards beyond Torquay should also consider the Shire's financial position if development of Torquay in the two directions was to proceed. To maintain standards and provide the services required for such expansion may require funds be diverted away from other communities within the Shire or alternatively to raise the rates revenue, an outcome for which non Torquay / Jan Juc residents will not be grateful. Also I have anecdotal evidence that Anglesea is now seen as a attractive place for expansion with many small developers considering dual occupancy to densify that town as Torquay is considered as getting 'too big'.
Council continually postulates sustainable values, and this is a case where councilors can hold to those values. The construction of roads and housing in the valley is not a sustainable option when compared with the relatively flat land already deemed for future development. Due to the fall of land in the valley construction costs will be significantly higher. The cost of provision of services will be higher. Duffield's Road will need to be upgraded at significant cost direct to council or to the community by the developer through land prices. The environmental values of Spring Creek will be changed and lost forever.
The developers took a business decision to buy the land. A decision that held an element of risk. If they got it wrong and that's unfortunate, but that's business. The developers in north Torquay took a similar risk and were fortunate to get it right. We would all like guaranteed outcomes, but that's not the system we live in, strategic plans change to adjust to changes in outside influences, I do not believe the C66 panel fully considered these changes and are trying to turn back the clock to 2009 - a 'head in the sand' approach. Armstrong Creek is here. North Torquay is here.