Spring Creek can be saved
Cheeseman vows to halt urban sprawl
CONTROVERSIAL housing development in Torquay’s Spring Creek valley could be on the chopping block if Labor wins the state election.
Labor candidate for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman revealed this week he would advocate for the town’s western boundary to be pulled back to Duffields Rd.
If the push is successful, it would mean more than 2000 homes planned for the valley would not go ahead.
It comes more than fourand-a-half years since the former Coalition government approved development 1km west of Duffields Rd, amid strong opposition from sections of the community.
Although shifting Torquay’s town boundary is yet to become a formal Labor policy, it will form part of a review the party has promised if it is returned to office next month.
Mr Cheeseman said stopping development at Spring Creek would be in line with the wishes of the Torquay community.
He said residents had been “very hostile” about plans to build housing in the valley — between Torquay and Bellbrae — for more than a decade.
“The community has spoken to me and told me they don’t want development beyond Duffields Rd,” he said.
“That is the position I’ll be arguing, and that’s where I believe the town’s western boundary should be.”
Both major parties are entering the election with promises to strengthen planning laws on the Surf Coast in a fight against overdevelopment.
Last month, South Barwon Liberal MP Andrew Katos rebuffed criticism from Labor for his party’s decision in 2014 to approve development in Spring Creek.
He said the development fell within town boundaries that had been set by the previous Labor government.
Community opposition to housing in Spring Creek dates back to at least 2008, when Surf Coast Shire started discussing options to develop the area.
In 2009, thousands appeared at a protest in Torquay to rally against the proposal, with musician Xavier Rudd a leading voice within the movement.
Urban sprawl remains a hot issue on the Surf Coast, with Mr Cheeseman saying he would also advocate for residential developments in Torquay to be capped at two storeys, while commercial buildings would be limited to three storeys.
It comes as Surf Coast Shire considers a proposal to build a five-storey hotel in the town, at the corner of Bell St and Torquay Rd.