Spring Creek can be saved

Cheese­man vows to halt ur­ban sprawl

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - RUSTY WOODGER

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.

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