THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE HWY MAKES GOOD SENSE
As a director of Waks Developments the motivation for the Douglas Retirement Community has been on my mind since 2007. Contrary to what some say, this project is not about money. We have owned the land we are proposing to use for a considerable time, so it is certainly no ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme.
Those of you who know me know I have the Douglas community at heart as we have been part of this Shire through prosperous times and tough times. We use local trades and professionals wherever we can. We give back to the community in significant ways. We pay our rates on time and carry out our business according to Council’s Planning Scheme and interpretation.
We didn’t support de-amalgamation, and maybe we were wrong. Only time will tell. However one would think selfdetermination should be the major benefit.
Development has been opposed on the western side of the highway for a number of years. I understand and agree we shouldn’t have uncontrolled development but - as with anything in life - we need to have balance. We have now reached a point where it’s appropriate to question the argument that’s been propagated over a long period of time.
Mike Berwick fought long and hard to maintain balance in the Shire and preserve the very things that make Douglas a successful tourist destination and a great place to live and work.
Yet even Mike concedes we will need to find land that will be safe from the rising sea and the inundation that comes from our geographical location.
The new Planning Scheme suggests the western side of the highway is an area to be investigated for residential use. (Mike did not support the land that was rezoned south of Craiglie due to obvious natural issues.)
The western side makes good sense for a retirement community as it’s close to the existing infrastructure and transport routes and is out of reach of the perils of flooding and rising seas. Indeed, the Department of Main Roads has already taken this into consideration with the future realignment of Ferrero Road.
We have offered to work with Council and interested groups to provide a worldclass, ‘green’ community that will set new standards for retirement living. We want to give our active and not so active retirees a piece of the unique Douglas environment to enjoy. After reading the comments in your paper over the last few weeks, they seem to be mainly about:
•The need to maintain the sustainable footprint •Visual impairment •Just another subdivision •There is plenty of zoned land available
•The ‘greedy developer’ who owns the land.
If anyone cares to view our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ douglasretirement) or website (www.douglasretirement.com.au) they will see we have addressed these and many other issues.
A community’s needs change over time. The Douglas Shire is no different and our proposal needs to be considered within a framework of facts and the desires of the residents and ratepayers. To all the hundreds of supporters and people who have submitted their positive feedback on our proposal to Council, thank you. To those that haven’t and would like to see the Douglas Retirement Community go ahead, you have until the 30th September to let your views be known to Council.
Finally, to our Councillors: make deamalgamation worthwhile - listen to the majority of people in the Douglas Shire who want this to happen.
Steve Thomas, Director, Waks Developments