Planning for a resilient and sustainable future
Continuing the series of articles on Amendment C37 to the Mansfield Planning Scheme – understanding council’s planning structure. STATISTICS are fascinating. It’s a tool we use in strategic town planning to look at changes that may have occurred in our demographic makeup and see what sort of trajectory we may be on given past measures.
They highlight what issues we may be experiencing and why, and what we should be planning to address.
We know how excited accountants and economists get about the end of financial year, well, Census night is a similar celebration for town planners.
This year though, someone gate crashed the party and it rained on the fireworks.
Eventually the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) will release the most up to date population data for Australia and each local government area; and we will have cause to pop the champagne and revel in our birth rates and female life expectancy figures.
The five yearly Census collates necessary information that we can use at a local level and it is an opportune time to finely tune planning tools to reflect predictions and changes.
Amendment C37 will bring in changes to the Mansfield Planning Scheme through the planning scheme review and the Mansfield Township Structure Plan 2015.
Work on these projects began in 2013/2014 utilising the most current data from the 2011 Census and the official state government population projections provided in Victoria in Future 2012.
A key background document to the Mansfield Township Structure Plan is the economic report that analysed data and utilised predictions to identify issues that will influence the level and pattern of development in the township.
I thought it might be interesting to outline the key areas of data in the report and what the implications are for the structure plan and for us as a community. The estimated population of Man- sfield Shire in 2016 is 7850 persons with 3320 living in the township of Mansfield.
By 2031 it is estimated this will increase to 10,040 and 4385 persons respectively.
Doesn’t sound like a lot but if you think about the demands on the services needed to accommodate another 2530 in the shire in the next 15 years it is something that requires a lot of pre-planning.
Additional open space and recreation facilities, land for settlement and employment opportunities, health services, aged care facilities, educational facilities, roads, etc.
Can you imagine an additional 1000 people l iving i n Mansfield township! We have to plan for that. Where will the houses go? How do we link the housing to the town so that we limit the need for car use?
This translates to better footpath links and facilities that are safe; just many of the variables that we must consider.
The latest Census data from 2011 lists the total number of private houses in the shire at 5497.
You could add another 500 to this as an estimate for current levels.
Permanent housing for local residents accounts for only 54 percent of houses across the shire. The rest are holiday homes. Around 84 percent of occupied houses are l ocated i n Mansfield township.
This is estimated to grow by 45 new dwellings per year.
Currently there is sufficient land within the township boundary to accommodate this growth, however, it is the planning to service this growth that is crucial.
Mansfield township remains an attractive housing investment location, with sales consistently higher than in the shire or Regional Victoria as a whole, with an overall growth of approximately eight percent per annum.
Vacant residential property ie. land, has continued to be a strong performer with consistent appreciation at a rate of 14 per cent pa, indicating strong interest in new house construction. This is very evident on the outskirts of Mansfield township.
The Shire has a relatively older age profile particularly in the township.
Over the period 2011-2031, the percentage of residents in Mansfield aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 17 percent to 31 percent and an overall decline to occur in the 0-9 years and 20-34 years age groups.
Sole person households are also on the rise.
This has implications for more affordable housing options and typologies such as units.
There will be more demand for aged services, health care, mobility and access for the elderly.
A decline in the younger population data may require promoting employment industries to retain and attract those entering the workforce to boost a younger population to maintain growth into the future.
Tourism makes the greatest contribution to the local economy being heavily reliant on Mount Buller and Lake Eildon as key state tourist attractions.
These markets can be affected by downturns in the economy as well as poor seasons influenced by climate.
How does the township and shire make it more resilient to these fluctuations long term to build a sustainable tourism industry or other growth sectors not so affected?
These are issues to address through many forward strategies including land use policies and facilitating certain forms of industry as well as events to attract visitors for other purposes.
Hopefully this has given you a glimpse into how statistics are so important to the planning of our towns and communities.
It helps planners to quantify growth or decline in the many population variables and not just plan for the immediate few years but 15 to 20 years into the future.
If you want to learn more visit council’s website and go to the Strategic Planning page.
The Mansfield Township Structure Plan 2015 and the economic report are listed under the background documentation for Amendment C37.
ARRRGH! THAT’S GOOD: Dressed to celebrate International ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’, physiotherapist Sue McCormick gives Bindaree resident Murial Stubbs a shoulder massage in the Collie Lounge. Mansfield’s Shire Council’s C37 Amendment points out that by...