Plan­ning for a re­silient and sus­tain­able fu­ture

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS / PEOPLE - By KATHY RICHARD­SON

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.

PHOTO: David Mims

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...

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