By now, you may be aware that the State Government is conducting a public consultation on the Surf Coast Distinctive Area and Landscape Draft Statement of Planning Policy – a policy which will decide the future of the Torquay and Jan Juc townships.
The formal consultation now underway is the culmination of a long and drawn out process. It was 11 years ago that we held the successful ‘Red Rally’ to show our support for the preservation of Spring Creek. It was two years ago that Spring Creek become the central issue in our state election. We are now in the final weeks of our effort to save the valley from developers’ bulldozers.
We now need every community member to formally lodge their support for the permanent protection of Spring Creek.
Our major concern with the draft policy is that (despite a strong commitment from Premier Andrews in March 2019) the SPP draft still contains a provision for the development of the Spring Creek valley. Entitled simply ‘Option 1’ (outlined on Page 59 of the Draft SPP document), this option provides a pathway for opening up Spring Creek valley 1 km west of Duffields Road to further residential development; an area of more than 200 hectares.
The only way to have your say on the proposed policy is to make a formal submission before January 22, via the government’s Engage Victoria website – https://engage.vic.gov.au/dalsac
What you say in your submission is entirely up to you, and everybody will have a different response based on their own values and priorities. We acknowledge that it is a complex issue, and that many will simply be overwhelmed by the process. However, if the protection of Spring Creek is important to you, then as a bare minimum you should still make a submission to clearly reject Option 1, and come out in support of Option 2 which would create a permanent settlement boundary at Duffields Road. Please use your own words – we understand that pro forma responses won’t count.
Below the line, we provide additional information on our position on the draft policy. And there is more information, including facts and figures, and guidance on the submission process at the Protect Spring Creek campaign site – https://www.protectspringcreek.org/learn-more
On behalf of the SCEG committee, I extend my sincere gratitude to everybody. Please try to take 5 minutes out of your day, in order to protect our beloved home. If enough people can find 5 minutes, we strongly believe that the government will have no choice but to reject the greed of a handful of out-of-town developers, and support a vibrant, strong and sustainable Surf Coast community.
So please, get online and lodge your submission as soon as possible.
Chair, Surf Coast Energy Group
1/ The Victoria Government’s Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is currently finalising a new Statement of Planning Policy, Distinctive Area Landscape (DAL) plan. The draft is available for download here, at the Government’s consultation website: https://engage.vic.gov.au/distinctive-areas-and-landscapes-program/surf-coast
2/ Despite Premier Andrew’s March 2019 commitment to set a permanent settlement boundary at Duffields Road, the SPP draft still contains a provision for the development of the Spring Creek valley. Entitled simply ‘Option 1’ (outlined on Page 59 of the Draft SPP document), this option represents a legal pathway for opening up Spring Creek valley 1 km west of Duffields Road to further residential development; an area of more than 200 hectares.
3/ This ‘Option 1’ provision appears to be completely at odds with other controls contained in the very same document, over the very same site – including the government’s own proposed overlays for ‘state significant landscape’, waterway and bio-link protection, and bushfire management.
4/ Furthermore, we note the following problems with development of the 200hectare area 1km west of Duffields Road
- The full extent of the impacts is impossible to predict, as the document does not specify the number of additional houses allowable in the area in question. There is a reference to ‘low density’ development (which suggests large block sizes), but please note that in a formal planning sense, ‘low density’ only refers to single-storey dwellings, and does not specify minimum block sizes.
- Regardless, we are confident that ‘Option 1’ would bring significant negative impacts to our community, including; thousands more cars adding to traffic congestion, significant new burden on our infrastructure and services, and irreversible changes to town character and way of life.
- Option 1 would necessitate the destruction of state-significant biodiversity, including state-listed Bellarine Yellow gum woodlands throughout the valley.
- Development of the natural Spring Creek valley area adjacent to the Great Ocean Road would impact our tourism industry, which is already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19.
- The SPP draft was delivered in a context of land oversupply in the Torquay Jan Juc area; the existing pipeline of land releases (not including Option 1) would already exceed G21 population targets by more than 20%. In other words, the land in Spring Creek valley is not needed.
5/ Option 2 would see a permanent settlement boundary created at Duffields Road, which could only be overturned in the state legislature – in other words, Option 2 provides for very strong protection of the Spring Creek valley from development.
6/ The Protect Spring Creek coalition is supported more than a dozen local organisations, including SCEG, SANE, Greater Torquay Alliance, 3228 Local Residents Association, several local Landcare and Coast Action groups, Surfrider Foundation, as well as local businesses.