Monday, February 29, 2016

No pool and the floor is still moving in our recreation centre

The exact implication  of known high groundwater pressures between Elliminyt and Colac Aireys street and Hearn are yet to be fully known because there are few proper test bores  in the area. here should be more.

If I was asked, as  I once was,  to comment on the environmental implications of large projects across South West Victoria , I would have, without hesitation, told Colac Otway Shire that deep test boring of the soils between Elliminyt and Colac was imperative for future planning of that area . The local geomorphology and hydrology mean high risks of high ground water pressures and unstable soils in that area. There is no point in having maps of salinity and groundwater overlays if no one reads them.
Foundation and soil evaluation is not, in the scheme of things, very expensive and I was happy to, each month for three decades, provide advice to many Shires on just when and where further soil, water or  plant research or investigation needed to happen.  Just as in the case of the very complex questions of our lake, foundational soil stuff stops projects getting off on the wrong space. It also reduces the unwise speculation and drumming up of unfounded fears. We know better than to live like this.
The old effective process wasn’t always super-efficient, but it was clearly cost effective because we as planning public servants created the most liveable places in the world. We consulted widely amongst a team trained to talk and respect the roles we fulfilled for the public and politicians alike.
We citizens of Colac (and Australia) may not know much, but we do know that his new system is not working. Any leader who stands up and will not consider significant changes to how we do things, deserves to be moved on.
 Our current culture has been sacrificed to the dumb ,blood letting god of economic efficiency and obligatory innovation. If you have the honour of being chosen to represent us, don’t be a puppet or a Trump’d up type parrot, do your homework and listen to all the stones screaming out at you.

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Local Councils outta control on our Coast

Councils all over the country are failing to follow sound State planning policy on Open space . ( see previous article) . Where has all te money gone ( subdivsion act ) to provide for more Public Open Space - into the coffers .
Here's  long standing example of a  Shire who have known about a problem for 20 years and done nothing sound about it.
The sand systems  which provide us with beaches deserve more respect than they get from Government .Here is an approximation of the cross section  beach dune ridge swale system that was natures gift to Apollo bay. Before we cut through it  
The dune is part of the beach as is the swale behind it .
The Colac Otway Shire were advised when the subdivision of a large area of north Apollo Bay was to subdivided ( see attached sketch) ---to not cut through the beach system, They didn't need too. Drainage could be managed using a combination of pipes swale flood plain and the existing creek to the south. Council and the proponents were shown how they could deal with piped flow and flood water in the area by ensuring adequate POS was available. ( when a flood or overload occurs water can flow from E back to point G where the existing creek enters the system)  .

Instead the Shire allowed the developer to cut through the dune which quickly eroded a wide section of dune and gave  us the rocky beach we never had before as well cut pedestrian access and parking areas . The works now threaten the Great Ocean Road , and in a number of places 

. The Council were also advised at the time that they should acquire several buildings currently occupying the swale depression behind the dune .( see photos ) We still don't know how the POS contributions over the last few decades have been used . Some of the money we presume went to pay for the flighty birds we call CEO's . But we intend to find out!    This is the mess as it was over ten years ago, Nothing has been done to restore order - to properly design with nature.

 Infact its only got worse  . Some Greens might blame sea level rise but that would be far too simple and distracting , Worse,  it would let the incompetent Colac Otway Council off the hook and not allow competent people to advise them rather than panic them.

4% as stated in The Subdivision Act is ALL that we expect ! 

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Whatever happened to Public Open Space

All Councils in Victoria take a 4% land contribution from each subdivision they approve .They don't do this out of their good will,  but because our forefathers in planning in this ,  the most livable place  in the world, insisted on it .( Subdivision Act in the State of Victoria)

I say "used to insist on it" because many Councils have been just pocketing the money -- just quietly .

This came to light recently when one local Council in Melbourne was persuaded to buy some open space the people of the area wanted to keep.  Whitehorse Council recently bought back a school site ,( less than 40 house sites)

In Colac , the people bought the site for a school they wanted to be built some decades ago , Inspite of this fact , the Education department and their colleagues in Parliament expects us to pay them for the site.  

Even if we are to accept this outrage , one wonders what amount of land  our Colac Otway Shire Council still owes us from POS contributions of developers over the years ?.

 If we said the amount of land subdivided in Colac area of CO over the last thirty years  was equivalent in to 800 houses, that's about 40 houses worth of land  . Enough to pay for our school site second time around.

Councils don't like to aquire real land because they would then have to manage that land . Its easier , but not right , to just take it in money and run .

We have yet to confirm how much POS monies  Colac Otway Shire have acquired on our behalf in the last thirty years. Check the situation out in yours .