Torquay Urbanisation? Say NO!

torquay

As any resident of the Greater Geelong region will tell you, Torquay and the surrounding areas are a great place to visit to enjoy the beach, the shops and the community spirit. Torquay, Jan Juc, Ocean Grove and Anglesea specifically are great little beach communities that really represent the close knit community and positive lifestyle that comes with living on the coast. The shops and cafes are a great place to begin your day, followed by a walk on some of the most beautiful and spotless beaches in the world. The residents of these beach towns are probably some of the most environmentally aware of any other community in Australia and you bet they’re proud of it!

Despite being about half an hour out of Geelong, the second biggest city in Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire has remained relatively free of large commercial developments and urbanisation. Geelong residents have been noticing the encroaching commercialisation of their town, with developments making the main shopping centre of Geelong look uncannily like the Myer centre in Melbourne. Geelong residents escape the changing climate of their hometown by holidaying at the pristine beaches at their doorstep, could anybody imagine these changing as well?!

In an urban growth plan designed as part of the so-called “Great Ocean Road Region Strategy 2004,” 700 hectares of land in the Torquay and Jan Juc area would be turned in to housing. The thirty year plan would see the population of Torquay triple in number, totally changing the cultural climate of the entire region. The population increase would bring with it a massive increase in traffic, a massive increase in waste and more drain on already dwindling resources. The development would potentially destroy large amounts of fauna and flora living in the area and place an unbelievable strain on the local environment. The influx of population in to the area would change the entire feel of Torquay and the surrounding region. There would no longer be a close knit community spirit, the always cheery locals would very quickly be the same overworked and dreary people seen in the highly urbanised suburbs. If the development went ahead, the Surf Coast shire would never be the same again!

Needless to say, local residents have made their voices heard on the matter. People from throughout the Surf Coast shire and Greater Geelong; including residents, business owners, surf lovers, families and activists made up the 3000 strong presence at the Red Rally on February 22. The concerns heard were all about the needs of the community and what would happen to the community if the development went ahead. The facilities and resources of the town can’t cope, the environment can’t cope, the population increase is not sustainable and the people of the community should have the final say in any proposed development.

In response to the convincing outcry and protest from residents, the State Member for South Barwon Michael Crutchfield and Federal Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman have both called for the development plans to be reviewed. The council is expected to make their decision in April or May, they should hope it is the right one. Greater Geelong National-Anarchists will continue to watch this issue and offer support to local residents in ensuring that their community is not changed in the name of crass commercial interests and the greed of political and big business figures. It should be made quite clear to Surf Coast shire Councillors and the State and Federal MP’s that Torquay is a community where the people know what they want and they know the community is their own. The people of Torquay need to look at what is best for their community and by ensuring they maintain a sustainable local economy, sustainable use of the environment and a sustainable population they can keep the same community they have enjoyed for their children and grandchildren in the future!

Further developments and information on this issue will be posted here as it becomes available.

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