THE Combined Bellarine Community Associations (CBCA) will hold several “Meet the Candidates” forums across the Bellarine as the state election approaches on November 24.
The CBCA, which has been working together since mid-2017 to identify common concerns across the Bellarine and to communicate effectively with elected representatives, has planned the first debate at Point Lonsdale on October 12, then Portarlington on October 25, and Ocean Grove on November 14.
A fourth event is planned for Leopold on a date to be determined.
The forums announcement comes after representatives from the CBCA recently met with the three Bellarine Ward Councillors – Stephanie Asher, Jim Mason and Trent Sullivan – and Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville.
The CBCA, which comprises representatives from nine community-based groups, was pleased to see the preparedness of the three councillors and Ms Neville to listen to community concerns and to respond.
The meeting discussed a wide range of issues, from the possible negative impact of Warralily Village on the Breamlea general store, to the looming impact of questionable urban-style developments at Barwon Heads and Portarlington.
Spokesperson Chris Kelly said there was concern among community associations about the impact of planning decisions on the character of Bellarine townships and villages.
“The potential effects of the Queenscliff- Sorrento terminal development on the movement of tourists towards the Great Ocean Road will put further pressure on small coastal communities and their existing infrastructure,” Ms Kelly said.
“It is clear that growth and planning, including infrastructure provision, are very important issues across the whole peninsula, despite the protection that local structure plans should provide in ensuring that development is in keeping with the character of the communities.”
Ms Kelly said Ms Neville signalled that the government was aware of the importance of preserving significant local character across the state and flagged coming legislation to address the issue.
The CBCA’s mission statement is: “Communities working together to achieve the best future for the Bellarine”. It is made up of community groups in Portarlington, St Leonards, Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale, Drysdale and Clifton Springs, Breamlea and Indented Head (who all form part of the City of Greater Geelong), plus Queenscliff.
Contact the CBCA via comb.bellarine. firstname.lastname@example.org.