THE consequences of the burgeoning size of Torquay continue to be a subject of community debate, with some residents pushing the Surf Coast Shire to consider the implications as soon as possible.
However, the shire will not formally consider the impact of growth on the town for another three years.
The state government requires the shire to have 15 years of land supply in Torquay and Jan Juc but the area’s increasing population is not universally popular among those already here – typified by the long-running debate about housing in the Spring Creek valley – and Torquay’s growth, possible permanent town boundaries and related issues were raised at several points during public question time at last month’s council meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the 3228 Residents Association, Sue O’Shanassy noted that rapid growth in Torquay, Jan Juc and Armstrong Creek in recent years had made a major impact on local beaches, the environment and the community.
She said Cr Rose Hodge moved a motion in 2009 that included analysing the implications for the shire of the Armstrong Creek development and the Geelong Ring Road “to identify and assess expected impacts on the social and economic conditions, environment and culture of Torquay, Jan Juc and Bellbrae”.
“It is now nine years since that resolution. Would the council be willing to work with the community to produce such an impact study to guide future policy?”
In response, shire general manager of environment and development Ransce Salan said conducting an impact analysis of Torquay’s growth including Armstrong Creek would take place in the fourth year (2020) of the existing Council Plan for 2017-2021.
“It is anticipated that by year four, Armstrong Creek’s development will have progressed and can be better analysed.”
Graeme Stockton asked for an update on the shire’s Strengthening Town Boundaries (formerly the Permanent Town Boundaries) project.
Mr Salan said the council was undertaking an audit of residential land supply across the shire to further inform the project.
“While this is still subject to 2018/19 budget consideration, one activity will be the Settlement Strategy. When this strategy is developed, it will involve further community consultation.”