Forty-two of AIDA’s approximately 450 members attended the 2018 AIDA Annual General Meeting, which was held on Saturday 28th April at the Aireys Inlet Community Hall. AIDA president Charlotte Allen welcomed councillors Margot Smith and Libby Coker and CEO of the Surf Coast Shire Keith Baillie to speak on current issues. Margot and Libby said they would welcome AIDA’s feedback on the council draft budget. Consultation on the future use of the Alcoa site in Anglesea is continuing. Margot noted that feedback from the Anglesea community showed a consensus against too much development and support for maintaining the diversity and character of the area.Keith Baillie said that a current issue of interest to AIDA is Alcoa’s reopening of Coalmine Road, which until about ten years ago was used mostly by locals as a back way to Aireys via its connection to Bambra Road. The road is in a very poor state and would need significant expenditure before reopening to traffic. Use of the road as an Anglesea bypass could impact properties along Distillery Creek Road and Bambra Road. Keith Baillie then raised the management of the Great Ocean Road as another issue likely to be of interest to AIDA. Currently governance of the GOR is by sixteen different authorities. A state government-initiated GOR taskforce, under the bipartisan joint chairmanship of ex-transport ministers Peter Bachelor and Terry Mulder, is considering the possibility of an overarching authority for the whole length of the GOR. Questions include how this would interact with the current authorities. Requirements for funding investments on and along the GOR raise the issue of how growth in tourist numbers can be managed and revenue generated without unreasonably affecting residents of the region and changing the desirable character of the coast and its communities. Keith Baillie is on the taskforce representing the Surf Coast Shire. NB: AIDA’s submission to the GOR taskforce is included in this newsletter. Finally Keith Baillie noted that increases in council rates are capped at 2.5 per cent in line with the CPI. The garbage charge is a particular difficulty with the costs increasing dramatically, but council intends to maintain recycling services.During a question and answer session Margot Smith and Keith Baillie responded to a question about aged-care services for elderly people in the area by noting that changes legislated as part of ‘My Aged Care’ will lead to increased privatisation and that Council is still working out its role under requirements for competitive neutrality. The main change is that each person is empowered to choose their provider and council needs to decide if it will be a provider or not. However, council’s position is that it will not leave the market and abandon people with no access to services. The current level of subsidy is about $1.4 million. Several AIDA members then commented on the Painkalac Valley, supporting public ownership and rehabilitation of the valley land but cautioning about the pathway and the effect of increased tourist numbers on the resident kangaroos and birdlife.During the formal portion of the AGM Charlotte Allen presented the President’s 2017 Annual Report. The financial report was then accepted and the election of the 2018/19 Committee was held. Charlotte Allen thanked retiring committee members Angela Berry, Greg Day, Gretel Lamont and Adam Rudy for their service and then reported that, there being no more than one person nominated for each position on the committee, the new AIDA Committee was declared to have been elected. Chris Ryan sent a nomination form after the meeting and has joined the committee.Finally, a motion was proposed ‘that the AIDA Committee consider holding the AGM in early January each year or, if this is not practical due to concerns about days of high fire risk, hold a community meeting in early January’. After considerable discussion the motion was passed unanimously with advice to the committee that the members present at the meeting strongly supported there being two meetings each year, a community meeting or forum in January sponsored by AIDA and the AGM later in the first half of the year, preferably during the Easter school holidays.Click the following links for the meeting papers (AIDA AGM2018 Agenda & Financial Report, President’s Report, AIDA AGM 2018 MINUTES).
The AGM was followed by short presentations from two students who are doing PhD research relevant to our area. Ross Wissing is investigating the role of the home garden in sustainably meeting human and ecological needs in urban Geelong. Ross also works in open space planning at the Surf Coast Shire with a focus on land management, policy and master plan development, and Aboriginal cultural heritage. Krista Bonfantine, a watershed ecologist, shared a brief description of her research project, which is focused on the Painkalac Creek. Krista is a watershed ecologist, who has spent much of her life in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado but has also worked along both coasts of the United States.