NOVEMBER 2016 UPDATE: A new structure plan for Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven, Moggs Creek and Eastern View has now replaced the existing Structure Plan developed in 1993.
On initiating the planning process the shire said ‘The plan will help guide the way the settlements develop and change over the next 20 to 30 years to ensure the highly valued features of the towns are protected and the towns remain a great – or even better – place to live, work, visit and play for current and future generations of residents and visitors.’ and that
The AIDA committee met with the shire and its consultants in January 2015 and are continuing to liaise with them to help develop the plan and to make sure it accurately reflects the values, aims and objectives of AIDA. The first steps were to supply the shire and the consultants with the results of AIDA’s most recent (2015) community survey questionnaire and to deliver a comprehensive submission (AIDA Submission 27-3-2015) for the Vision & Principles phase of the Structure Plan project. Following the release by the shire of their draft Vision & Principles Statement, AIDA submitted a number of comments and suggestions on the draft that were incorporated into the final draft (AI EV Vision and principles_Final Draft 150331 TC). This final draft will be considered for Council endorsement at the Council meeting in late April. The shire will then start working on the draft Structure Plan. Further community engagement activities will be planned around that time.
The shire also advised that part of the project will be to prepare an urban design framework for the Top and Bottom Shops in Aireys to guide their development and to retain their ‘informal character, improve pedestrian access and amenity, and enhance the physical environment’.
The AIDA committee is unsure why the shire is intending to prepare a new urban design framework when one (and related plans) were developed recently. (AIDA and the community worked with the shire’s Pride of Place project which produced an urban design framework for the Top and Bottom Shops in 2005 and the 2007 business zone land capacity project which found there is sufficient land zoned for business. There was also the urban design guidelines project in 2009, which led to the Commercial Areas amendments to the Planning Scheme, which were approved by the government in 2012.) The AIDA committee will seek clarification when it meets the shire’s project team in January.
The shire said that community consultation will be an important part of the structure plan’s development and that collecting the community’s issues, ideas, needs and aspirations will be the first phase of the project.
In mid-March Jorgen Peeters of the Surf Coast Shire sent AIDA this update on the progress of development of the new structure plan:
“The first phases of community engagement for ‘Aireys Inlet to Eastern View – Planning for the Future’ have been successfully completed. The consultant team of AXOS Urban spent 11 days in the townships from 24 January to 3 February 2015 to embed themselves in the community to understand the local context, issues and community aspirations. They spoke to over 500 people, including permanent and non-permanent residents, visitors, traders and school students through informal conversations, meetings, workshops and interviews. In addition, around 150 surveys were completed, either online or in hard copy.
The consultants sought to understand what it is that people currently love about the area, the key issues facing the towns and what the community would like Aireys Inlet to Eastern View to look and feel like in the future. They heard some clear and consistent messages about the importance of the natural environment and coastal village character, but also a broader range of views regarding specific topics such as whether there should be an active recreation space in Aireys.
The general outcomes and emerging directions and themes from Phase 1 have been captured in the Phase 1 Understanding Places: Summary of Findings Report (prepared by AXOS Urban) andPhase 1 Understanding Places: Background Report (prepared by Council). These reports are available for viewing on the Surf Coast Shire website at http://www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/My_Property/Building_Planning/Planning/Strategic_Projects_Studies/Aireys_Inlet_Planning_for_the_Future.
Have your say on the vision: As part of the second phase of the project – Visioning – the findings of Phase 1 have been extracted to formulate a shared vision and supporting principles for the towns. The Vision and Principles document is also available at the above website. Council is now seeking your views on the draft Vision and Principles to make sure we have got it right.
After the feedback period concludes we will revise the Vision and Principles, as required, and seek Council endorsement at the Council meeting in April. We will then start working on the draft Structure Plan. Further community engagement activities will be planned around that time.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and input so far. The community’s response has been overwhelming.”
In April AIDA made a detailed submission responding to the shire’s documentation resulting from its community consultations at the beginning of the process. AIDA made recommendations aiming to clarify the shire’s initial understanding of the key local issues to be taken into account, under the headings of:
- Environment, emphasising its central importance in all local planning
- Heritage, relating to the Waddawurrung traditional lands
- Character, focussing on the importance of our coastal village character and the ongoing threats to it
- People and housing, including demographic changes, older persons’ housing, the appropriate types of commercial developments and recognition of the district’s creative character
- Tourism, activity and commercial areas, stressing their low-key character and the need for improved pedestrian connections
- Recreation, supporting more informal walking and cycling routes and opposing reference to a sporting oval in the Painkalac Valley
- Transport and roads, under sub-headings covering sustainability, informal character, shared pedestrian/ vehicle use and tourist traffic, and
- Fire risk and safety, addressing the tension between fuel reduction and environmental character, the need for places of last resort, local emergency mobile bandwidth capacity and Great Ocean Road traffic management on high fire-risk days.
In response to AIDA’s observations that planning controls need strengthening because local character is under continuing threat from over-zealous developments, planning permits being issued for developments which clearly don’t meet the planning scheme’s objectives, and infrastructure (pathways, roads, traffic management and signage) which fail to follow established objectives, AIDA was asked to make a further submission on where the planning processes for buildings, infrastructure and precincts are currently failing, and how they might be improved.
In June, the second phase of community consultation took place in the Aireys Inlet Hall, on the shire’s preliminary draft of the structure plan’s key directions and key actions and also the proposed urban design framework for the Top and Bottom Shops – bringing together the ideas canvassed in stage one. These proposals contain a number of strengths, but also a number of problem areas requiring further changes. AIDA is currently preparing its response to these proposals.
At its meeting on 28 July the shire received the draft structure plan and urban design framework for the Top and Bottom Shops. The council resolved to put it on public exhibition for four weeks for community feedback. Some of the major recommendations of the structure plan include:
- Contain the townships within their existingsettlement boundaries to protect the surrounding environmentally significant land and retain buffers to the Great Otway National Park.
- Facilitate the redevelopment of 2 Fraser Drive for higher density housing suitable for older persons and incorporate the community garden on the site.
- Not progress the development of an active recreation space in the Painkalac Creek Valley, butinvestigate the opportunity for enhancement of the primary school oval for recreational use and continue to facilitate the sharing of sports facilities in Lorne, Anglesea, Bellbrae and Torquay.
- Work with GORCC, VicRoads and affected landowners to address the environmental, traffic and amenity impacts of large visitor numbers at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch at Eastern View.
- Construct a pathway linking the Bottom Shops with Old Coach Road via River Reserve Road and Bambra Road and provide a continuous pathway between the Top and Bottom Shops.
- Recognise the value to the community of the Aireys Pub as a social focal point and consider future opportunities for additional tourist-oriented uses on the site.
- Lobby VicRoads to permanently reduce the speed limit to 50 km/h from Boundary Road, Aireys Inlet, to the SLSC in Fairhaven and to 60 km/h in Eastern View.
- Investigate the feasibility of providing public toilets at the Community Hall in lieu of the Top Shops.AIDA will be commenting on the draft structure plan and urban design framework and encourages members to also review and comment on the draft plans.