Back to the oval yet again!
Update September 2016: Over the winter months the AIDA committee became aware that another proposal for an oval on the Painkalac Valley was being raised in the community and with Council.
The concept of an oval on the valley was thoroughly explored in 2015 during the preparation of the Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Structure Plan and the Shire’s Open Spaces Policy which both concluded that the development of an oval in the valley would not be pursued.
The committee was concerned that the concept of an oval was back on the agenda and, to clarify the issue, and to get a definitive statement from Council about its commitment to its policies, AIDA raised the issue during Public Question time at the Council meeting on September 13th 2016.
AIDA’s President read the following statement to Council and asked two questions. These, and Council’s response, are below.
“The Aireys Inlet and District Association, AIDA, has been active for over 50 years and its newsletters are a record of the repeated proposals for developments on the Painkalac Valley land.
Since the 1980s the concept of developing a sports oval on the valley has been repeatedly put to the community and Council. These proposals have all been investigated and debated with professional studies and reports commissioned.
The conclusions have been consistent – the community does not support development on the valley and, for a variety of environmental and financial reasons, Council has decided that the valley is not an appropriate site for a sports oval.
The most recent of these lengthy investigations, discussions and community consultations was throughout 2015 during the development of the Eastern View to Aireys Inlet Structure Plan and the Shire’s Open Spaces Policy. The two policies were formally adopted by Council in 2015 and both explicitly address, and do not support, the concept of a sports oval on the valley.
Despite these policies AIDA is aware that, now that valley farmland is for sale, there is another proposal for a sports oval on the valley.
My questions are – has Council or its staff received any proposals, formally or otherwise, or been made aware of this suggestion for an oval on the valley land since the Structure Plan was adopted in November 2015?
Will Council stand by its policies which do not support such a development?”
Chris Pike, Surf Coast Shire’s General Manager Culture and Community responded:
“Council has been contacted by parties interested in pursuing an oval on valley land. Where that has occurred Council has notified them of the recent process to develop the Structure Plan and that this clearly states Council’s position on the matter.
The plan states that Council will “Not progress the development of an active recreation space in the Painkalac Creek Valley, but investigate 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.
At the August 2016 meeting Council adopted Planning Amendment C110 which implements the Aireys Inlet to Eastern View structure plan. Any change to Council’s position would require a review of this structure plan. Finally, Council is well advanced in its work assisting the primary school to develop a master plan that seeks to address issues and opportunities associated with the school and community using the school oval.”
Sarah Henderson calls a community meeting to discuss the ‘lack of recreation space in Aireys Inlet”
Despite the structure plan and the Open Spaces Policy Sarah Henderson, Federal Member for Corangamite organised a community meeting at the Aireys Pub on Thursday September 29. Sarah said she was keen for ‘locals to come along and have their say”.
As discussed earlier, this issue has been raised and debated repeatedly – most recently throughout last year. After the announcement of the meeting AIDA wrote to Ms Henderson with the background to this issue and our belief that the community has already been consulted in depth about its recreation priorities.
The discussion very quickly became a promotion for a recreation space, or oval, on the Painkalac Valley. While the valley land was not mentioned in Sarah Henderson’s letter it was the centre of attention.
The largest (83 acre) block on the valley is for sale and under contract (subject to a subdivision application) and it was suggested that some of this could be made available as a recreation space.
The concepts ranged from a grassy patch to a full oval for competitive games. There was also a discussion about placing some of the valley into public hands with a call for ideas which prompted a brief description of the Painkalac Project. (This concept was to run a public fundraising campaign to purchase all the valley to restore its wetlands. Given the land is under contract the concept is not progressing.)
The meeting ended with nothing decided, a lot of upset and grumpy people and a more openly divided community.
We will continue to discuss the current proposals for the Painkalac Valley with the Surf Coast Shire and provide you with any new information but anyone wanting to discuss the situation can contact the committee via the Contact button on this website.
Application for a sub-division of land in the Painkalac Valley
The AIDA committee has been made aware of an application for a sub-division of one of the lots for sale in the Painkalac Valley. We are concerned about what this means for the various and stringent conditions in the VCAT Section 173 agreement that covers development on the valley. The link to the application is below.
The Painkalac Project
Over the past few months AIDA has been involved with The Painkalac Project which was investigating the possibility of fundraising to purchase the Painkalac Valley land to place it in public hands and to restore its wetlands.
While we still believe in the project it cannot be progressed as the largest block of the valley land is under contract to another purchaser.
The concept of placing the valley into public ownership is well supported by many in the community. Trust for Nature believes it is a worthwhile project and has offered assistance and the R.E.Ross Trust offered some financial support.
If you have any queries or comments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the AIDA website or my
email [email protected]
22 September, 2016
Back to the Oval All Over Again (April 2015)
AIDA’s view on the subject of a Further Proposal for Oval/Recreational Space in the Painkalac Valley
This issue has been raised yet again in the context of the recent Consultant’s brief for the Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Structure Plan.
The environmental impacts of positioning an oval in the Painkalac Valley have been put forward many times: the impact of importing soil and seed; fertilisers polluting the river and the consequences of allowing lighting, buildings and gravel car spaces and people into this highly valued and one of the few and fragile river-valley ecological systems along this stretch of coastline. Whether ‘low profile’or with’small scale amenities’ as the Structure Plan consultants have advised the community, these adverse impacts will not be able to be overcome.
This issue has been raised many times over the past 30 or so years (see also the 2012 article below) and it is surprising to see it again proposed in the 2015 Structure Plan.The results of a 1991 Painkalac Creek and Floodplain Environmental Study commissioned by the then GRC, Barrabool Shire, Department of Conservation and Lands and AIDA and carried out by a professional team, recommended against development of the river flat for an oval or residential development citing the environmental value of Mellors Swamp and the regional significance of the Painkalac Creek wetlands, and set the tone for the 1993 Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Master Plan which rezoned Mellors Swamp as Public Open Space – Flora and Fauna Reserve, and recommended retention as an open valley landscape of the freehold river flats alongside Bambra Road.
Indeed, a recent survey of members undertaken by AIDA shows a majority of respondents still wish to conserve the valley, an outcome which showed no appreciable difference in opinion from the wider surveys of all residents carried out in 1990 and 1999.
As importantly, AIDA would seek economic justification for what would be an investment by Council of millions of dollars for the establishment of an oval/public open space with continuing upkeep and maintenance costs additional to that.
The question of an oval/public space has been raised on and off over the past 35 years and neither an economic or demand-based case has ever been established.
So it’s back to the future in 2015 where the lack of an oval could be a ‘gap’ in our open space and the review of the Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Structure Plan is canvassing opinion on having a ‘sports field and small scale amenities’ located on the Painkalac Valley.
If this ‘gap’ in our open space is to be filled, AIDA’s firm position is that the Painkalac river flats are not a viable site.
Back to the Oval Again (February 2012)
Council received an offer of land at 23 to 79 Bambra Rd (also known collectively as the John Allen land) for use as a recreation reserve, including an oval. The land offered is in a flood zone and not the council’s preferred site. Councillors considered the offer in camera and rejected it, but made an alternative offer for a site referred to as lot 3 (or option C in the report linked below, see photo from this report) at the same address. Mr Allen was given 60 days to consider the offer after which it would be withdrawn. The offer was not accepted.
So where to from here? In the Aireys Inlet Recreation Infrastructure Strategy 2008, (see: http://www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Search?keyword=aireys+in let+recreation+infrastructure+strategy ) a reserve at Boundary Rd and Gilbert St was recommended as a recreation site. At the 22 February 2012 meeting, councillors recommended that this site be considered, in conjunction with DSE, for tourism / passive recreation. Development of two loop trails and a management plan were mentioned in the recommendations.
Gary Johnson AIDA Newsletter July 2012