Bellarine brainstorm 2050
July 13 2012
Bellarine business, community and political leaders came together last week putting up a swathe of big ideas
– some revolutionary to the economic and planning traditions of the region
– as authorities strive to thrash out a long term vision to 2050.
It began with local Bellarine surveyor turned international financier and project developer Lawrence Elms, who outlined his bold vision for a “six pier” development stretching out into Corio Bay with residential units and hotel accommodation, and a convention centre.
Then came his audacious suggestion that Alcoa could be swept from the Geelong and Bellarine landscape with an environmentally friendly community use area focusing on the natural beauty of Point Henry.
Governments could consider putting the millions of dollars of funding that has been allocated to Alcoa into a Special Economic Zone on the Bellarine.
There was great concern expressed by many speakers regarding urban sprawl across the Bellarine, with calls for harder town boundaries, a far better level of community engagement in planning and development processes, a need to switch from traditional manufacturing to the new service economy and greater emphasis on ecology.
The conference, put together by the Committee for Bellarine, was aimed at putting some “meat on the bones” of a strategy that resulted from the Bellarine 2050 Symposium in October 2011.
The Committee for Bellarine is driving a strategy that aims to secure the food, energy, employment and environmental future of the region locally. The executive director of the Committee for Bellarine, Tom O’Connor, said the Bellarine needed to have more than a series of structure plans for each township and that the focus must be on long term regional sustainability.
“The Bellarine is an area with a character, surrounded by water on three sides, with some very special geographic features,” he said.
“At the moment we have a population that swells from 45,000 to 120,000 on a summer’s day. We have to put in place better food, retail, accommodation and transport structures to maximise and harness the value of that. In 20-30 years time, we will have a permanent population that is much larger than today. That’s also a very big challenge for us today.
“We have great agricultural potential to secure food supplies locally, become sustainable water-wise, and to develop a better employment base.
“We have to take those industries to the next level and education is very important to that. Getting the right schooling, TAFE and university involvement is key to getting where we want to be in the future.”