THE proposed Portarlington to Port Melbourne ferry service has been snubbed by Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
Last week Mr Guy announced a $300,000 study into a commuter ferry service on the bay.
A spokesperson for the Minister yesterday confirmed the Portarlington proposal had been specifically excluded from that study. "Our examination of proposed ferry routes includes only services from the western suburbs of Melbourne into the Docklands," she said. "They do not include an interconnecting or stand-alone service to or from Portarlington."
She said under the Minister’s proposal there would be four stop-off and pick-up points between Werribee and the city. Those points would be Werribee South, Point Cook, Altona and Williamstown. "The idea is to ease congestion during peak hour on the West Gate Bridge," she said. "Travelling times from the wet could be cut considerably."
Bellarine Ferry Group president John Rae called on Minister Guy to reassess his priorities.
"Any research on a Port Phillip ferry service needs to include the Portarlington to Port Melbourne proposal," he said. "Studies by the previous Labor government have shown it is both a viable and valuable service."
Mr Rae said the travel time between the Bellarine and Melbourne would be about 45 minutes. Mr Rae and his group had campaigned and lobbied for five years for the ferry service. Its establishment depends on a $53m upgrade of the Portarlington Pier in what is called the Safe Harbour Project.
This involves the creation of a facility where ferries can berth safely in all weather. The project would also provide additional berths of the town’s growing fleet of mussel boats.
A delegation from the ferry group met with Ports Minister Denis Napthine in Geelong two months ago. Mr Napthine said he was impressed by their presentation and promised to undertake a cost benefit analysis of the Safe Harbour proposal. That analysis is due to be completed at the end of this month.
|Tom Bennett | May 7th, 2012
PORTARLINGTON is on the brink of a major investment and construction boom.
Three major projects worth an estimated $50 million have been unveiled by the town’s Business Development Association this week.
The projects have the potential to create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and will attract 200 new residents into the area when complete.
Bellarine residents are being encouraged to use the Committee for Bellarine’s new website to get involved in the region’s future.
The committee, a group of subscribing locals concerned with how the peninsula is developed and managed, would like its website to become a sounding board for everyone on the Bellarine.
Site developer Greg Campbell has added a forum to the site so all locals can share ideas and have their say about what they love about the Bellarine and what features should be protected.
Mr Campbell, who owns Bellarinewebsites.com, donated his services to the committee so its new dynamic website could have new features and perform well on mobile devices such as smartphones. The site now sports a Twitter feed – which captures all tweets mentioning the Bellarine – and for ship spotters a feed showing the movement of vessels in Port Philip Bay.
It also now has the open forum, which the committee hopes will encourage everyone to get involved with the committee’s work.
Because the committee – one of a number of its kind around the country – is not a council or government funded entity nor a traditional community association, it has been criticised in some circles for not representing the general public.
Spokesman Tom O’Connor is hoping the new site will change that perception, by increasing the public’s understanding of what the committee is trying to achieve, and actively inviting discussion from all Bellarine residents.
Mr O’Connor said the website’s community forum would help the committee achieve its aim of bridging the gap between the community and government.
“Part of bridging the gap is engaging the community. Opportunities (for getting involved) are difficult for people with full-time jobs and families.
“They’re the ones we want to concentrate on by offering not only face-to-face engagement but an online capability.”
Check the website out at www.committeeforbellarine.com.au.
Bellariners encouraged to net off
By JOANNA CARSON – Bellarine Times
March 25 2012
Greg Campbell has redesigned the Committee for the Bellarine’s website.
Committee for Bellarine is seeking government funding to carry out an economic development strategy designed to future proof the region.
The strategy is the next step in the committee’s “Bellarine 2050: Our Place Our Future” initiative. The funding, which would be sought from the State Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development, would be spent on implementing the Future Proofing Geelong program and supporting and directing both public and private investment.
Committee spokesman Tom O’Connor said the committee had sought help from consultants in creating a funding proposal. However, support from the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG), as well as Greater Geelong planning group G21, was important to the success of the strategy.
The economic development strategy proposal was created after a community workshop held last year, in which locals expressed their concerns about how growth might change the Bellarine and what aspects of the region needed to be protected from expected future development.
By 2050, up to 80,000 people are predicted to be living on the Bellarine Peninsula, which is still largely rural.
The proposal put to the government will include the development of a plan to direct public and private investment on the Bellarine for a post-carbon economy, which would incorporate future proofing guidelines.
The strategy would also create ways to provide the community with a voice to express their vision for the Bellarine in 2050, as well as identifying opportunities and locations for investment in local “green” projects. Green projects are defined as those which promote food, water and energy security.
The strategy would reference and provide input into other plans and strategies underway in the region, including the CoGG’s Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan 2006-2013 and plans being created by the government and G21.
It was also possible the strategy could be utilised in updating the council’s strategic plan from 2006-2016 to a 2012-2050 document.
Underpinning the strategy would be the Future Proofing Geelong principals.
Future Proofing Geelong is a partnership program between the CoGG, the Environment Protection Agency Victoria, Barwon Water, Deakin University, Committee for Geelong, Geelong Manufacturing Council and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce.
It works on the principle of using a collaborative approach to finding innovative ways to adapt to challenges like climate change and economic adjustment.
Mr O’Connor said the next step was to seek the CoGG and G21 support, with the application being put to the government after that.