Citizens' Jury to hand down its 2050 recommendations

Published on 01 December 2017

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The Colac 2050 Growth Plan Citizens’ Jury has identified eight new growth areas for Colac that will allow for an increase in population of up to 12,800 people during the next 30 years and beyond.

The jury of 33 people also identified two additional potential areas in Colac’s west to be further investigated for growth into the longer term. 

Their recommendations will inform how Council drafts the Colac 2050 Growth Plan over the coming months.

Driven by principles including connectivity and social, economic, financial and environmental sustainability, the jury answered three key questions: how and where should Colac grow; what facilities and infrastructure would be needed for Colac looking forward to the year 2050; and how should Council fund the growth of Colac?

The jury placed a strong emphasis on the importance of green spaces, providing a range of lifestyle opportunities, connectivity via walking and cycle tracks, and having a high quality range of community services and facilities.

Colac’s Allan Robb is one of four people who will formally present the jury’s findings to Colac Otway Shire Council’s December 13 meeting.

Mr Robb said jurors were well informed and supported throughout the process and he felt confident about presenting the findings next month.

“There was great respect shown to the jury members by the facilitators and the staff of the Colac Otway Shire,” Mr Robb said.

“If we wanted more information we felt confident to ask and we were given that information; we were well supported by independent experts in everything from drainage to urban planning.

“The process enabled us to make informed decisions in a democratic way. It was a good process.”

Juror Lauren Parsons, who will co-present with Allan, Clark Rodger and Heather Munro on December 13, said she felt that the jury had devised a plan that not only set Colac up for growth, but would make it a more attractive place to live.

“Like many members of the jury I really wanted to look to the future of Colac and find ways to bring families here and provide a reason for our young people to stay.

“My siblings and I left to get our degrees, diplomas and trades, but we were lucky to be in a position to come back to work and live, and I’d love my children to have the same opportunities.

“We also wanted to create an environment where people can live in Colac and travel to Geelong by having easy access to the duplicated highway. While we’d obviously prefer them to work in Colac it’s important to provide those options.”

Mrs Parsons said the democratic process of voting on proposals was very effective.

“The great thing about the way the facilitators ran the voting was that they asked us to stand up in support of proposals, and it gave an interesting overall picture of how the majority sees the future for Colac.

“There will always be people who don’t like things for certain reasons, but the way it was decided was quite good.

“As much as people like to criticise Council, I think all the staff we dealt with were fantastic. They really wanted us to portray how we wanted Colac to be, not how they perceived it should be.”

The jury made recommendations as to where Colac should grow towards 2050 and beyond.  They will be used to inform an amendment to the Colac Framework Plan to allow land to be rezoned and staged over the coming decades. Under the recommendations made by the jury:

  • Area 1: A 510 hectare area south of the Princes Highway taking in parts of Drapers, Triggs and Collins roads would be rezoned rural living with a minimum lot size of 6 hectares.

  • Area 2: A 263 hectare area of land immediately north-east of Belvedere Drive would be rezoned rural living, with a minimum lot size of 1.2 hectares.

  • Area 3: A 90.7 hectare area of land taking in parts of Tulloh Street, Woodrowvale Road, Aireys Street Forest Street, Pound Road and an area east of Gravesend Street would be rezoned general residential.

  • Area 4: A 33.5 hectare parcel of land immediately west of the current Scanlan Estate would be rezoned general residential.

  • Area 5:  A 206 hectare area south-west of Trinity College and Sacred Heart Primary School, taking in parts of Irrewillipe Road would be rezoned general residential.

  • Area 8: A 132 hectare area in Colac’s west running between the railway line and the current commercial area fronting the highway (behind Colac Motor Group) would be rezoned general residential.

  • Area 9: A 130 hectare area fronting the west side of the lake and stretching back across Rossmoyne Road towards the Corangamite Lake Road would be zoned general residential.

  • Area 10: A 39.5 hectare parcel of land between the former Colac High School site and Rossmoyne Road stretching from the Princes Highway to Lake Colac.

    Mayor Joe McCracken congratulated the jury on its work and said councillors looked forward to receiving a formal handover of the report on December 13.

    “Jurors went through a very intense three days that were rich with information, presentations, discussions and future planning,” Cr McCracken said.

    “The jury made their recommendations by consensus - that is at least 80 per cent of the jurors agreed with the recommendation.

    “The jury answered questions one and three very clearly, and this will give Council clear direction about how and where Colac should grow, and how we can go about funding some of the necessary infrastructure.

    “While the jury didn’t get time to finalise question two, relating to our community’s future infrastructure needs, Council is comfortable that we have an understanding of the jury’s intent, which will provide a basis for Council to further scope.”

    The jury will formally present its findings to the Council at the ordinary meeting on December 13. The meeting starts at 4pm.

    Council will then use the jury’s recommendations to inform the preparation of the draft Colac 2050 Growth Plan.  This Plan will be available for wider public feedback early to mid 2018.