Citizen jurors refine Colac vision

Planning and Services Pillar

Citizen jurors have identified potential growth areas for consideration as part of Colac’s 2050 growth plan.

A jury of 33 people identified eight areas which would help accommodate population growth of 12,800 people during the next 30 years, and two other potential areas for longer-term growth.

The jury’s recommendations will be formally presented to Colac Otway Shire Council on December 13, 2017 for consideration during drafting of the Colac 2050 Growth Plan.

Jurors considered issues including connectivity, social, economic, financial and environmental sustainability in responding to key questions: How and where should Colac grow; what facilities and infrastructure would be needed for Colac looking forward to 2050; and, how should the council fund the growth of Colac.

They placed 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.

Mayor Joe McCracken congratulated jurors on their work during three intense days which were “rich in information, presentations, discussions and future planning”.

“The jury made their recommendations by consensus – that is at least 80 per cent of the jurors agreed with the recommendation,” Cr McCracken said.

“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.”

Juror Allan Robb said the group had been shown great respect by the facilitators and Colac Otway Shire staff.

“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.”

Fellow juror Lauren Parsons said she felt the jury had devised a plan which would not only set Colac up for growth  but also 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,” Ms Parsons said.

“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.”

The jury’s growth area recommendations:

  • 510 ha 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 ha.
  • 263 ha immediately north-east of Belvedere Drive would be rezoned rural living, with a minimum lot size of 1.2 ha.
  • 90.7 ha taking in parts of Tulloh St, Woodrowvale Rd, Aireys St, Forest St, Pound Rd and an area east of Gravesend St would be rezoned general residential.
  • 33.5 ha immediately west of the current Scanlan Estate would be rezoned general residential.
  • 206 ha south-west of Trinity College and Sacred Heart Primary School, taking in parts of Irrewillipe Road, would be rezoned general residential.
  • 132 ha 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.
  • 130 ha fronting the west side of Lake Colac and stretching back across Rossmoyne Rd towards Corangamite Lake Rd would be zoned general residential.
  • 39.5 ha parcel of land between the former Colac High School site and Rossmoyne Rd stretching from the Princes Highway to Lake Colac would be zoned general residential.

Councillors will use the jury’s recommendations to inform amendment to the Colac Framework Plan, allowing land to be re-zoned and during coming decades. The recommendations will also inform preparation of the draft Colac 2050 Growth Plan which will be available for wider public feedback early to mid-2018.

Source: A Colac Otway Shire media release.