Thursday, 2 August 2012

VIC North Park should be rezoned: planning panel

 VIC North Park should be rezoned: planning panel

31 Jul, 2012 07:09 PM
NORTH Park should stripped of its recreational land status and rezoned as Business 1, but potential development at the site should not be limited to a major anchor retailer, an independent planning panel has found.
Despite its support of the rezoning, the panel was not convinced that use of the land should be restricted to allow for a major department store development and recommended changes to the development plan overlay (DPO4) in order to open up the land to a range uses.

It recommended that all references to a major anchor retailer should be deleted from the Swan Hill Planning Scheme amendment proposal required to rezone the land.

The report also suggested the deletion of a proposal to allow a permit to be granted before a development plan has been prepared, and recommended the implementation of a "consultation process with respect to the preparation and consideration of any development plan".

North Park Oval's future by sporting clubs and the associated public safety concerns were also addressed in the report, as were the concerns of user groups affected by any potential development, such as the local band and scout troop.

"The Panel also recommends that the Swan Hill Rural City Council give a formal commitment to facilitating the relocation of existing users of the two halls on the subject site to new premises with long term security of tenure and appropriate facilities to support the groups and their activities," the report read.

"The Panel finds that the proposed offsets for the loss of parkland are acceptable and that arrangements can be made to accommodate displaced uses from the subject site."

The report also dismissed arguments that the site should be set aside for education.

"As land owner, the State Government supports the rezoning and it can be expected that it would proceed to dispose of the land.

"If any land is required for a government purpose, such as education, then there are processes within government to establish any such interest before the land is sold.

13 June, 2012 12:53PM AEST
The Swan Hill Rural City Council has voted against a consultant's study that favours developing a second commercial precinct north of the city.
The proposal to rezone land at North Park has caused debate because it's about one kilometre from the Central Business District, and there's concern CBD retailers might suffer.
A report compiled by an economic consultancy firm found CBD traders would benefit from the second trading precinct, because it would prevent the loss of shoppers to bigger centres.
But the Mayor, John Katis says the report failed to win the support of councillors at a special meeting yesterday.
"The process was that the council will look at the economic report and will accept it or abandon it, and council has decided to abandon it. the next step for the north park issue is to go to panel. really i dont know which way she will look at it."
One of the objectors to the proposal, Keith Greenham, says councillors made a wise decision.
"The economic impact review was a weak document; it wasn't convincing in today's economic climate.
"So we just wait now and see what they do - maybe it's time to just pull the plug."
Swan Hill's mayor, John Katis says local businesses want the process to be exhaustive.
"Well this has taken a long time, five or six years, maybe even longer and I think a lot of the traders want this process to be thorough."
An independent planning panel will consider the proposal at the end of this month.
Thursday, 17 May 2012
Swan Hill Rural City Council Mayor John Katis says Council has a proud and strong record of directly assisting development and investment in the Swan Hill community.
Cr Katis said a proposal to rezone part of Swan Hill's North Park was entirely separate to other matters being drawn into the debate.
“Many of the issues raised through the pages of The Guardian recently relate solely to residential development – they have nothing to do with the current proposal to rezone a section of North Park,” he said.
“Growth in our region is about more than residential development. I encourage people to look at all the steps and projects Council has undertaken to progress our region.
“Many of the issues raised are also untrue, and I encourage residents to draw on the many facts about development, building approvals and rates previously published in Council reports and plans.”
Cr Katis said Council's proposal to rezone a 17,600 square metre section of North Park came about after a series of strategic plans that support the rezoning. He said the proposal was also part of a wider Council goal to positively develop Swan Hill.
“I think any progressive business in this city would be planning for and investing in its future. And just like those businesses, Council is investing in the community's future – it does so at every opportunity is gets,” Cr Katis said.
Cr Katis cited projects like the CBD redevelopment, Steggall Park, the Pioneer Settlement, Swan Hill riverfront, George Lay Park, Nyah Community Centre, Lake Boga Catalina hangar and plans to redevelop the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery as the most recent examples.
“The State Government, Places Victoria, Swan Hill Inc and Council will invest about $3.5 million at Steggall Park for the benefit of the entire Swan Hill and wider community,” he said.
“Perhaps most visibly and most relevant to this debate, is the investment of $3.6 million in the Swan Hill CBD to support traders there, to reinvigorate that area.
“And Council has run one of the most successful Skilled Migration Programs in the state, helping to place 270 skilled migrants into positions across the municipality over three years – a win for our region on many levels.”
All of these projects, Cr Katis said, had been the result of comprehensive and strategic planning.
“Planning scheme reviews and other development strategies take time, and for good reason,” he said.
“Ultimately, the community will inherit the infrastructure that is built in any development, whether public or private, so it has to be done well.
“That is why Council is spending significant funds and using its internal resources to develop a strategy to guide future residential growth in Swan Hill. And that is why Council recently adopted the Swan Hill Highway Business Zone Strategy – to provide a co-ordinated approach to develop our city's entrances.”
Council is now working on its 2012/13 budget, which Cr Katis said would include more initiatives for growth.
“Like always, Council will be working to minimise any rate increase. Like everyone else, Council faces increasing costs for things like utilities and insurance, and we try each year to increase our level of service to the community,” Cr Katis said.
“These are the factors the Council must consider, and these are the factors that influence any rate increase, not one development or project in isolation.”
Cr Katis said in recent years, Council's rate increases had consistently been at or below the state average. The current financial year's average rate rise in the Swan Hill municipality was 4.9 per cent, compared to the state average 5.9 per cent.