Planning Minister Matthew Guy sparks sprawl fears as Torquay land is rezoned
Residents of Torquay are furious that their town has been rezoned. Photo: Pat ScalaThousands of homes are expected to be built at Torquay, west along the Great Ocean Road, after Planning Minister Matthew Guy rezoned a large parcel of land for urban development.
Mr Guy rezoned 240 hectares west of Duffields Road and north of the Great Ocean Road in the town as an ''urban growth zone'', the first step in opening farmland to residential and commercial development.
In December Surf Coast Shire Council requested the minister do the opposite and reduce the town boundary to Duffields Road.
AdvertisementMr Guy said he did not always take the advice of planning panel reports but ''in this one I certainly have''.
He said development in the Spring Creek area of Torquay had been a political football since the former Labor government expanded the town boundary - ''and it is time to put a full stop on this issue''.
Mr Guy said he discussed the Torquay rezoning with the Liberal Party member for the marginal seat of South Barwon, Andrew Katos, and Mr Katos supported his decision. Sid Pope, from the 3228 Residents Association, said the community was furious with Mr Guy's rezoning and he promised to actively campaign against Mr Katos at the November state election.
''He [Mr Guy] ignores community consultation, he ignores democracy and attacks a very brave council,'' Mr Pope said. ''It is a win for developers.''
Sue O'Shanassy, also from the residents association, said: ''The biggest disappointment is we haven't been listened to.
''There has been an extensive amount of consultation initiated by the council and for years it has shown the community would prefer growth in Torquay to go to the north and not into the Spring Creek valley.
''There is no benefit that I can think of for the community in developing the valley other than the money the developers and the landowners will make.''
In a statement Surf Coast Shire said the community would be disappointed by Mr Guy's decision to rezone the land west of Duffields Road.
''Council has listened and responded to the feedback received and I know many people will be disappointed by the decision of the Planning Minister,'' mayor Rose Hodge said.
In 2009 about 1000 opponents to development in the area gathered at Spring Creek to voice their concern.
They included international musician Xavier Rudd, who grew up near Bells Beach.