Business opposes DAL limits

September 13, 2021 BY

Local business representatives want an independent review process before the Draft Bellarine Peninsula Statement of Planning Policy is finalised.

THIRTEEN local business owners have called on the state government to review the Bellarine Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Program initiative and consider the potential impact of proposed growth restrictions.

In an open letter to Premier Dan Andrews, the local employers have expressed concerns about the DAL’s proposed protected settlement boundaries which will limit how big towns like Ocean Grove can grow.

“Preserving natural habitats and avoiding unchecked urban sprawl are in everybody’s interests, and we fully support the DAL in its efforts to achieve these outcomes,” the letter says.

“However, we are gravely concerned about the severity of the proposed protected settlement boundaries and the impacts they will have on our businesses, our employees and their families.

“Young people need local avenues for trades and apprenticeships. Forcing people to commute long distances to seek employment is contrary to sound planning practice – jobs must be attainable locally to sustain cohesive, healthy communities.

“What is more, prohibiting the supply of new housing will deepen the housing affordability crisis for first home buyers on the Bellarine.

“It will place the dream of home ownership even further our of reach of young people and their families … businesses on the Bellarine will face the same local worker supply shortages that are threatening businesses along the Surf Coast and other areas.”

The business leaders have also questioned the DAL consultation process, which had involved three phases of public engagement over the past few years but has now closed, with a final statement of planning policy to be released later this year.

“While public hearings and independent advisory committees were employed in previous DAL assessments, it appears the Bellarine community will not be afforded the same due process,” the letter said.

“A stated objective of the DAL is to preserve the character of our towns. But local businesses are the life blood of these towns, sustaining tourism whilst at the same time providing important products and services, as well as career and employment opportunities for locals.”

The letter’s signatories have urged the state government to establish an independent third-party review process “so that the critical impacts of the DAL can be properly and transparently considered”.

The letter has been signed by Con Alevras (Morgan and Griffin), David Draper (Draper Civil Contracting), Jason Corless (Kingston Coast), Marty Chichester (Mr Grubb), Damian Cayzer (Kerleys), Andrew Hopper (Hopper Homes), John Said (Glasshouse), Leon Eyck (DE atelier Architects), Aaron Anstis (Geelong Building Solutions), Jason Lipscombe (Mezzanine Design), Bernard Hooley (Oakdene Vineyards), Glenn Smethurst (BC Gardens) and John McOuat (Pacific Gull).

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