Councillor Column: Jim Mason from the City of Greater Geelong, May 28
Support for the community
A big thanks to everyone who took the time to read through the Draft 2020-21 Budget to give their feedback. I know it’s a long read so I can appreciate the effort that many community members made before consultation closed!
In case you haven’t had the chance to browse through the projects and initiatives proposed for your area, I’ll take you through a handful.
Recently council endorsed the Drysdale Sporting Precinct Master Plan, after close consultation with sporting clubs and groups, residents and schools.
The plan maps out medium and long-term upgrades to the site, including a new premier soccer field, two netball courts, a new multi-purpose field and district level playground.
As part of the proposed budget, council has allocated $215,000 to get the master plan up and running.
As chair of the Rural and Coastal portfolio, I’m particularly excited by the $160,000 set aside for the development of a Southeast Bellarine Coastal Reserve Strategy.
This is all about putting together a panel of experts and stakeholders to look at options to combine the Buckley Park Coastal Reserve, which stretches between Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale, and the Lake Victoria wetlands. This would result in a better protected wildlife park.
There’s also $63,000 proposed for our beloved Drysdale Potato Shed to help renew the facility. This funding will give the arts and culture hub a massive boost as it recovers from coronavirus restrictions.
As you can see, these proposed allocations cover a range of different fields. With a $161.2 million capital works program, the focus has been on delivering shared paths, and other facilities and initiatives that the community has been asking for in an equitable and accessible manner.
The draft budget is aimed at supporting the community and local job market through and out of the pandemic.
The next step in the process will be for the public feedback to be reviewed by the Council Submissions Panel next month, before coming to council for consideration.
The plan is for council to adopt the final budget on June 30.
We need your input!
I’m pleased there’s been another extension of an online survey, which is part of the City’s study into the feasibility of an information and livestock exchange.
I should add that the draft budget has set aside $150,000 towards the business case and phase one of implementing this project, which is very pleasing!
There’s eight days left for farmers and landholders who have horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs or chickens etc to have their say. The survey covers those within the City of Greater Geelong, but also extends to those in the Surf Coast Shire and Golden Plains Shire.
We’ve had a great response so far, with more than 200 surveys filled out, but we need more to get a full picture of what information farmers and landholders need to run their property and get stock to market.
Please head to geelongaustralia.com.au/yoursay or use the City of Greater Geelong app to help us, help you.
While you’re there, you might also notice the Draft Environment Strategy 2020-2030 is up for feedback.
It’s worth taking a look at the City’s goals to protect our much-loved and unique environment from the effects of climate change and population growth.
There’s also a handy interactive map in the Draft Social Infrastructure Plan consultation, that gives you a chance to explore all the projects and facilities that are planned for your area over the next three years. These can include sporting facilities, libraries, community halls and parks.
It’s great that state coronarvirus restrictions have eased but as we know, life isn’t even close to being back to normal and we must continue to follow the guidelines that keep us safe.
The pandemic has turned everything upside down and that often means our healthy routines are out of whack.
While you’re keeping warm at home, I suggest you take a look at the City’s new website called ‘Healthy at Home’.
It’s an online toolkit full of fact-checked information and practical tips to live a healthy lifestyle, including meal planners, shopping lists, meditation exercises, workouts and information about respectful relationships.
‘Healthy at Home’ can be found here: geelongaustralia.com.au/healthyathome
Cr Jim Mason
Bellarine Ward, City of Greater Geelong