“Open letter” calls for DAL fairness, businesses say

September 18, 2021 BY

The blue-and-white dashed line shows the proposed protected settlement boundary for Ocean Grove - one of the many towns on the peninsula to have such boundaries under the Bellarine DAL program.

THE business behind a print advertisement urging more housing development on the Bellarine claims the Bellarine Distinctive Area and Landscape (DAL) program was “not a fair and transparent process”.

A spokesperson for Melbourne planning and property consultancy Dominion Property Group, which authorised the “Open Letter to Daniel Andrews” ad that ran earlier this month, said last week that the ad was “in large part a reaction to the shortcomings of the Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) consultation process itself”.

It was also a response to a “worrying lack of analysis that underpins the draft SPP – particularly of the impacts on businesses, jobs and the local economy”.

“Multiple requests were made for an independent advisory committee to be appointed, as was the case for previous DAL processes, so submissions could be independently and transparently assessed.

“As it stands, the DAL consultation is not a fair and transparent process and there are real concerns that what is proposed will have detrimental impacts on Bellarine communities, particularly businesses, in the long term.”

Public submissions to the draft SPP closed more than three weeks ago, but the spokesperson said that the ad’s publication after the deadline was not deliberate.

They said “standard advertising costs” were paid for the ad to run but declined to reveal a specific figure.

They claimed “numerous other businesses” apart from the 13 mentioned in the ad were also opposed to the Bellarine DAL in its present form, and that “others elected not to sign the letter and make their opposition public because of concerns about aggression from the anti-business contingent that does not acknowledge businesses’ legitimate concerns about the DAL”.

According to the spokesperson, Dominion Property Group has received no response to the ad from the Premier nor any of the local Labor MPs, nor anyone from the Victorian Opposition.

One of the many changes outlined in the DAL’s draft SPP are settlement boundaries for all of the Bellarine Peninsula’s towns.

Developers with an interest in land outside these boundaries have been calling for the boundaries to be expanded.

The “Open Letter to Daniel Andrews” print advertisement ran in the Geelong Advertiser’s September 4 edition and also in The Age.

The ad claimed the protected settlement boundaries were too severe, would limit the supply of local jobs and make houses more unaffordable for first-home buyers, and also called for an independent third-party review process into the impacts of the changes proposed in the Bellarine DAL.

It was signed by representatives from 13 businesses – Morgan & Griffin (which has been consulting about its proposed Oakdene West development near Ocean Grove with Dominion Property Group), Draper’s Civil Contracting, Kingston Coast, Mr Grubb, Kerleys, Hopper Homes, Glasshouse, DE atelier Architects, Geelong Building Solutions, Mezzanine Design, Oakdene Vineyards, BC Garden Construction and Pacific Gull.

Thank you for supporting local journalism!