THE City of Greater Geelong council has received the go-ahead from the state government to eventually compulsorily acquire 18 properties in and around Armstrong Creek area to more quickly build road upgrades, drainage infrastructure and sporting reserves in the growth area.
The council adopted Amendment C410GGEE and submitted it in late December to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which approved the amendment with changes late last month.
The amendment will apply Public Acquistion Overlays (PAO) for proposed open space to five properties in Charlemont and three in Mount Duneed; for proposed roads to three properties in Charlemont, two in Armstrong Creek and one in Mount Duneed; and for proposed drainage to five properties in Charlemont and one in Armstrong Creek.
This land has now been reserved in the city’s planning scheme and will later be compulsorily acquired to create three retarding basins/wetlands, five road and intersection upgrades, and three sporting reserves.
According to an explanatory report on DELWP’s website, about 30 per cent of the entire Armstrong Creek development has been completed so far, but “transfer of the public land through the planning permit process has not been able to secure all the necessary public land in a timely manner and a formal acquisition process is required to secure the land necessary to deliver high priority projects”.
“Each of these projects is critical to the ongoing development of the Armstrong Creek growth area based on road safety, facilitating ongoing development or meeting a development contribution plan (DCP) infrastructure timing trigger,” the report said.
The officers’ report to City of Greater Geelong councillors about Amendment C410GGEE in December notes there were two objections to the amendment during the public exhibition process during August and December 2020, from one of the affected landowners and the Department of Transport respectively, but both of these were later withdrawn.
The report states the 18 affected landowners will be compensated based on an independent assessment of the market value of the land, and other costs affected by the acquisition, in accordance with the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, but the city accepts that imposing the PAO means it will have to pay out more.
“Land acquired through the PAO process costs the city more than land transferred by agreement and the purchase costs may exceed the value included in the DCP.
“Compensation payable under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act will not be recovered through development contributions.
“Notwithstanding this, the use of the PAO is the most time efficient mechanism available for the city to acquire the land it needs to deliver these critical projects.”