Signs of the times

December 24, 2020 BY

Protect Spring Creek campaigners create a human town boundary alongside the Spring Creek Valley. PHOTO: DARREN NOYES-BROWN

PROTECT Spring Creek Campaigners lined the Great Ocean Road donning red campaign colours and displaying big purple signs emblazoned with words “Hands off Spring Creek” last weekend.

According to campaigners, the signs were held in a line as a symbol of a new town boundary, which would protect the valley.

The signs have now been distributed to various houses in Jan Juc and Torquay.

The occasion was an opportunity for supporters of the campaign to learn more about the Distinctive Area Landscape Planning Scheme (DAL) consultation process. The State Government is currently inviting community submission on two distinct options presented in a Draft Statement of Planning Policy regarding the DAL which reflect how Spring Creek Valley will be used in the future.

Land owners and developers Parklea and Okeland are supportive of option one, which would allow for low density ecologically sustainable development and Protect Spring Creek campaigners are supportive of option two, which would allow for environmental protection and regeneration.

Greater Torquay Alliance Secretary Darren Noyes Brown said the mood was upbeat at the event and the community remains committed to protecting a green break area between Torquay and Jan Juc.

“It’s important to maintain the green break in Spring Creek as it is habitat to critically endangered, endangered, threatened and vulnerable species. The Bellarine yellow gums are just one of many species under threat. Urban development would mean that Bellarine yellow gums on house lots could be removed for houses or bushfire and safety reasons, not to mention all of the human impacts that come with urban development,” Mr Noyes said.

Cameron Shephard, the owner of Okeland, one of the landowners in Spring Creek Valley, has reinforced the developers’ view that option one is the correct option.
“Under option one, Spring Creek is rehabilitated, restored and is open to the community. The alternative that Mr Cheeseman talks about does not exist. Option two, rural land use zone, will see Spring Creek without environmental protections and force development to other areas, such as multi-level apartments in the Torquay town centre,” Mr Shephard said.

Damian Cole, a candidate in the last state election and member of the GT Alliance, was emcee for the event.

“We want people who attended to start the conversation around town, to help people understand that now is the moment, after 12 years of fighting for our community to preserve Spring Creek, it has come down to the last six weeks,” Mr Cole said.

“Spring Creek hasn’t been saved yet. Some people think it was saved back in 2018 during the election, but that just rescued it from imminent development, but that really just opened the door for us to rescue the valley.

“This is our chance to stop it once and for all.”