Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : December 23 2015 Contents THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2015 - PAGE 41
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I have grave concerns about the Cul-
tural and Civic Centre concept plans.
Like most residents I have long
awaited concept plans to redevelop
the Cowes Cultural Centre, since the
former Shire Of Phillip Island’s vi-
sion for the 80 acres on the corner of
the Phillip Island Tourist Road and
Ventnor Road to house it was scuttled
when the land was sold by the Com-
missioners following Council amalga-
Was a brief for the architects/consul-
tants prepared by Council officers af-
ter extensive community consultation?
The Concept Plan has ignored the
community’s need for a multipurpose
theatre/auditorium to hold functions
such as balls, fundraisers, weddings,
theatre, stage shows, movies etc to
seat a minimum of 300 people in one
It proposes a fixed seating theatre,
the same size as the inadequate exist-
ing hall space that the local commu-
nity outgrew years ago.
This leaves the community without
a hall, full stop.
The fixed seating theatre cannot be
used by the variety of groups that cur-
rently use it. The option of retractable
seating is being dismissed by council
staff, even though this would make
the space a multi-functional space.
The historical display has been rel-
egated to a smaller space towards the
rear. There was a real opportunity
here to combine the visitor informa-
tion centre and the Historical Display
into a tourist attraction with Thomp-
son Avenue frontage.
An entry fee could be introduced as
in other tourist regions, overseen by
information centre staff.
Money raised would assist the fu-
ture preservation of the valuable col-
lection and pay for new displays.
The library placed at the rear would
draw visitors past the information
and historical displays.
The atrium seems like a wasted
space that should have been included
in the theatre area.
A large area has been allocated for
arts and crafts displays.
There is no mention of additional
car parking or traffic management
plans as this proposal also includes
the Health and Medical Hub plus the
All so close to Coles, Woolworths
and Aldi, already causing huge traffic
problems, even during the tourist off-
If private enterprise were proposing
a centre of this size, the first consid-
eration by the planning department
would be car parking, particularly
with the adjoining Medical and Health
Hub plus the Aquatic Centre.
A car park bigger than that at Wool-
worths would be required.
Surely before releasing concept
plans, parking and traffic manage-
ment plans would have been investi-
gated to see if the proposals were be-
ing sited in the best location.
It appeared to me when visiting
the tent on Saturday afternoon only
residents with strong vested interests
were in attendance to support the
Concept Design which was strongly
promoted by council officers in atten-
It appeared to me that they were re-
luctant to listen to my views and more
interested in rejecting them.
I advise all residents to carefully view
the plans with a view to voicing your
own views on what Phillip Island resi-
dents will require in the next 30 years.
John Matthews, Cowes.
No experience in planning?
I am a mother of three primary aged
kids and make the following com-
ment after going to look at the concept
plans for the Cowes Cultural Centre.
Was anyone on the advisory com-
mittee, presumably there was one,
under the age of 70 years.
I doubt it!
Having come from Melbourne and
seen the vibrant spaces that are pos-
sible, I am completely disappointed in
the plan on show.
Name and address supplied.
Damaged caused to roads
Following up on my previous let-
ter about the school crossing in
Cowes, just in case any action is being
planned, here’s another photo show-
ing damage to road surface, no doubt
from a heavy vehicle, with similar
break up of surface in the spot just
beyond the black car.
There are just two car parks here.
The bent parking sign shows “No
Standing/2 hour limit.”
To provide sensible visibility, can
modifications be made to replace car
parks with shrubbery?
Or change parking sign to 15 min-
ute limit and NO trucks?
Bernie McComb, Cowes.
What about some shade?
Christmas wish for progress in
Cowes? There might be a feature or
two of Cowes Town Square to please
one or two people, like it’s “neat”, but
it doesn’t live up to most people’s ex-
pectations of Town Square.
Isn’t it supposed to be where groups
of people congregate, hang-out, get
“on the soap box” about issues and
There’s not been much rain lately
but plenty of wind.
And now an early start with extreme
hot weather. People occasionally pass
through, perhaps a child rings a bell
but only briefly, until mum or dad
hustles them away, looking for any
available shade from sizzling sun,
shelter from notoriously strong winds
or peace and quiet, away from never-
ending traffic noise.
There used to be full size shade
trees but these were the first to be re-
moved by the shire.
A couple of saplings are around the
edge but will take years before they
shade even the edge.
Nature of construction is a big slab
of concrete. When it gets hot, it takes
days to cool down again. If you want
public space to be cool, don’t surfaces
need to be permeable, to let rainwater
through, especially with trees to help
water penetrate deeply?
Then when hot weather comes
along, trees pump up water from
down below which is then “trans-
pired” through leaves.
Cool eh? But our standards have
slithered down into “heat island” style
towns, too much impermeable con-
crete and asphalt, so temperatures
can be as much as 10degC hotter than
found in forest.
For recovery, it might be easy to
make a few holes in the concrete but
not so easy to import full size trees.
So here’s an idea to suit Shire’s two
How about some shade mesh shade
sails? Poles are already there, just add
eye bolts and shade sails. Surely some
progress can be made, to get utility val-
ue from high cost investment, to make
Town Square just a little more hospi-
table and useful? Even simple enough
for Shire to deliver this as Christmas
present, but maybe not until next year?
Bernie McComb, Cowes.
Clean it up
To the Bass Coast Shire Council,
Did anything get done about this lack
of maintenance, Lower Esplanade,
Cowes, from requests in previous
years? If not, is it scheduled this year?
Just to be clear, there are drains to
the beach but useless.
From the puddle, it’s a vertical drop
to 90 degree bend to horizontal. It
blocks. Persevering during successive
dog walks, carrying various imple-
ments, I did get it cleared once, a few
years ago, but it didn’t last long.
Nature of problem isn’t just puddle
of water. There’s always ugly floating
Beneath surface litter is trapped,
along with cigarette butts and even
Many visitors tend to walk along
here before going to penguins. It’s
not a good look for a place which is
claimed to be the biggest tourist at-
traction after Uluru.
Please advise what will be done and
Bernie McComb, Cowes.
Dismayed by block clearing
I was very dismayed to learn of
the totally irresponsible clearing of a
block of land in Allandale Close Vent-
nor (Advertiser December 2)
This selfish insensitive act has com-
pletely changed the character of a
once lovely naturally vegetated street.
It is hoped the council has the pow-
er to heavily fine and force the irre-
sponsible land owner responsible for
this act to revegetate the site with ma-
ture trees to a state that would have
been the situation if the planning per-
mit was complied with.
I feel very sorry for the neighbours.
Name and address supplied
Too many houses
in Woolamai plan
The application for re- development
of the Phillip Island airport gives the
community a chance to change the
way rural land is developed.
Up until now when a property is re-
zoned, it is all one way.
The developer maximizes his invest-
ment and the community usually gets
5% of land for recreation or money in
The airport is outside the town
boundary and there is no obligation
for consideration of the recent infor-
mal request for 17 hecatres of public
open space in return for 300 houses.
This is the beginning of discussions
and a more realistic beginning is 150
houses and 40 hectares of open space.
Woolamai has 2500 properties and
is the biggest sub-division on the is-
Like all other areas, it was poorly
designed without consideration for
town planning principles and apart
from the magnificent coast on two
sides, has little recreation facilities for
It is hard to support that the con-
cept that we need facilities and our
ageing community will use the coasts
in winter for social engagement and
150 houses is an increase of 6 per
If this basic starting point with
traffic access away from Tampa Rd
through Veterans Way was agreed
then an increase of 50 houses may
result in a new roundabout at Woola-
mai - the islands most dangerous in-
Another 50 houses may be the
state’s best skateboard park.
There is a risk of the airport setting
a precedent, but it leads to a discus-
sion of what we want the island to
The town boundaries have evolved.
They were not defined with a big
picture approach. There is an argu-
ment for some fine tuning.
For example, selling sections of
Mitchell Reserve at Smiths to pay for
the purchase a a central block for a
town square. This concept was not
considered in the frenzy of subdivi-
sion in the 50s.
The normal reaction for Woolamai
residents is to say no way – nothing!
This leads to the very real possibility
of a future council or Planning Minis-
ter in five years approving 500 houses
and the community gets three hect-
This is where “get a bit and give a
bit” begins. The power lies with the
Most owners of rural land would
like to develop their property.
Town boundaries are always being
stretched. For example the 200 lot
residential subdivision behind the
Chocolate Factory that will be in clear
view from Churchill Island is now in-
side the town boundary.
Who of us approved this?
Our first Tourism Strategy is due for
completion in 2016 and it is likely to
include recommendations for linked
pathways around the island and ex-
tensive wildlife corridors.
Most of the land is privately owned
and while there are a range of uses of
rural land that are permitted with a
Planning Permit, there is no obliga-
tion for owners to give land for wild-
life, amenity of community use.
This must change. Get a bit, give a
The last dairy farm on the island
ceased operation last year. Farm-
ing is now about agri-business with
large farms. As the typical island 80
acre property becomes less viable for
farming, we must consider this valu-
able 75% of the island.
It is ready to be integrated as part of
the future off-peak recreation needs of
The spacious rural amenity of
farms is essential for our future but
it should also be used for vegetation
and nature trails. In return the owner
gets a tourism facility on two acres for
As Melbourne’s population doubles
over the next 30 years, we move into
As a community we can either lead
from the front or keep saying no and
get done to.
Can anyone remember the sequence
of events at Cadogan. There was no
semblance of strategic planning or
community inclusion by the Minister.
The airport has years of public in-
put ahead of it.
Let’s begin with genuine consid-
eration for this and every site to see
what power we really can achieve in
determining the best outcome for the
Precedent has already been set on
the airport where the developer has
had three meetings with the commu-
nity and has not yet submitted a pro -
This is the way it should be.
Council officers are here to imple-
ment what the community want in the
context of the Planning Scheme and
the Minister has the final say.
The community has the power if it
uses it rationally.
Phil Wright, Smiths Beach.
starts in Wonthaggi
When is a promise not a promise?
Well apparently when made by a
Labor endorsed candidate seeking to
be elected in the seat of Bass at last
year’s state election.
Last November, the Labor candidate
for Bass, Sanjay Nathan, quoted in
both local papers and stated again at
a candidates forum that a new Won-
thaggi Secondary College would be
funded out of Labor’s $510 education
fund if they won the state election.
A response I received recently from
the Education Minister James Merli-
no now confirms that the Labor Gov-
ernment has abandoned that commit-
In that response Minister Merlino
stated that ‘Wonthaggi was not a La-
bor commitment and that they would
be focusing on building schools in the
The Minister has stated previously
that the Labor Candidate was ‘mis-
Well tell that to the editor of the pa-
per and the people in attendance at
the forum who heard the statement
People lodge their votes based on
election commitments and these com-
mitments should be honoured. I’ve
raised this matter many times in my
first year in parliament and will contin-
ue to pursue this election commitment.
If Labor truly wants to make Victo-
ria the ‘education state’ then Wonthag-
gi is the place to start.
With the wonderful recent an-
nouncement that the Bass Valley Chil-
dren’s Centre will receive funding let’s
now complete the loop and build the
new Wonthaggi Education Precinct
and provide lifetime education for the
people of Bass.
Brian Paynter, Member for Bass.
Not a dogs’ off-leash area
Bass Coast Shire Council would
like to correct two mistakes printed in
the recently distributed summer edi-
tion of Council’s newsletter, Coastell.
The beach identified as an off-leash
area for dogs in Inverloch in the ar-
ticle ‘Dogs need holidays too’ on page
three of the Good Summer Guide
reads “between Abbott Street and
Ramsey Boulevard car park”.
This area was a trial site and is no
longer an off-leash area.
The correct beach is the beach area
from Wave Street to Ozone Street
from December 1 until February
28 and during the Victorian Easter
school holidays each year between the
hours of 6pm and 9am.
At all other times during this pe-
riod, dogs are permitted on-leash in
this area. Outside of these dates, dogs
are permitted off-leash at all times.
For more information on dog re-
strictions and off-leash areas, please
visit Council’s website at www.bass-
The information included in the arti-
cle ‘Bass Coast’s beautiful beaches’ on
page two of the Good Summer Guide
reads: “The ocean swimming pool at
Williamsons Beach in Wonthaggi”.
This should in fact say “The ocean
swimming pool at Bay Beach in Cape
The mistakes above were an admin-
istration error and we apologise for
any inconvenience caused. We have
put processes in place to avoid simi-
lar mistakes in future.
Paul Buckley, CEO, Bass Coast
Put the fireworks
at Smiths Beach
It’s a bit surprising that five council-
lors would ignore the advice of Phillip
Island emergency services, the council
officers, and a large number of the rate-
payers; but then we ratepayers are used
to being ignored by those we elected.
And ten vote for 9.30pm fireworks
at 9.30pm in Cowes.
After all the years of drama rapes,
fights and broken shop windows I am
amazed that anyone with any intelli-
gence would want go back to that era.
I know Cr Wright will say that it is
all a myth and we just don’t want the
young ones to have fun.
Well Cr Wright, I like to see the
young people having fun but the loca-
tion of Cowes is not the right one for
this so close to licensed premises and
the residential area.
By all means have the fireworks but
move them to where police will be
able to supervise them better.
The ideal spot is Smiths Beach, in
Cr Wright’s ward.
Put a barge with fireworks out on
the ocean to avoid fires, a couple of
police with drug dogs checking those
going down to the beach.
The perfect solution.
Bruce Procter, Newhaven.
Left us to deal
Comments attributed to five Bass
Coast Shire councillors in support of
reinstatement of 9.30pm fireworks in
Cowes (Advertiser Dec 16) are bor-
dering on absurd, ill-informed verbal
Where do I start? In my view, two of
the five who voted for the fireworks
may have a conflict of interest in that
they are closely associated with the
Phillip Island and San Remo Young
Professionals Group, which I believe
has few members.
Are comments made by Cr Phil
Wright about other communities like
Latrobe Valley residents being un-
likely to hear about the fireworks in
time to come across here, bordering
I say this given that I and the Bass
Coast CEO have both served in that
municipality in the past.
Police resources are allocated at
least six months in advance for events
such as these. To spring this on police
with less than three weeks notice is
Come New Year’s Eve, police resourc-
es here will be stretched to the limit,
with no back up available, given their
allocations were finalised long ago.
I fear for community safety, if not
this year, next year.
If you thought schoolies was bad,
this is far, far worse.
Congratulations to the five council-
lors who will be comfortably home in
their beds, while others face what will
be on the night!
I would not want to be in your posi-
tion, if things do go wrong. I’d like to
think they won’t.
Chris Jones, Cowes.
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