Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : March 23, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 6 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2016
DO WE want our island to be
just another sprawling mediocre
suburb within 20 years, or do we
acknowledge that we live in a very
special place, surrounded by nat-
ural beauty and amazing wildlife?
This island, at the bottom of a
vast continent, attracts visitors
from all over the world and we get
to enjoy it every day of our lives.
So do you agree that we have a
collective responsibility to protect
and nurture this remarkable yet
fragile environment for present
and future generations?
This article is the beginning of
what we hope will be a stimu-
lating and challenging two-way
conversation with the people of
Phillip Island and San Remo. It’s
a conversation about the past...
how we got here... and it’s a
conversation about the future...
where are we going? Where do
we want to go?
Shaping our future.
To put it into sharper focus, it’s
about taking control and shaping
our future by acting together as a
united community, determined to
make our firmly held beliefs and
even some of our dreams, reality.
It’s not about sitting back and
waiting, possibly even complain-
ing that someone else ought to do
something about this or that...
insert your own want, desire or
need. It’s about empowering our-
selves to create the future com-
munity that we envisage for our-
Stroll along any of our Western
Port or Bass Strait beaches and
let your gaze linger on the far ho -
rizon. Be amazed at how big the
sky appears to be. We are not
hemmed in or restricted in any
way. So why do we allow artificial
constraints to limit our vision of
Poor culture. Poor pro-
cess. Poor decisions.
For 22 years, our island and
San Remo have been governed
from distant Wonthaggi. Vic-
toria’s council amalgamations
were meant to create efficiencies
and save money, but there were
losers in the process and Phil-
lip Island was one of the biggest
losers of all as we fell victim to
decades of neglect and cynical
This poor culture of Bass Coast
Shire Council is reflected in poor
processes leading to poor deci-
Where is our hospital, aquatic
centre, arts precinct, cinema, re -
liable electricity supply, fast reli-
able broadband, TAFE and town
planning sympathetic to the com-
munity and responsive to our role
as an international tourism desti-
nation? Where is our community
22 years of neglect
Note the year: 2016. This is
where our chapter of the story
begins. This can be the moment
when we stand up and say 22
years of neglect is enough. The
Wonthaggi experiment has failed
us all. It’s time to do things dif-
No secret agenda.
So who are we? We are a broad
and diverse slice of the commu-
nity: young families, retirees,
business owners, professionals,
teachers, artists, property own-
ers, former councillors, former
mayors, community workers and
philanthropists. We are residents
of Phillip Island who believe in
putting this community first.
We have 2500 members and
8000 signatories to our Stand
Alone campaign. After Easter our
numbers will be even stronger.
We are not here for self-interest.
We have no secret agenda. Unlike
major political parties, we do not
accept donations from vested in-
Our primary purpose is to be a
catalyst for positive change and
a sustainable future by becom-
ing a strong voice and powerful
advocate for the people of Phillip
Island and hopefully San Remo.
Existing local government ar-
rangements have left a void where
nobody regularly speaks or advo -
cates exclusively on our behalf.
There is a vast reservoir of tal-
ent in our numbers, but we know
there are many more people who
also care passionately about their
community, actively contributing
to their particular local group,
project or cause. These good
citizens, past and present, have
done the hard yards, creating
our secondary college, protecting
the foreshore, volunteering for
the SES, CFA, Red Cross, Men’s
Shed, patrolling our beaches and
working towards the medical fa-
cilities we need.
success benefits all
For an example of determina-
tion against the odds, look no
further than the Cowes Commu-
nity Bank, created by half a dozen
people who stood, fundraising in
all weather, outside the newsa-
gency for years. It’s put a million
dollars back into this community
since 2010 providing vital sup-
port to sporting clubs, scholar-
ships for local students and fund-
ing for children’s early learning.
The list of committed people is
long and we proudly acknowledge
your service. We stand together.
Catalyst for ideas
large and small
Our group has lots of ideas
about the sort of future that is
within reach for this commu-
nity, ideas that will diversify and
strengthen the local economy.
We are certain that you do as
well. Many ideas are way beyond
the scope of any local govern-
ment and will require a mix of
business, community and cross-
agency coordination, but that
shouldn’t deter us from thinking
big. Our role is to be the catalyst,
the spark that ignites the passion
to aim higher.
That’s why we are inviting you
to contribute to this series. Every
couple of weeks we’ll publish a
thought piece to stimulate discus-
sion. There’ll be grand ideas and
small ideas. Some will be blue-
sky thinking: Re-imagine our is-
land with a self-contained solar
electricity grid. Others will be de-
cidedly down-to - earth, practical
in nature and eminently do -able
in the short term: Re -imagine the
way we recycle compost.
Two-way dialogue through
These articles will also appear
on our website www.re -imagine.
com.au and Re-Imagine Phillip
Island Facebook page where you
can have your say.
We encourage constructive, re-
spectful dialogue. Disagree with
us by all means and if you have a
better idea, let’s hear it.
Every so often we will take the
most popular topics to public
meetings. Yes, real people, face
to face. These will be moderat-
ed panel discussions, town-hall
style, where members of the com-
munity can engage in Q&A with
an expert panel.
If you are still reading this ar-
ticle, you are either rolling your
eyes or nodding in agreement.
However, we know there are
also those who will remain scep-
tical of our motives and we note
that some of the most strident
voices opposing us are generally
acting out of barely disguised self-
interest. Others, quite legitimate-
ly, require proof that a new gover-
nance model will succeed.
Invitation to San Remo
to stand together with us
Phillip Island and San Remo
are both blessed and cursed by
being wonderful places to live
and highly desirable places to
visit. The soon to be released
Tourism Strategy 2035, a docu-
ment guiding development and
planning for the next 20 years,
will no doubt highlight the pivotal
role San Remo will play and must
play in the Island’s future. We are
linked, not just by geography and
a bridge, but also by the com-
mon goal of achieving sustainable
Big questions require
Re-imagine Phillip Island with
the vibrant self-contained village
of San Remo connected to a fast,
frequent public transport shuttle
circling the island in both direc-
tions, in tandem with world-class
walking and cycling paths linking
bushland and coastal trails.
How can these ideas that have
been around in various forms for
so long become reality?
How do we balance the enor-
mous growth predicted in day-
tripper numbers with the in-
evitable pressure to build more
housing estates on farmland?
When do we say the island has
These are big questions that
require thoughtful consideration.
The first small step is for the
entire community to accept re-
sponsibility for the future. It’s no
longer someone else’s job. It’s our
turn, so let’s all Re-imagine Phil-
A map shows the plan for current building works on San Remo’s foreshore.
Foreshore’s face lift
FROM afar, it has looked like a giant
But unfortunately, said Andy Chap-
pell, chair of the San Remo Foreshore
Committee, it’s not nearly as exciting.
“It could have been San Remo’s new
big artwork, but it’s just a boring wall,”
Mr Chappell said.
“Boring, but important for the integ-
rity of the foreshore.”
Mr Chappell said after about two
years of discussions with the Depart-
ment of Land, Water and Planning, San
Remo’s $390,000 sheet piling wall be-
gan construction around the start of
March, and is expected to be finished
at the end of Easter.
The 20 metre wall will be about 1.5
metres high - using 12 metre long
sheets of metal rammed into the earth
- and will have a stainless steel fence on
its edge and a path way.
The wall was initially going to include
a pelican viewing deck but Mr Chappell
said those plans had been dropped.
“The volunteers who run the pelican
feeding said that wouldn’t be much
use,” he said, adding that during the
building works pelican feeding was
held a short distance down the beach.
“The pelicans haven’t been at all dis-
turbed by the building works.”
Once completed, the area will be
landscaped and Mr Chappell said the
next focus of the San Remo Foreshore
Committee – which reports to the State
Government – would be the continua-
tion of walking paths around the town.
These 12 metre long sheets of metal are hammered into the ground to cre-
ate the wall, which prevents erosion.
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