Saturday, January 16, 2016
It was amazing that a small area of two seaside towns were allowed to have their own council when all the rest in the Geelong region were forced to amalgamate to form a huge City of Great Geelong. They reckoned at the time that they were unique, but we can all say that. So it it time to bring 'em in?
Borough of Queenscliffe locals debate local government’s future
BOROUGH of Queenscliffe residents have questioned whether their council should be amalgamated with the City of Greater Geelong during a spirited community meeting.
More than 100 locals attended a meeting this week in Point Lonsdale, called by Local Government minister Natalie Hutchins as part of an ongoing review of the local government act.
Ms Hutchins told the meeting she was open to discussions regarding a long debated boundary change, which would see hundreds of Pt Lonsdale residents living in new developments west of Fellows Rd — currently within the Geelong council boundary — integrated into the borough.
But some passionate locals took the issue one step further, with several suggesting there was little need for a council serving just over 3000 people.
The possibility of creating a “Bellarine Shire” was also debated.
The Borough — Victoria’s smallest local government area — survived widespread council amalgamation in 1994 on the back of a passionate community campaign highlighting the area’s unique historical features.
However, Ms Hutchins insisted this week amalgamation was not presently on the cards.
“The Andrews government does not have an agenda of amalgamation ... it’s not on our agenda in this term of government,” she said.
The debate around a boundary change, however, “needs consideration,” she said.
“The Borough is extremely unique in that it sits in its own realm, but that has also led to a boundary being formed that might not be where the natural growth is,” she said.