Bellbrae residents are joining forces to fight unwanted development.
A controversial plan for a caravan park is at the centre of the movement, under the leadership of a new Bellbrae Resident’s Association.
Member John Olsen said the association wanted Bellbrae to avoid merging into “the Torquay urban sprawl”.
“We want to define and maintain the Bellbrae identity,” Mr Olsen said.
“We’re implacably opposed to the caravan park.”
Bellbrae councillor Keith Grossman said development in the area was inevitable.
“Development in Bellbrae is something that will happen and has been happening for the past two years,” Cr Grossman said.
“Development will continue to happen as more blocks become available and Bellbrae will continue to grow- if it is allowed.
“Bellbrae will no doubt be sought-after even more in the future.”
Cr Grossman wants to build a retirement village on his land at Bellbrae.
He supported the “idea” of a caravan park but questioned its proposed location at Bellbrae.
“The caravan park has to go somewhere and it has to be where land is available but I’m not sure whether Bellbrae is the best spot,” Cr Grossman said.
“Even though I’m the fourth generation of my family living at Bellbrae, I think there’s plenty of room for everyone as long as it’s planned properly.”
About 50 Bellbrae residents and Surf Coast Shire planning officer Brydon King discussed planning concerns such as the caravan park and establishing a development buffer zone at a public meeting last week.
The meeting also nominated office bearers for the new association,
But Bellbrae’s Rod Foord has backed away from the association because he “despaired” about councils’ likelihood of listening to the group.
“We (the Bellbrae community) appreciate the engagement with the planning department but if the community consultations don’t result in what the people of Bellbrae want then it’s a waste of time,” he said.
“A lot of things are being discussed about what we may or may not want for the future of Bellbrae but one thing is clear: we do not want a high-density caravan park.
“Council has the power to not let the plan go forward and it is very clear we do not want it.”
Torquay councillor Ron Humphrey said he promised to listen to Bellbrae residents.
“The caravan park is not a done deal,” he said.
“If it does comes up and people don’t support it then I won’t support it.
“A community should dictate any development for their area, not potential developers dictating the form of development to a community.”