Council to open up Port

Andrew Mathieson
Geelong’s council has redrawn Portarlington’s town boundaries to fit in hundreds of new building sites.
Geelong’s council has voted in favour of expanding its Portarlington structure plan at the 11th hour.
Ocean Grove councillor Jan Farrell attempted to head off the changes but her bid fell on deaf ears at a council meeting this week.
Cr Farrell feared the application for more retirement housing combined with another two large residential developments would “encourage urban sprawl”.
Stunned ward councillor Tom O’Connor led a chorus against her, citing a need to meet the demands of the town’s ageing population.
“Well, this is the first I’ve heard of it and I’m quite surprised,” Cr O’Connor said.
Councillors had previously postponed hearing the report on the proposed Portarlington and Indented Head structure plan a fortnight ago.
Under the plan, council will rezone a site on Mercer and Oxley streets for lots aimed at retirees despite the state Planning Minister previously ruling out the proposal because it was outside town boundaries.
The site is a drained swamp, with residents concerned the land has soil problems.
Portarlington Planning Action Group secretary Dorothy Knight said there was no need to rezone land for the 95lot retirement subdivision.
“There could be seen to be a need for a retirement village in the town,” she said.
“But what is required is a retirement village and certainly not a residential (estate) for retirees.”
Ms Knight said Portarlington had a “need to consolidate within the town” boundaries to deliver council services to its growing population.
The structure plan also included assigning more residential housing at an Olive Grove rural site at the entry to Portarlington.
Cr O’Connor believed the structure plan supported the introduction of planning controls over the Bellarine Hills.
Portarlington Community Association member David Hughes welcomed future development close to his vineyard at the grove.
“We don’t have any hassle with it but we weren’t one of the objectors to the rezoning,” he said.
“Some of the properties around us were.”