Pledge looks up the creek

South Barwon MP Darren Cheesema

By Natalee Kerr

Mixed messages from State Government have put the future of Torquay’s Spring Creek under a cloud, according to a community group.

The government promised before November’s election to prevent residential development of the land but forthcoming permanent town boundary consultations meant locking up Spring Creek could take “another 12 months”, said 3228 Residents Association’s Sue O’Shanassy.

“In the meantime we’re still getting these inappropriate development proposals,” she said.

“As a community we have to come up with the time and money to keep fighting against these developers.”

Ms O’Shanassy expected developers to “push hard” for Spring Creek during the consultations.

The consultations will follow the government this week declaring of Torquay and Jan Juc “distinctive areas and landscapes”.

The declaration would “permanently” protect the towns from over-development, the government said.

But the announcement omitted any reference to Spring Creek, which the government had promised to protect by restoring Duffields Rd as Torquay’s permanent western town boundary.

The boundary would make Spring Creek off-limits to developers, who have been planning 2000 homes on the land for more than a decade.

The office of South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman confirmed yesterday that the boundaries were “still subject to the coming consultation process”.

But Mr Cheeseman posted earlier on Facebook that Duffields Rd would “absolutely” remain the western boundary.

Any backflip now would create “a lot of disappointment”, Ms O’Shanassy said.

“It will be very disheartening if all you can see are houses and shops down what is now currently a beautiful valley.”

Shadow planning minister Tim Smith said the government’s commitment to protect Torquay from over-development “doesn’t mean anything”.

“Did they lie to (voters) by pledging to move the town boundary?” he asked.

“Is that now a broken promise?”