New growth areas step closer

HERE THEY COME: The proposed northern and western growth areas.

Council has received 80 submissions on its plans for two Armstrong Creek-sized developments in the Geelong’s north and west.

In May council voted to release the plans for both growth areas for public consultation, which concluded on 22 June.

Council expects the areas to house 110,000 people, more than the existing population of Ballarat, by 2050.

Mayor Bruce Harwood described the long-term project as “an enormous opportunity to create something special for Geelong’.

“The growth areas were identified in 2013 in partnership with the Victorian Government and now we’re making sure they reflect the community’s vision,“ Cr Harwood said.

“We’re planning for the long-term to carefully grow each neighbourhood over the coming decades.

“We need to ensure housing remains affordable and that there is diversity in the housing market place for potential buyers”.

The Northern Geelong Growth Area will be home to 48,000 people with 17,000 dwellings over 2,089 hectares, according to the plans.

The area would feature more than 100 metres of rise with “stunning, panoramic“ views across Corio Bay, a council spokesperson said.

“It’s well connected to Geelong’s employment precincts, Avalon Airport and the Port of Geelong.

“Around 30 per cent of the Northern Geelong Growth Area will be retained as open space.”

The Western Geelong Growth Area will be home to 62,000 people with 22,000 dwellings over 3,245 hectares, according to the plans.

The plan proposed converting Batesford quarry into a lake after it closed and building a tree-lined corridor prioritising public transport, walking and cycling.

The growth area would also feature of 20 kilometres of river frontage, the spokesperson said.

“Planning will focus on protecting the strong environment and heritage values of the area, including the charm and character of the Batesford township.

“Around 40 per cent of the Western Geelong Growth Area will be retained as open space.

Lara developer Richard Bisinella welcomed the plans to expand but wanted to see more details before commenting further.

“It’s important for Geelong to continue to grow so that opportunities aren’t lost to other regions in the state.”

Council sustainable development portfolio holder Jim Mason said the plans gave Geelong certainty.

“Our ultimate goal is to create sustainable and connected communities that enhance community wellbeing while keeping the same character and lifestyle that locals enjoy today,” Cr Mason said.

City Hall will use feedback from the consultation to develop a framework plan, which it will release to the public when council considers it next year.

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