Originally written by TIANA RICHARDSON
DESPITE the public having the opportunity to put forward their ideas about the future of Portland’s central business district (CBD) the Glenelg Shire Council hasn’t received any written submissions for the Portland Integrated Growth Plan.
The council opened written submissions in December, inviting the public and business operators in the CBD to comment on the area’s future, with submissions closing on January 31. However, no submissions had been received as of yesterday morning.
The council’s acting group manager for planning and economic development, Gary Bebbington, said all business owners in the Portland CBD received a copy of the community bulletin and feedback form the week prior to Christmas.
“We have not received any submissions as yet and we are hopeful that we will receive many submissions on this important issue in the next two weeks,” Mr Bebbington said.
“The timing was specifically done to allow people the opportunity to carefully consider their views over the holiday period.”
The plan is for the long-term future of growth and development of Portland in the next 20 years, particularly in the CBD. The main aims of the plan are to support the growth of the local economy; improve connections between the city centre, the foreshore and harbour; protect heritage buildings and streetscapes; create a safe and attractive environment for pedestrians; determine the need and location for future commercial or residential growth and improve traffic access and parking.
Future councils and planning and economic managers will use the plan to approve primary CBD development and will be used by investor, developers and real estate agents in determining opportunities for new business infrastructure and actual or potential new business owners themselves.
“Long-term planning for a vibrant CBD is important for Portland’s future. It will guide the growth and development of the city centre over the next 20 years,” Mr Bebbington said.
A community workshop will be held at which people can also put forward their ideas and comment on other ideas, and Mr Bebbington said it was important submissions were received before then.
“Community consultation is a major part of this study and submissions received prior to the workshop on February 16 will enable us to gauge opinion and focus on areas of community interest,” he said.
The Portland Business Network (PBN), which is part of the Portland Tourist Association, has been invited onto the consultative panel for community stakeholders for the plan and is also encouraging the public to put forward their ideas about the future of the CBD.
“The PBN welcomes this timely and exciting opportunity to set in motion a train of events, which will – in our view – stimulate investment and clearly identify what is acceptable development in the form of the buildings and the locations of them, through to fine-tuning the cultural and liveability of the city between now and 2030,” a PBN spokesperson said.
“Members of the Portland business community including the valuable tourism sector are also strongly urged to weigh-in on the discussions now and help produce a bold vision and one that can meet the demands of a prosperous Portland, one where jobs are created because businesses can make the profits needed to attract investment and growth.”
Copies of the written submissions forms are available on the Glenelg Shire website at www.glenelg.vic.gov.au or by calling the Portland customer service centre on 5522 2200 and requesting a copy.
The community workshop on February 16 will be in the supper room at the Civic Hall from 6 to 8pm