Saturday, December 22, 2018

When two tribes go to war


This screenshot from Google Maps shows the area where Sister and Bone Doctor live on the Bellarine Peninsula. You may have to click on the map to see the red line. As you can see there is a huge area to the left of the red line, with a small coastal area to right.

The large area is the City of Greater Geelong local council area. The small excised coastal strip is the Borough of Queenscliffe (sic), with it two towns Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale and is where Sister lives.

Although there is a golf course on Swan Island, I believe it is Crown land and under the control of the Department of Defence. I think you have to have specific reason to be allowed on to the island. 'Dey have soldiers with guns 'dere'.

The gap of water between Point Lonsdale and Fort Nepean is known as The Rip, where there tidal water flows in and out swiftly through the Port Phillip Heads into the bay. All ships have to be piloted through the heads as it is very dangerous. Melbourne has the largest port in Australia, so commercial shipping and recreational shipping, along with the Spirit of Tasmania ferry make it a very busy place for shipping.

The Borough of Queenscliffe is on a road to nowhere, that is, you do not pass through it to get to anywhere except if you want to use the Queenscliff to Sorrento car ferry across to the other side of the bay. Queenscliff was once a prime holiday destination for the wealthy holiday makers from Melbourne, who used to arrive by steam ferries and perhaps later by train, and hence it having come about for wealthy holiday makers, it has some very beautiful old and historic buildings.

While not everyone in the Borough is wealthy, Sister Bone Doctor are what you would call comfortable though they live quite modestly, there is huge wealth in the Borough, but it is of the quiet non ostentatious kind of wealth. This makes it a very desirable place to live for some and although I wondered why Sister bought a house there, I am pleased she did now that I know the area. Their house has appreciated far beyond the average house price in Melbourne. As usual I will be prone to exaggeration, but the greatest crime in the area where Sister lives might be a visiting dog owner not picking up after their dog. No local person would dream of doing such a thing. It is pretty well compulsory to have a dog and to walk it along the beach path.

Now see the inland straight border of the Borough. The line runs along Fellows Road, which was the limit of any residential housing in the area, but not any more. As I said, to the right of Fellows Road is the Borough and to the left the City of Greater Geelong,  The area was mined for shell grit many years ago and so is classified as degraded land, yet on the degraded land nature made a useful place for birds and other wildlife.

Ah, but along come developers with huge plans for a new development on the 'degraded' land. The local community got into a stew about the matter. I expect business people probably did welcome the thought of the newcomers of the estate spending money in the town, but most local residents did not.

There were studies, there were panels, there was ministerial intervention, there were committees and of course fierce lobbying by both sides. If it had to be redeveloped, the plans ended up being quite strict, especially the environmental aspects. I am having trouble finding recent information but one proposal was approved, against regulations about connecting inland canals to the sea. I understand that the developer had to pay a 120% bond of the cost of all environmental works. Developers are well known for walking away from such things, so I hope this stood. But now while some of the project has been completed, ownership has changed and I am at a loss as to how things stand now. Hopefully Sister and Bone Doctor may be able to fill me in, although they haven't been active against the development.

Of course the good residents of the Borough are far to politie to publically react if they asked the question of someone about what part of town they lived in and the answer was in a street on the Geelong side of Fellows Road, but mentally, they will think, oh, that new housing estate.

Not in my backyard? Elitism? Snobbism? Probably all of those, but the the residents of the Borough of Queenscliffe have something very special in the area where they live and I don't blame them for wanting to protect what they have.

Of course the council rates for all the new properties will go to the City of Greater Geelong, but the Borough will be bearing quite of bit of the costs for the new residents




12 comments:

  1. Developers are a very mixed bag and I often find myself wondering whether any of them would live in the areas they 'develop'. I suspect not.

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    1. EC, only the very best of areas they may develop.

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  2. I grew up in Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. In the fifties and sixties, Cape Cod was still a bunch of charming fishing villages. Everyone knew each other, people had land around their homes, and children rode their bikes and played with delightful freedom.
    Cape Cod has gone through unbridled growth and construction. Gone is the charm it once had. Sadly, the beautiful old homes have worn down. Taxes have forced people to sell and move away, andcrime has come to call.
    Quite sad, really. I loved it there, and it is wonderful to take my granddaughter back, but when I had to shield her from a dead body in the parking lot at Walmart, because of a heroine overdose, I knew my dear hometown had changed.
    Develop to me, is not always a good word.

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    1. Maribeth, but what can be done as people need places to live? Sad, nevertheless.

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  3. I worked in Geelong for a couple of years and loved it. And our favourite place to rest and relax was Queenscliff. This attractive beach area is a great place for your sister to have chosen.

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    1. Hels, it is just a lovely spot and until recently, quite underrated.

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  4. When the "hoity-toitys" in Adelaide make a similar fuss about residential development near their homes, I'm rather prone to saying "get over it, people need to live somewhere, imagine if it was you wanting a home" and if you know me at all, you'll see that I'm mostly just jealous of the hoity-toitys for what they have, a beautiful old, possibly historic area in which to live.
    You do make a good point about not spoiling that area with over-development, and if houses do get built, I hope they are sympathetically designed to suit. And with enough proper parking and leisure areas included.

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    1. River, that is the thing. They are built to maximise profit for the developer, not to be great places to live.

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  5. When I bought my little ancient stone house (where we now live), I was told that one of the fixed advantages was that no-one would ever be able to build in the tiny hamlet, as the area was 'protected'. Since then, two houses have been built, and a crazy holiday village (old sea containers) is being constructed. When has 'No' ever meant 'No'?

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    1. Cro, no never means no when it comes from the authorities, as you know.

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  6. Well, we are cram packed in Oregon, that's for sure, with more people moving here all the time. There is no infra structure for such an influx of people. I can see why people move out of decrepid horrible massive cities to come here, but they're spoiling Oregon now, so the resentment rises within me. Congestion, pollution, littering of public places and stomping and littering trails and off the trails, destroying everything, as only crowds of people can.

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    1. Strayer, it is a familiar story. Why has Oregon become so popular?

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.