Just sayin’…

May 28th, 2024Just sayin’…

It will be interesting. So many people against the idea to turn productive farmland into residential land in East Street, Daylesford, but can they change the Hepburn Shire Council's mind?

By Donna Kelly

It will be interesting. So many people against the idea to turn productive farmland into residential land in East Street, Daylesford, but can they change the Hepburn Shire Council’s mind?

I hope so. It seems crazy that you would talk about the importance of farmland – including what AusNet hopes to get hold of – and then go and carve it up for houses that are not yet needed.

And the poor bloody farmer and his family. We are taught from a young age to try and make a living for ourselves and our families, give back to the community and look after ourselves if possible.

Yes, there are safety nets there for people if needed, and I have been on the dole a couple of times in my younger days, but I reckon I have more than paid back my fair share of tax.

But the farmer and his family are going to be hit with higher rates and the added boot up the backside of the state government’s windfall gains tax. As Graham Kennedy said so well, apparently imitating a crow…”Farrrkkkk”.

So even if the farmer and his family want to keep farming, which they do, they may not be able to afford to stay on their own land. Their land. Maybe someone from The Castle can help them out.

And then Hepburn Shire Council’s Development executive director Ron Torres, who seems like a nice enough bloke, says planning is not allowed to take into account any monetary issues. They may not but the farmer has no choice. Life is all about monetary issues.

(Quick aside. Why do organisations like all levels of government twist their titles around? Mr Torres’ real title is Executive Director Development. I always change them back. Just for fun. Obviously I need more in my life.)

Anyway, we will see if the council will listen. Mayor Brian Hood, who I do like, says the council is hoping Future Hepburn will be a legacy for the current crop of councillors but they only have until September before they go into caretaker mode for the next election.

Cr Hood says getting it right is more important than the timing so we will see.

And legacy projects are not always all they are cracked up to be. The Rex, anyone? I also wonder why the council is not looking at residential land at the end of Jamieson Street. Lovely rolling hills, nice views, no farmland to chop up. Apparently there are concerns over the steepness of the land and potential bushfires. Hmmm.

I also wondered about the cost so far for all the planning consultants and experts. I am sure they have worked hard but we must have paid them pretty well – and that means ratepayers. (The council says $1.3 million to date.)

And some of the statistics are a little mind blowing. For example, Glenlyon’s documents say the town had a 2021 population nearing 450 which is expected to grow by 60 people by 2041. The same document says research expects demand for 54 new homes over the next 15 years. So this is 2024 and by 2039 we will need 54 new homes for 60 people. Are we just planning for divorcees?

The document then says housing capacity, including both infill and greenfield development, is only 47 dwellings, and “due to over-riding environmental and servicing factors” some of this demand could be accommodated in nearby Daylesford. Maybe in East Street? WTAF?

I guess it’s another watch this space but I hope the council goes for getting it right over getting it done. Just sayin’..

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