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Budget 2022-23 to fulfill community vision

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Surf Coast Shire Council’s Budget 2022-23 will fulfill the vision to be an active, diverse community that lives creatively to value, protect and enhance the natural environment.
Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton was proud that key projects and initiatives in the Budget will pave the way for a connected community, and work towards cementing the Surf Coast as an environmental leader.

Adopted at the June Council meeting, Budget 2022-23 features a $34.6 million capital works program – $13.6 million of which will be spent on new projects including Aboriginal language on signs to support First Nations Reconciliation, a regional bike route on the Great Ocean Road between Jan Juc and Bellbrae, and Karaaf Wetlands stormwater management.

Meanwhile $14.5 million is allocated for renewing existing assets – headlined by the $2.1 million Winchelsea Pool renewal – and $14.3 million for roads upgrades, maintenance and renewal. The latter includes Torquay North traffic improvements and a new two-lane bridge as part of Gnarwarre’s Pollocksford Road Bridge which received a $2.8 million Federal Government grant in May, freeing up $1.55 million in the Budget to help fund other roads renewal and upgrade projects.

“We were rapt to receive the Federal Government grant, particularly as it has enabled Council to further reduce our asset renewal backlog, which remains a long-term financial challenge,” Cr Stapleton said.

“We have a responsibility to maintain our assets and ensure they are safe and fit-for-purpose for our growing community. The Winchelsea Pool is a good example of a much-loved facility that will be renewed so it can continue to improve the health and wellbeing of locals and visitors.”

Other significant infrastructure projects are Deans Marsh Community Hall redevelopment, Winchelsea’s Eastern Reserve netball courts resurfacing, and an upgrade of the community-led art centre in Torquay, The MAC. The thriving local arts community will benefit from Budget 2022-23, with a total $174,000 allocated to an arts and culture program expansion.

Mayor Stapleton acknowledged the 24 community submissions received during the exhibition period.

“It’s always great to hear from passionate locals and learn about their priorities,” she said.

“The Draft Budget was developed with attention to the long-term financial challenge of balancing the budget, and prioritising funding of projects and services.

“This year we had a greater emphasis on allocating resources to projects that have been fully scoped and are ready to deliver.”

Surf Coast Netball Association was successful in its bid to waive $5,000 of court hire fees for 2022-23 and to receive administration support in its first season of operation. This will assist the association to transition from being Council-run to community-run.

“With almost half of the community submissions relating to roads, we’re pleased that the organisation’s submission resulted in the $1.55m increase for roads renewal and upgrades,” Cr Stapleton said. “This allocation will support some of the roadworks-focused community submissions.”

“We thank everyone who took the time to make a submission and hope that we can play a role in bringing some of the other ideas to life through our community project development program or the new-look grants program, which has a further $35,000 of funding available in 2022-23.”

The Budget 2022-23 includes a rate increase of 1.75 per cent, in line with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government. The annual increase in rate revenue is essential for Council’s future viability, and ability to support the community and meet its aspirations.

The urban garbage collection fee is budgeted to increase by 5 per cent (to $455) and the rural garbage collection by 8 per cent (to $388). The rural increase is higher to align the two garbage collection charges over the next four years.

The next stage of the Anglesea Landfill Rehabilitation ($3 million) is a key project in the budget, joining other environment-focused initiatives such as a litter enforcement program, Aireys Inlet and Anglesea drainage investigation, waste education, Winchelsea tree planting program, ongoing funding for the Towards Environmental Leadership program, and exploring more solar and energy savings at Council sites.

“The budget supports Council’s ongoing certification as a carbon neutral organisation, which involves continually taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, while residual emissions – which mostly come from our landfill – will be offset,” Cr Stapleton said.

“We are committed to protecting our environment and helping our community to thrive through environmental leadership, so it’s pleasing to see the numerous ways the Budget is supporting us to achieve this.”

Key projects in Budget 2022-23

Project

Total Cost

Pollocksford Road Bridge Renewal
$ 3,800,000
Anglesea Landfill Stage 4 Rehabilitation
$ 3,000,000
Winchelsea Swimming Pool Renewal
$ 2,142,000
Extension to the Public Library Stage 2 (CY05c) (Subject to Successful Grant)
$ 2,050,000
Deans Marsh Community Hall Renewal Redevelopment
$ 1,144,000
Torquay Central & North (OR01) – Deep Creek West and Contributions to Developer Works
$ 475,000
Eastern Reserve Netball Courts Renewal
$ 302,000
Construct Regional Bike Route Along Great Ocean Road (PC08) – Strathmore Dr to Bellbrae
$ 230,000
Sparrow Avenue Anglesea Drainage and Road Upgrade
$ 228,000
Footpath Renewal – Hendy Main Road Moriac to Newling Reserve
$ 131,000
Torquay North Traffic Improvements
$ 115,000
Horseshoe Bend Road Pedestrian and Cycling Safety Improvements
$ 103,000
Karaaf Stormwater Management
$ 90,000

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Next articleCouncil seeks urgent investigation on ailing Anglesea River Surf Coast Shire Council has formally noted increasing community concerns about the health of Anglesea River, and wants urgent investigation into the impacts of historic and current groundwater extraction, land use and climate change on its catchment. Council resolved at its 28 June meeting to call for hydrogeological modelling to properly explain the interaction between surface and groundwater in the catchment. It will not support groundwater extraction unless it is proven to have no detrimental impact on the river and/or its catchment. The calls will be included in Council’s formal submission to regulator Southern Rural Water in response to an Alcoa application for a six-month extension of its trial pumping groundwater from the Upper Eastern View Formation aquifer below the catchment. The pumping trial extension would take extraction through to March 2023. Alcoa is using the water to partially fill the void left by its former Anglesea coal mine. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning data shows that Anglesea River flows have dropped to about 10 per cent of long-term averages, despite normal or higher rainfall years. Its water is constantly acidic, devoid of fish and there has been a dramatic increase in mosquito larvae. “Anglesea River and catchment are of immense environmental, social and economic importance to our community and the failing state of the river is a deep concern for many people and to Council,” Anglesea Ward councillor Mike Bodsworth said. “Last year the community established its long-term vision for the Surf Coast Shire, establishing its first principle – ‘protect, conserve and restore our natural environment’. “We need a more comprehensive picture of the factors influencing the river’s decline before important decisions are made about the use of water in the catchment. “This is a complex issue and we need expert analysis of the impact of historical groundwater extraction.” Council’s submission also calls for: • Respectful engagement with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners. • Consideration of any relevant lessons from groundwater extraction causing acidification at Barwon Downs borefield. …/2 • The findings from hydrogeological research to be shared with the Anglesea community. • Anglesea community to be involved in development of an Anglesea River and Catchment Recovery Plan, including environmental goals and how they might be achieved. Multiple acid events and fish kills have been recorded in Anglesea River across decades and low water flow is affecting the function and health of its estuary. ENDS Not for

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