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Council to consider Anglesea Community and Health Hub engagement report and next steps

The Anglesea Community and Health Hub Plan engagement report will be presented to Surf Coast Shire Council at its meeting on 27 February.

The hub is home to multiple community groups and agencies that deliver a range of services and programs.  Its ageing buildings are struggling to meet community needs, so early planning is underway on a new 30-year plan that meets modern standards and meets service needs now and into the future.

At its meeting, Council will consider commencing further engagement to prepare a revised draft concept plan for the hub, including a co-design process with a representative group from the community along with precinct users.  This process would be informed by project objectives and design parameters. The draft concept plan would be subject to community consultation before being considered by Council at a future date.

There has been a high level of community interest in the project in response to engagement activities undertaken in late 2023 on the hub draft precinct plan, with more than 150 people providing input.  This included 122 surveys being completed, 36 submissions made and over 100 people attended an open day at the precinct.

The key findings from the engagement include:

·       The exploration of a long-term plan for the precinct was generally supported.

·       There is strong support for retaining the natural environment and creating new green open spaces and landscaping.

·       There is general support for an integrated approach for the community and health services.

·       There was significant concern raised regarding traffic and parking design.

·       There is a desire for the precinct to retain its character in its natural setting, with the informal arrangement of low-rise buildings.

·       There was majority support for key worker housing within the precinct with over 60% of respondents noting that they support the idea subject to further information or for some aspect to be changed, eg. building height, or specific location of housing within the site. There was some support for housing to be relocated to another site, and others who opposed the proposed housing.

·       There was encouragement for the precinct to cater to all life stages.

There was also a range of implementation matters raised throughout the consultation, including how the plan could be funded, how it will be delivered and how the proposed housing would be funded and managed.

Council will also consider ratifying an expression of interest submission to Regional Development Victoria’s Regional Worker Accommodation Fund, for a housing component to be considered for funding should Council ultimately determine, after the next phases of engagement, this is its chosen direction.

Submitting an expression of interest at this stage would keep the opportunity open for Council to pursue funding, noting that it can be withdrawn at any point, subject to how the project progresses.

Housing is part of the mix in the precinct in response to Council declaring an accommodation crisis for local key workers in recognition of how a lack of affordable rental accommodation was impacting on the economy and sustainability of local communities.  During 2021 private rental vacancy rates dropped to less than 0.6% and median rents increased by 33% from $435 to $650 per week.

Anyone can attend the Council meeting in-person, which starts at 6pm on Tuesday 27 February at Council’s Torquay offices, or view it online at surfcoast.vic.gov.au/meetings.

For more information and the latest updates on the Anglesea Community and Health Hub go to: surfcoast.vic.gov.au/AngleseaHub.

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