Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Shop to your hearts discontent

Posted: October 1, 2012 by abeanderson in Geelong
Tags: , , ,

Controversial plans for the construction of a shopping complex in Highton’s prestigious estate off Scenic Rd. look certain to be given the go ahead, after the City of Greater Geelong Council put the bid to an independent panel earlier this week.

Lascorp Development Group plan to re-zone land they recently purchased from the Barrabool Hills Baptist Church, at the corner of Stoneleigh Crescent, and Province Boulevard in Highton.

Centre plans located at the proposal site. The overwhelming community feeling is represented fittingly by a youth’s graffiti on the sign.

Local Councillor Rod Macdonald believes that the project will add much needed infrastructure to the area still in its infantile stages.

Mr. McDonald along with nine other councillors recently delegated the shopping centre proposal to an independent panel, who will refer back to Council after a deliberation period of around a month, with a recommendation on the viability of the proposal for the area.

Ultimately however, the decision of forging forward with the project rests with the council.

Landscape view of the proposal site.

Many local residents have spoken out however against the external independent panel, believing that as the comprising members aren’t from the area, or even from Geelong, they couldn’t possibly gauge a complete understanding of the problems a shopping centre such as this could cause for nearby residents.

“How could they possibly believe that people from Melbourne or somewhere other than Geelong could be the people with the best knowledge of the area and the community, and the best to decide where our future in our area is headed,” said Highton mother of two Carol Finch.

Resident vexation with the impending proposal does not stop here, as further fears include that the centre could impede potential bay views, lower housing prices and create unwanted associated noise.

“We bought land in this estate because it was described in the brochure as having tree-lined boulevards, wonderful open space and views. There wasn’t any mention of a supermarket, associated noise, traffic jams and semis making late-night deliveries,” said disgruntled estate resident Dawn Jencke.

Outbursts about the proposal have also stemmed from the plans’ potential effect on pre-existing local independent businesses such as those on North Valley Road, an increase of traffic in the area leading to the destruction of the quiet community feel, as well a danger to children playing in the area.

Current residents of Province Boulevard Dennis and Debbie Jeneka feel helpless when talking about the effect that the shopping centre, which set to be completed directly across the road from their family home, will have upon their day-to-day lives.

Not all estate residents however share this pessimism towards the proposal.

Highton resident of 22 years Alannah Bisinella believes the shopping centre is imperative for residents in the estate and the expansion of local infrastructure.

“There’s going to be another 2000 homes built in the area in the next couple of years, and the surrounding shopping centres can’t even currently cater for the volume of customers they are getting out of this area,” Ms Bisinella stressed.

On an interesting note, estate resident Tony Cielo says that there is no coincidence that local council members including Mr. McDonald have levied so laboriously for the go-ahead of the centre.

“If the name Lascorp sounds familiar, it might be because they made anonymous donations to two subsequently elected local politicians (including McDonald) in the 2004 election period”.

Lascorp were unavailable for comment during the week.

Poor infrastructure in a new Waurn Ponds commercial complex makes shopping a nightmare. Scott Carbines speaks with locals about the dangers of going shopping.