The Protect the Bellarine community group, which includes the Bellarine Alliance and the Combined Bellarine Community Associations, is fighting developers wanting to upset the Victorian government’s plan to preserve the Bellarine Peninsula.
More than 100 people rallied on August 14 at St Leonards, near Geelong, to protest developer greed.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is finalising its 2015 plans for the future of the Bellarine Peninsula.
The Bellarine Times said communities want to send a message to the government ahead of the election that the new planning minister must rule out future housing development on the Peninsula.
Combined Bellarine Community Association spokesperson Lawrence St Leger said the rapid spread of housing was degrading the region’s environment.
“With this unchecked urban sprawl, we are sadly witnessing negative changes in the animals and plants, which are such an integral part of our experiences in our wetlands, reserves, coasts and open spaces,” St Leger said.
The Greater City of Geelong is also assessing the Bellarine Distinctive Areas and Landscape Program, which is designed to protect settlement boundaries and the environment.
Developers want to develop in the west and north of Geelong. They also want to continue to expand into urban areas including Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, St Leonards, Indented Head and the Borough of Queenscliffe.
The community is concerned that the drawing board plans don’t appear to provide additional services and will therefore add pressure to existing settlements’ amenities.
They are also concerned about the potential impact of development on the environment in often sensitive coastal areas.