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Local Plans for our Townships: Learmonth

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Prospective resident for Learmonth Bryan Rodgers, Cr John Philips Mayor of Ballarat, Graham Findlay local farmer and Paul Jenkins representing Avenue of Honour looking over the town maps.

BALLARAT Mayor Cr John Philips launched the City of Ballarat’s Local Plans for Our Townships program and The Learmonth Plan at a community meeting in Learmonth on Monday Local Plans for Our Townships is a key priority of Today Tomorrow Together: The Ballarat Strategy.

The program marks a shift in the City of Ballarat’s focus, from short-term investment to long-term planning.

It will provide Ballarat’s six townships with a vision and action plan for the next 25 years. Each plan will be developed through detailed community engagement, and the process will address issues of specific interest to each township. The plans will be completed in stages over the next two years. The program is beginning with The Learmonth Plan, which will be developed over the next six months. The Learmonth Plan has a variety of advantages: It will help the City of Ballarat prioritise its investment in Learmonth; It will help community groups make a strong case when applying for grants or when lobbying for funding; It will include actions the community can deliver; And it will help manage change by identifying necessary Planning Scheme actions. The City of Ballarat, State and Federal governments, and the community have already invested almost $1 million in Learmonth over the past two years through Council’s Engaging Communities Program. A large number of residents attended the launch, some looking for answers to major problems. Bryan Rodgers said he had a 4-acre property, which has had a zoning change since the purchase. “They claim it’s now a water catchment area and they have brought in a new law that you can’t have any more than five septic tanks on a 40 hectare zone,” he said.

“We bought the land in 2011 and it was already subdivided back in 1971, and in 2012 they brought in this new law for water catchment.

“We can’t build on it because of water catchment laws. Septic tanks aren’t possible until they rezone or sort something out.”

The couple has three children and the land in Learmonth had been purchased to build their home on.

“We are trying to work out what to do with the land. There are a lot of people around the area in the same situation since the new zoning. This is land that is not worth tuppence to anybody,” he said.

“I’m hoping that council will look into this problem because you can’t even sell it (land) because if they rezone you’ve done your money twice over.” Mr Rodgers said a lot of the talk at the meeting was about beautifying the town and the sale yards were a hot topic but noone seemed interested in his plight.

City of Ballarat Mayor John Philips said council would look into Mr Rodgers situation and get some answers for him.