ONGOING demand for “small acreage” blocks in the Timboon area has prompted Timboon farmer Pat O’Keefe to continue developing his former dairy farm for residential and hobby farm use.
Mr O’Keefe said he had sold three 0.4-hectare (one-acre) blocks in recent years on the Curdies River Road on Timboon’s north-western outskirts.
Those sales prompted him to seek a successful amendment to Corangamite’s planning scheme to create more residential allotments.
The Planning Scheme Amendment C35 was prepared by Corangamite Shire Council and gazetted by the state government last month.
The amendment rezones land to the west of Curdies River Road from farming zone to low-density residential zone to allow Mr O’Keefe to subdivide eight residential blocks of between 4200-5000 square metres each.
The amendment also rezones a larger area behind the strip from farming zone to rural living zone to allow the subdivision of nine rural lots of between 3.2 hectares-18 hectares in size.
The site to be subdivided for residential lots is part of Mr O’Keefe’s former 95-hectare dairy farm.
Mr O’Keefe said he expected it would be a few years before the land covered by the recent amendment would become available for sale. He said there was strong interest in both 0.4-hectare blocks and blocks of between 4-24 hectares (10-60 acres) for hobby farms.
Much of the demand was from people looking to retire to the Timboon area, many of whom were former farmers who wanted “room to move”, he said.
“There’s been enquiry from all over,” Mr O’Keefe said.
The good interest in living in the Timboon area has helped the town defy Corangamite’s Shire overall decline in population.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the Timboon district’s population in 2011 was 1965, a small increase from the 2006 figure of 1963.
Forecasts expect the area’s population to grow to 2293 by 2031, an increase of more than 300 people. However Corangamite Shire’s population has dropped from 16,815 in 2006 to 16,387 in 2012.
Timboon Action president Charlene Payne said it was not only retired people moving to the Timboon area but also young families such as hers.
Her family had moved to Timboon in recent years to take over the Camp Cooriemungle group accommodation venue and were enjoying the challenge.
Ms Payne said she moved her family to the area to give her children a better lifestyle.
Timboon was “a thriving little town” and the town’s economy was doing well, she said.