City edge coastline to be lost under housing

Some years ago I wrote suggesting that land to the east of the Hopkins River at Warrnambool and immediately adjacent to the coastline should be proclaimed a national park. 

It seemed obvious that at some stage major housing estates would be proposed for this pristine area. Unfortunately, that time has now come (The Standard, January 23). 

My suggestion was that a marine research and education centre be established through a co-operative venture between CSIRO, Deakin University, federal government and council. 

Located within an extensive national park, such a centre would attract scholars and visitors from around the world. 

Economic benefit for the district would be substantial. Observing similar development along the Great Ocean Road, it can be easily predicted that every square centimetre of land in the proposal will be used for housing identical to dreary metropolitan suburbs and other towns. 

I have raised similar arguments for land to the north of Warrnambool in an attempt to maintain local history and culture. 

At the very least, attention needs to be given to the creative design of houses, provision of open spaces for community use and inclusion of wetlands and trees for indigenous wildlife. 

There is an opportunity here for Warrnambool and district to set the benchmark for similar proposals around Australia. 

It is not so much a case of whether environment or development triumphs over the other, but whether wise heads prevail ensuring that our cultural systems of meaning and community are strengthened.

Dr Neil Hooley, College of Education, Victoria University, View Street, Essendon.