AUSTRALIAN census data from 2016 and 2021 has shown that Foster is currently the “one of the biggest pockets of growth” in the South Gippsland Shire.
Landowners and residents are urged to have their say on their township’s future as part of a review of the 2008 Foster Structure Plan, including the Foster Framework Plan, by Friday December 23, 2022.
The Shire Council formally endorsed the eight-page Foster Structure Plan Discussion Paper for public engagement and consultation at the open meeting held in Leongatha on Wednesday November 16, 2022.
Shire senior strategic planning officer Chantal Lenthall said the Discussion Paper is the first step in updating the Plan that will outline the direction and nature of Foster’s development and land use over the next 20 years.
“The Discussion Paper has been designed to give the community information about the current state of play and some prompting questions for the future of Foster.
“Foster people are invited to read the Discussion Paper, or the two-page summary of the document and to tell the Shire what they would like to happen in and around their town and any suggestions for improvements, as well as what they don’t want.
“This is the start of the conversation on what Foster may, could and should be like in years to come, and we’re asking residents to raise any ideas, issues and opinions they have during the consultation period,” she said.
“Feedback from the local community will be used to develop the Draft Structure Plan for Foster, which will also be released for public comment during March 2023.”
Ms Lenthall said “from census to census, in terms of people and houses, Foster is one of the biggest pockets of growth in the Shire, along with Leongatha, Korumburra, Mirboo North, and the quickly evolving township of Nyora. “The 2021 census also indicates that the median age of the Foster population has increased since the 2016 census, which corresponds with the number of people who have chosen to retire in Foster and to build a new home to live in,” she said.
“We want to learn what local people consider the important planning issues in Foster to be, both short- and long-term.
“We also want to know what people think about the present Foster Framework Plan, which was developed as part of the 2008 Foster Structure Plan,” Ms Lenthall said.
“This Framework Plan, which shows the existing settlement boundary, urban and rural living zones, open space and public land, as well as development directions and proposed zoning changes and expansion areas, is open for comment.”
Recent Victorian Government planning system amendments, which include increased bushfire and flooding risk management measures, have prompted the current Foster Structure Plan review.
COMMUNITY DROP-IN SESSIONS, SURVEY
The Shire has arranged two drop-in sessions to be conducted in Foster to allow community members to find out more about the Foster Structure Plan review, to talk face-to-face with shire planning staff, and help shape the new Structure Plan.
The first drop-in session will be held on Friday November 25, 2022 between 9 am and 12 noon at the covered laneway in Main Street, Foster.
The second session will take place on Sunday December 11, 2022 from 9 am to 11 am at the Promontory Produce and Craft Market at the Foster Showgrounds in Station Road.
“Foster residents are encouraged to come along to either of the drop-in sessions and to share their views on their town with us,” Ms Lenthall said.
“Alternatively, people can take part in an online survey or a discussion board, or upload a written submission on the Foster Structure Plan at www.yoursay.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/fostersp
“Look out for the Foster Structure Plan postcard in local shops and businesses, which has a QR code linking directly to the Shire’s Your Say web page or ring the Shire Strategic Planning Team on 5662 9200.”
The survey seeks respondents’ views on how and where Foster’s future growth should occur, what the issues are, how land use and development could be improved, ways the shire could maximise its resources, and making Foster more attractive to visitors.
The survey also canvasses changes to pedestrian and vehicle movements through Foster, such as lower speed limits, traffic flow, prospective pedestrian crossing locations, new and/or upgraded footpaths, and wayfinding signage, and whether any buildings or building types should be heritage protected.
More specifically, respondents are asked about the Discussion Paper’s proposals to update the Framework Plan in the 2008 Foster Structure Plan.
The Shire is making direct contact by letter with key landowners near the settlement boundary shown in the Framework Plan as part of the Structure Plan review.
Once feedback closes on Friday December 23, 2022, the Council will work to develop a Draft Structure Plan that will be released for final public comment in 2023.
Comments received and any further investigations undertaken will inform the preparation of the final Plan, which is expected to be made available for comment in mid-2023.
South Gippsland Shire Mayor Cr Mohya Davies said, “this Discussion Paper is the first step of updating the 2008 Foster Structure Plan, one of Council’s oldest structure plans, to reflect the current and future needs of the Foster community.
“As our towns continue to grow, it is important that we have strategic plans in place,” she said.
“Sustainable growth is one of our Council Plan objectives, and it is great to see this sort of work coming through to support that objective.”