IN MY other life I’m a Wonthaggi real estate agent. Lately people have been asking about all the SOLD properties on display in our office windows. Shouldn’t we replace them with houses that are actually for sale?
I’ve never seen anything like it. Agents who have been in the game longer than me say the same thing. Wonthaggi has been well and truly discovered and the boom is spreading to the rest of Bass Coast.
While our vendors can’t believe the prices they’re getting, Bass Coast is still bargain territory by Melbourne standards. I have Melbourne buyers eager to buy sight unseen. That’s how strongly they believe in the future of this place.
Friday’s announcement by the State Government of a new Wonthaggi Secondary College added one more reason to be confident about the potential of Bass Coast.
I’d just returned from a trip to Europe and was still feeling jet lagged, but that news sure blew away the cobwebs. It was amazing to look around and see the joy on people’s faces. A lot of people worked hard behind the scenes for that. Too many to list here but well done to everyone involved.
It’s been a long time coming and it was easy to say that Bass Coast had dropped off the Spring Street radar but the pieces are all starting to fall into place. The new college shows that the State Government is now pushing our way after many years with little support from either Liberal or Labor.
Council finances are turning around too. This means we’ve got money to put into projects that, in turn, attract state and federal government grants. Take the highball stadium on the new senior campus. The council will contribute $1.5 million with the government picking up the rest of the tab. For our contribution, we get a $6 Million sports and performing arts centre for the whole community.
I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in our first year on council but I’m under no illusion that we can claim all the credit for the position we find ourselves in. I was one of those that was critical of the previous council. Now that I’m on the inside, I can see they made a lot of hard calls, and copped a lot of flak for it, but the shire is now reaping the benefits. So belated credit to them for that.
The whole of Bass Coast is starting to boom but I think everyone now recognises that Wonthaggi has to be the hub so the rest of the shire can retain its character.
Wonthaggi will retain its coal mining heritage but it’s got to expand, and at a fair rate to accommodate all the people who want to come here. I would love to see Wonthaggi become a regional centre.
We’ve got the new senior campus. We desperately need a new hospital next, but at least we’re getting a new emergency department. We have big plans for the old senior campus once the school moves. It’s right in the heart of the town next to the reserve. Imagine a cultural centre there.
Will we lose our character? We won’t be able to walk down the street and know everyone, but growth will bring opportunities, especially for our young people. So many of our kids have to move away to get a job. I see it through my involvement with the football club. But as the town grows, there’ll be more work. We’ll need more professionals. There will be plenty of construction jobs.
We’ve got some amazing people living in Bass Coast and more arriving every week. A lot of them are retirees but one of the first things they ask after they buy a house is how they can get involved and contribute to the community. We’re going to have great skills to draw on.
Some people wonder if it’s a bubble that’s going to burst. Personally I think we’re just beginning. There are exciting times ahead.