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Growth challenges facing Southern Metro
In this issue's column, I wish to reflect on the growth challenges facing Southern Metropolitan region and the opportunities they present us. The Regional Management Team has for some time been working on the development of its Infrastructure Strategy and planning materials to best position District 8 in what remains one of Melbourne's rapidly growing areas.
This process has included the development of Operations Infrastructure Plans by Municipality and the instigation of several major building projects. This includes projects either completed or underway such as the relocation of the regional office/emergency management complex and new fire stations or major renovations at: Wonthaggi, Glen Alvie, Tynong, Heath Hill, Pakenham, Berwick, Springvale, Carrum Downs, Dandenong, Cape Woolamai, Bass, and Blairgowrie. This list of projects is by far the most comprehensive and largest investment in Southern Metro region's history.
The associated planning not only takes into consideration the growth challenges, but also a critical age replacement and previous government announcements in terms of growth boundaries, road network changes, demographic change and population growth.
Furthermore, we are grappling with the enormous challenges of the transient population relating to our tourist areas - in particular the Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast including Phillip Island. Statistics tell us there are more than 4 million visitors a year to the Mornington Peninsula, of which approximately 1.2 million holiday in the vicinity over the summer period - thus increasing our risk exposure exponentially. We look forward to working with our key stakeholders including brigades, other government and emergency service agencies, including municipalities, to ensure we partner with them and take an interoperable approach to service delivery.
I wish to also take this opportunity as we lead into the summer Fire Danger Period to remind all members that your safety comes first. Remember you are our most important asset when it comes to protecting Victorians, so please look after your health and well-being to ensure we have the strongest team this coming fire season.
It's important that we get our basics right when it comes to being prepared so ensure you use the training exercises that are available to you. To achieve that this year, we have provided several group practical training exercises leading up to the fire season to build risk awareness and further build our team approach to protecting lives and property.
I would like to wish all members and their families a safe, happy festive season and all the very best for 2013.