Apollo Bay, Victoria - on the Great Ocean Road

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Report on council meeting at Apollo Bay Feb.22

On Feb. 22,  COS councillors voted to proceed with a Planning Scheme Amendment for the Apollo Bay harbour precinct that does not include a hotel, and leaves the area designated in the EBD draft master plan to remain as public open space.

After 23 years and four redevelopment plans, councillors finally acknowledged that there has always been massive community opposition to a resort at the harbour.

It was also confirmed that Tourism Victoria could give no guarantee that they would financially support any redevelopment – with or without a resort.

It was also noted that any PSA, put in place by COS, could be overruled by a state government planning minister or at a VCAT hearing.

The current EBD plan has never had a formal period of exhibition and comment. Over 900 people have signed a petition opposing the current proposal.

A motion was put by cr. Chris smith, to proceed with a PSA that does not include a hotel on the EBD proposed site between the fishermans co-op and the boat launching ramp.

The proposed site is approx. 80m x 20m and bisected by a cliff face. It is also part of a larger area that is a registered aboriginal heritage zone, that has a high level of significance and protection.

That land is to remain as public open space. This is essentially option 1A in the EBD master plan

The motion was supported by Mayor Stephen Hart, crs. Stuart Hart and Geoff Higgins.

Cr. Lyn Russell also reluctantly supported the motion.

Crs. Crook and Buchanan opposed the motion

After 23 years, it is now time for COS planning to admit defeat, and move on from the concept that 70’s style resort development, is the only way to fund any redevelopment at the harbour.

If they are not prepared to do this, its time for COS to employ more appropriately experienced, progressive and receptive managers and planning staff and retain experienced, specialist consultants

The Apollo bay community has waited for 23 years for basic improvements that provide a shared path network and small scale public facilities, with in the harbour precinct

 In that time four resort based redevelopment plans have been comprehensively rejected by the community.

Up to $1 million of taxpayers money has now been wasted for very little return.

 Last year in an attempt to show public support for the resort, $27,000 was spent on a highly contentious phone survey that ended with an inconclusive result.

It is now time for COS to consider Otway Forums alternative redevelopment plan.

This plan has widespread community support, and meets all the objectives to redevelop the harbour precinct for public amenity and tourism growth.

The concept plan has been prepared by one of Melbourne’s leading landscape + urban design practices, GbLA Landscape Architects, on a pro bono basis.

This innovative, site responsive and achievable design concept does not require a long, costly and divisive PSA and has an overall cost to the public purse, substantially less than the EBD plan.

Community workshops have identified multiple opportunities to develop and fund harbour precinct improvements.