Apollo Bay, Victoria - on the Great Ocean Road

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Otway Forum Meeting - Report No. 239
8 January 2012

Mayor Stephen Hart and Councillor Stuart Hart in attendance

 At Dec. COS council meeting, council officers tabled a report and recommendations on the AB Aquatic Centre Feasibility Study.

- 3 sites identified and costed

  Harbour precinct    capital cost $8 million

  Gambier St. reserve                 $7 million       

  AB P12 College                       $4million        

Each site would require an annual operational subsidy of up to $400,000

- The harbour precinct site was the preferred option in the study.

- However the council officers raised “significant planning issues” associated with this site

 1. Conflicts with Vic. Coastal Strategy (a swimming pool is a non coastal related activity???)

 2. Environmental Impact. (Primary sand dune, flora and fauna, high exposure to elements and sea level rise concerns)

 3. Landscape and visual impact.

 4. Aboriginal cultural heritage sites could be destroyed.

 5. Conflicts with (highly unpopular) harbour precinct resort plan. (Not enough space for public pool and private resort).

 6. Access and parking issues.

 7. Community support has been indicated for a public indoor pool but “it is unlikely to attract a high number of tourists on the GOR, as research indicates that they are in the main seeking a natural experience”.

 8. Tourism Victoria bureaucrats advised that a pool and other health and well being services would only attract more tourists if combined with private luxury style accommodation. Their support for a public pool would not be forth coming.

 9. Costs quoted in the feasibility study were “likely to be higher”.

 10. Financial viability.

 11. Rezoning – problems, costs and timelines

- Council officers were keen to quote all of these issues to stop a public pool at the harbour, but are reluctant to acknowledge any of these same issues when pushing for a private resort at the harbour. What hypocrisy!!!

- Otway Coast Committee objected to the Gambier St, site as they plan to use it for revenue raising holiday cabin development, which may raise up to $120,000 per annum. They also raised the issues of public amenity and increased vehicle traffic

- A recommendation to council that the AB Aquatic Centre would not be feasible due costs and that further investigations should not be under taken, was rejected. Councillors then agreed to hold a workshop to further discuss the issues involved.

- Council staffing and wages have increased by 10% over the last ten years.

 - Colac’s Bluewater Fitness Centre has recently received grants totalling $3.8 million for upgrades.

- An option to refurbish, heat and roof the current AB pool was not investigated. Otway Forum believes this lowest cost option is the most achievable and should be independently investigated.

Report continues