Apollo Bay tourist resort ‘too big’ to support
August 16, 2018
Colac Otway Shire Council has opposed the development of a tourist resort near Apollo Bay, citing its size and visual impact on the amenity of the area and character of the seaside town.
Councillors this week formed a position on the Barham River Road proposal which sits with the Minister for Planning for final determination.
“It’s a big project that generated 181 objections when initially advertised. Council is acutely aware of the sensitivities and important community views that surround development along our coastline,” Mayor Joe McCracken said.
“What came across at last night’s meeting from the Apollo Bay community is that they’re not against development and that an appropriate sized development proposal would be supported.
“Importantly it was raised during the meeting a resort of this size was not envisaged by Council when the land was rezoned to Rural Activity Zone.
“Council agreed the development is too big and out of scale for Apollo Bay and will impact the visual appeal of the natural coastal environment.
“We also had concerns that geotechnical and landslip risks weren’t adequately addressed in the proposal, along with insufficient emergency management plans,” he said.
The proposal includes construction of 180 hotel-style rooms, 82 villas, a bar, two restaurants, shops, an observatory, wellness centre, 25 metre swimming pool and staff accommodation.
A planning application was lodged with Colac Otway Shire in July 2017. Cr Joe McCracken said due to the regional impacts and the proposal being of state significance, the Council requested that the Minister call the application in for his ultimate decision.
“That’s common practice for projects like this and allows the Council to sit outside the decision making process to advocate our position to the Minister-appointed Panel that will hear all submissions,” he said.
Cr McCracken said the Panel had convened a directions hearing on August 23 to confirm arrangements for the full hearing which would take 7-10 days and was likely to commence on September 12.
“The independent Planning Panel appointed by the Minister will consider lodged submissions and objections and submit recommendations to the Minister for Planning who will then determine the permit application,” he said.
“Council officers will be responsible for advocating our position to the Panel, including the grounds on which we believe the development should be refused by the Minister.”
“Ultimately our agreed position does not support this proposal in its current form and we will attend the panel hearing in September to present our views.”
Whilst Council voted to not support the current development proposal, if the Planning Advisory Panel was to decide to grant a permit, a draft set of recommended conditions will be presented to the Panel from Council.
Cr McCracken said Councillors resolved to not submit conditions to the relevant stakeholders until after the Ordinary Council Meeting on 22 August to allow the community the opportunity to provide comment to Councillors on the draft conditions.
“We encourage the community to thoroughly review the draft conditions related to the proposed use and development of the Barham River Road site and contact Councillors with any suggested amendments or additions they wish to present to the Planning Advisory Panel,” he said.
The draft conditions may be viewed at Colac Otway Shire Council website at www.colacotway.vic.gov.au.
For your information, see the resolutions from the Special Council meeting in Apollo Bay last night. Please note, these resolutions are unconfirmed until the minutes of this meeting are ratified by Council at the Ordinary Council meeting to be held on September 26 at COPACC.