New way forward for Apollo Bay Harbour Precinct redevelopment
August 27, 2018
A rethink will see Colac Otway Shire Council undertake a new process to better entice private sector investment in the eagerly anticipated redevelopment of the Apollo Bay Harbour Precinct.
Councillors backed a revised process at the August Ordinary Council meeting that will see a comprehensive Development Plan and supporting Business Case developed for the precinct to help attract government funding.
Such support, and the removal of a range of technical uncertainties, would hopefully attract significant private interest in the precinct to contribute to vastly improved infrastructure, services and the amenity of the area.
General Manager Development and Community Services Gareth Smith said the Council was keen to move to an Expression of Interest phase to assess the level of interest from businesses towards contributing to the harbour precinct’s offering. However, he said the Council had now decided further work was needed to make the offer more enticing for the private sector.
“The Council had previously decided to move to the EOI and tender process, however further advice from government and industry raised concerns that private interest would be very limited at present,” he said.
“Our advice was that there is currently a lack of consolidated technical information available for the area, there is a poor understanding of what activity is allowed in the harbour’s Special Use Zone and that private investment may receive limited returns without complementary public infrastructure improvements.
“It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Ultimately the Council has now decided we need to move forward with the development of a broader plan for the precinct first, work with government to secure funding and then move to the EOI phase so that the private sector has more information, more certainty and a clearer picture.”
Mr Smith said in addition to a plan detailing how the precinct was to be spatially developed, consistent with the Special Use Zone, the new work would also provide a report clarifying issues such as environmental and cultural heritage constraints.
“There’s also geotechnical and coastal erosion issues to consider, flora and fauna, traffic, parking, land contamination, implications for the golf course as well as dredging and reclamation considerations,” he said.
“The plan is to fill in these knowledge gaps, engage with the community and employ a consultant with place-making expertise to draft a Development Plan and help develop a Business Case for government investment.
“Once the broader plan is mapped out and there’s an indication of government support, we’ll be in a much better position to move to the EOI phase based on the best identified business case.”
Mr Smith said a Project Control Group set up for the original EOI process would now become the Apollo Bay Harbour Precinct Redevelopment Project Control Group and would oversee the new Development Plan and EOI processes.
“In parallel with progressing the process for the precinct redevelopment, Council has also met with a range of State Government agencies and Ministers to identify ways to unlock the economic potential of the harbour and to present the immediate and urgent asset renewal needs of the precinct, which ensures the existing infrastructure is upgraded to provide a safe harbour,” he said.