Colac Otway welcomes decision on proposed development
January 8, 2019
Colac Otway Shire Council has thanked the Planning Minister for considering the planning permit application for a proposed resort development at Apollo Bay and welcomed his decision to issue a refusal to grant a permit.
The decision was issued on December 30, with Council notified of the decision on January 7.
Council requested Minister Richard Wynne call in the planning application and make the final determination on the basis that the proposal raised significant issues of state policy, namely regional and tourism development. Council decided it did not have enough information to make a decision on the tourist resort proposal at Barham River Road.
Council Chief Executive Peter Brown said the Council considered the application and concerns raised by the community, including the scale of the development, the impact on the amenity, landslip potential and flooding, at a Special Council meeting in August.
“Councillors unanimously voted to inform the Minister’s independent planning panel that Council did not support the proposed development,” Mr Brown said.
“In its report to the Minister, the independent panel fundamentally agreed with Colac Otway Shire Council.
“The Minister refused the application on the basis of the adverse impact that the location, design and scale of the proposal would have on a landscape of national significance and the local character of the Barham River Valley.
“The report also identifies the applicant’s lack of adequate responses to landslip risk, flooding risk, the protection of human life during a bushfire event, the potential impacts on native vegetation and biodiversity, and the potential impact on waterways.
“Council had asked the Minister to decide on the application because Council believed there was inadequate detail to address these issues.
“We note that while the panel requested the applicant to satisfy most of those concerns including completion of an approved Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan, these unresolved issues are too significant to be addressed as permit conditions and are the reasons the Minister has refused the development application.
“The panel report suggests the proposed large-scale hotel would not be appropriate for the site which is in a Rural Activity Zone but the development of villas could be acceptable,” he said.
“However there are still issues that would have to be satisfactorily addressed before development of the site could be allowed, including the landslip and bushfire risk, cultural heritage management, environmental impacts, flooding and access.”