THE proponents of the $90 million Apollo Bay Resort have amended their application with more information, following a request from a state government planning panel.
The original planning application for the 256-room resort on Barham River Road generated more than 155 objections and more than 10 submissions of support, and the Planning Minister called in the application late last year at the request of the Colac Otway Shire.
Planning Panels Victoria is now assessing the application and following a directions hearing, the state government-appointed panel asked developer Oceans United Investment Group to provide more information in several areas, including a “social and economic impact assessment that considers the impacts of the proposal on the existing township including retail, employment and accommodation impacts”.
According to this assessment, now available online, the Apollo Bay Resort is being geared to “new visitors at the higher-spending spectrum of the tourism market, not competing directly across all tourism segments” and when fully built, will have 43,300 guests a year.
The resort will generate a direct local economic contribution of $26 million and support 185 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs during its 14 months of construction. The resort will employ 312 FTE positions: 39 directly at the resort, 167 ancillary jobs at associated ventures (such as on-site retail) and 106 indirect jobs.
This will make it the largest operating business enterprise in Apollo Bay, with annual turnover equivalent to nearly an eighth (12.3 per cent) of all business revenue in the district.
The developers “do not believe the resort will lead to significant demand for new housing” either during construction or when complete, for three reasons: onsite accommodation for 30 staff, local residents will be encouraged to apply for positions, and the large number of unoccupied homes in Apollo Bay, citing that in 2016, 60 per cent of all dwellings in the town were holiday homes.
A second directions hearing is not expected to take place until at least August.
The Otway Forum, a local ratepayers’ group that is leading opposition to the resort, is urging people to read the documents and make a submission if they are concerned.
To read the updated documents, head to planning.vic.gov.au/panels-and-committees/panels-and-committees, click on “find a panel or committee” and then click on either of the links in the “Apollo Bay tourism resort” section.