COLAC Otway Shire Council opposed the development of a tourist resort near Apollo Bay at its meeting last week, citing its size and visual impact on the amenity of the area and character of the seaside town.
Councillors last 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 (week’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 planning 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 (today) to confirm arrangements for the full hearing, which would take 7-10 days and was likely to start on September 12.
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.
The draft conditions may be viewed at Colac Otway Shire website at colacotway.vic.gov.au.