THE Colac Otway Shire is rethinking its approach to attracting interest from the private sector to redevelop the Apollo Bay Harbour Precinct.
At their meeting last month, councillors supported the creation of a development plan and supporting business case for the precinct to help attract government funding.
The council hopes the two initiatives will attract significant private interest in the precinct to contribute to vastly improved infrastructure, services and the amenity of the area.
Colac Otway general manager of 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 the harbour precinct.
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.
“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 that as well as 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.
“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.”