COLAC Otway Shire Council mayor Frank Buchanan says he disagrees with a call to remove Apollo Bay from the shire.
Mr Buchanan, who lives at the coastal town, spoke to the Colac Herald after businessman Paul McFarlane revealed he had 700 signatures on a petition to remove Apollo Bay from the Colac Otway Shire.
The petition asks Victoria’s Local Government Minister to investigate the possibility of moving Apollo Bay into the Surf Coast Shire or recreating the Otway Shire and centring it on the town.
Mr Buchanan said he respected Mr McFarlane’s opinion on the matter but said the Apollo Bay businessman was on the wrong track.
“I respect Paul’s view but I don’t think it’s the right one,” he said.
“I think people expect good service and good facilities and over time Apollo Bay is getting better and better.
“I think we’re very fortunate to have the level of service we’ve got, but having said that we can also improve.”
Mr Buchanan said moving Apollo Bay to the Surf Coast Shire would present problems for the town.
“The challenge for Paul and people who want to go it alone is going to be huge,” he said.
“Going to the Surf Coast is not going to achieve one bit more than Colac Otway, Apollo Bay is even more remote to the Surf Coast headquarters than Colac is.
“And no government is going to want to step back into having smaller councils.”
Mr McFarlane started the petition after frustration from dealing with the Colac Otway Shire Council over business issues.
Mr Buchanan said Apollo Bay needed to continue its growth to support small business owners and residents.
“Everything can be improved and that’s what we’re all working towards,” he said.
“We just have to keep growing and that in turn will support a business like Paul’s which might suffer those high and lows and that’s the same as the foodies in town.
“The more we can improve that income stream with more residents or destinations for people to stay here, the better we’ll be.”