Councillors debated proposed changes to a planning amendment for the harbour at a meeting this week.
An independent panel made recommendations to council officers about the amendment which included removing height restrictions for potential buildings and deleting the ability to prepare a staged development plan.
The panel also recommended removing a redevelopment of the Mother’s Beach car park.
Cr Michael Delahunty said the council should complete a development plan for the area in “one hit” and he attempted to move a motion for councillors to support all the panel’s recommendations.
Cr Chris Smith and mayor Frank Buchanan supported Cr Delahunty, but the motion failed to gain majority support.
Councillors voted 5-2 to accept the officers’ recommendations.
Cr Stephen Hart said allowing a staged development plan gave the harbour flexibility.
“The staging option doesn’t mean the council won’t try to do a development plan for the whole area but if a situation arises council has the option to consider it,” he said.
“The fact is if anyone wanted to do a development they have to go through an approval process.
“I think it’s entirely appropriate to have this staged plan.”
The State Government will gazette the amendment and incorporate it into the Colac Otway Planning Scheme after council officers submit the information to Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
Cr Buchanan said moving forward with a development plan was positive.
“This is a positive step forward for this project,” he said.
“We’ve spent several years developing a planning framework for the harbour that reflects the community’s views.
“The redevelopment of the harbour will be a significant and long-term project that has the potential to create new jobs and achieve a greater economic yield from the tourism industry,” Cr Buchanan said.
“Central to the project was to maintain the harbour as a working port, and enhancing the precinct for both locals and visitors.
“We now have some clear planning directions for the future of the harbour and we are looking at ways we can best approach the next stage of planning.”
The council also considered 40 community submissions on the project.