Councillors unanimous in opposing Apollo Bay resort

Objectors are happy that civic leaders have opposed an Apollo Bay resort. From left are Warwick Ballinger, Annette Telford, Robert McDougall and Peter Fillmore.

A $70-million tourist resort proposed for Apollo Bay will go to an independent planning panel without the support of Colac Otway Shire Council, following a unanimous vote this week.

About 100 people packed into Apollo Bay’s senior citizens’ centre for a three-hour special meeting on Wednesday to present concerns and listen to the council deliberate on whether it would give its support to Oceans United Investments Group’s plan to build a 180-room hotel complex and 82 villas on Barham River Road.

Each community member who spoke in opposition to the planning proposal, predominantly based on the size, visual impact and location of the resort, received a round of applause.

Councillors also received applause as they explained the difficulty of their decision to oppose the resort, including Cr Chris Smith who read out a re-worked version of Joni Mitchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi to say “they paved paradise and put up a mega hotel”, which he said he hoped wouldn’t happen.

But whether the tourism project goes ahead will be left to the State Government Planning Minister, on advice from an independent panel, and a final decision is unlikely before next year.

The next step will be a directions hearing on August 23, while a panel hearing, expected to continue for up to 10 days, is scheduled to start on September 12.

Oceans United Investments Group chair Graham Duff, who was unable to attend the special council meeting, said he remained confident the development would get the green light from the State Government.

Mr Duff said he expected the councillors to vote against the planning officer’s recommendation, which was that the council should provide conditional support to the tourism development.

“The decision of the council last night came as no surprise, it was expected,” he said.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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2 Responses to “Councillors unanimous in opposing Apollo Bay resort”

  1. george

    The Planning department of Colac Otway’S lack of foresight to take advantage of the tourism dollar in small towns such as Lavers Hill.

    There is a severe lack of accommodation due to the councils strict enforcement of the farm zones.overlays on small allotments of 5 acres or less prohibiting the construction of dwellings (where this is no clear conflict with farming activities) preventing boutique tourism accommodation complimenting the surrounding environment which would provide a huge economic boost for the region.

    Colac Otway’s lack of vision creates an artificial accommodation shortage by not supplying the demand and therefore a very lucrative incentive for large scale developments such as the proposed development at Apollo Bay.

    The lack of tourist accommodation will be key to this proposal being given the green light by the State Gov’t and if so Colac Otway Shire will only have itself to blame.

    George

  2. Rob Sinclair

    This is great news and well done to all involved. Apollo Bay and the entire Otway region is too vulnerable for this sort of large scale development, that would have been of little value to the area. You only have to look at Lorne, once a sleepy coastal hamlet, to know that this development would be catastrophic for Apollo Bay. We now have to hope that Richard Wynne and Daniel Andrews keep with Labor values re the environment etc and doesn’t allow this development to gain the green light.