Council completes market testing exercise for Apollo Bay Harbour precinct
August 28, 2017
Colac Otway Shire Council has taken another step towards realising the Apollo Bay community’s vision for the town’s harbour precinct with the finalisation of a market testing process.
The market testing process revealed moderate private sector interest in commercial development in the harbour precinct.
Council decided at its August meeting to progress the design of an expression of interest process, which will allow developers and investors to submit more detailed proposals about what might be possible within the current planning controls.
Mayor Chris Potter said the market testing exercise had revealed that the harbour precinct was an attractive location for commercial investment in the right conditions.
“The scale of commercial development interest in the harbour precinct is in the vicinity of $2 million to $10 million,” Cr Potter said.
“What’s clear is that in order for developers to invest in the harbour precinct, improvements to public infrastructure are required including upgrades to car parking, pathways and toilets.
“Council also resolved to design an advocacy strategy to secure funding from state and federal governments for the development of public infrastructure.
“Proceeding to an EOI process will allow us to receive more detailed proposals about potential business ventures.
“This will help Council to present a more compelling argument to the State Government about the need for public infrastructure funding, because we’ll be able to demonstrate the potential return on investments.”
Key findings of the market testing process included:
The current planning controls support moderate scaled development in the harbour precinct – in the vicinity of $2-10 million.
It is unlikely that a developer would be willing to commit to a larger scale development within the existing planning controls.
It is unlikely that the private sector would be willing to contribute to a public swimming pool, or public infrastructure improvements beyond pathways/boardwalks.
Long-term leases of at least 50 years could be required in order to undertake a commercially viable development
A lack of quality rest rooms and public facilities along the Great Ocean Road presents an opportunity for the harbour. Providing this infrastructure could make the precinct a key stopping point for visitors and provide a captive market for retail ventures.
There is a need to identify a theme for the precinct, such as fishing and coastal education; wellness and leisure, or retail. Food and beverage opportunities are allied to all themes.
The prohibition of accommodation within the current planning controls is a limiting factor in generating private sector interest.
Once an EOI process is designed, a further report will come to Council.
Council will host two community information sessions in late September in Apollo Bay to share and discuss the findings of the market testing process with the community.