Large Public Meeting in Apollo Bay Rejects Resort Proposal
18 October 2017
Over 130 people attended a public meeting on Tues Oct. 17th to discuss a $70 million resort proposal for 275 Barham River Road Apollo bay.
Mayor Chris Potter and Deputy Mayor Stephen Hart were apologies for being unable to attend.
Other councillors did not bother to reply to their invitations.
The developer Graham Duff could not attend due to a medical condition.
General Manager of Community Services Gareth Smith and planning consultant Brydon King attended to answer questions.
The resort, if ever built, would have the capacity to double Apollo Bays current population.
Many issues of concern were raised including -
Hotel construction is explicitly noted as to be discouraged, in the Schedule to the Planning Scheme for the Rural Activity Zone.
So why is the idea even being considered??
Lack of current infrastructure capability was questioned.
Despite a new bigger water reservoir being built by Barwon Water 2 years ago, Apollo bay has been on water restrictions.
Sewerage and power supply may also be inadequate.
Planning for Apollo bay has been based on 20 new houses being built each year.
For many years rental accommodation, particularly for low paid service industry workers has been in very short supply.
Now there’s an opportunity for a developer!!!
Six separate businesses, in Apollo Bay, were advertising for staff last week.
The developer claims there will be jobs for over 150 workers during and after construction.
Where will they come from? Asian visa workers?
How will this impact the town?
The developer has yet to purchase the land and confirm all his Asian investors.
The resort will be marketed to Asian tourists.
Should high quality productive farm land be alienated to tourism, when the Great Ocean Road is already saturated with all levels of accommodation.
Why is Regional Development Victoria and other tourism bodies blindly supporting this proposal without doing their homework and ignoring the locals advice and knowledge?
Why should any Australian land, let alone highly productive farm land, be sold to foreign interests?
Traffic management and access to the site are still to be finalised.
There is no business plan available.
There is no social impact statement available.
Climate change impacts such as rising sea levels and increased storm surges have been ignored.
A similar application, in the same area, ended after a very expensive and divisive 5 year long process.
The then Planning Minister Justin Madden rejected it for this very reason.
The access to the proposed site is via the Barham River Road which crosses a floodplain that is barely above sea level now.
Many other issues were raised.
Here is the 3ABR podcast of the meeting. This will also be rebroadcast on Apollo Bay Radio 87.6FM on Thu. 19/10 at 7am, Fri. 20/10 at 4pm, Sat. 21/10 at 1pm and Sun. 22/10 at 8pm.
A motion was passed at the end of the meeting - “This meeting urges Colac Otway Shire to inform the developer that his plans are unacceptable and should be withdrawn.” The motion was overwhelmingly accepted with no opposition.
Colac Otway Shire has engaged Brydon king, a planning consultant, to help with the application process.
Questions have been raised as to why ratepayers have to cover this cost?
Surely the developer, who is prepared to invest $70 million, should have to pay this consultant to progress his application?
So many questions so few answers.
The Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce supports the proposal, but only represents a small percentage of local businesses.
See page 265, that's the pdf page, not the numbered page.
Hotel: The first objection is that the proposed hotel appears to be at odds with the intentions of the Colac Otway Planning Scheme, as outlined for the Development and use in the Rural Activity Zone.
Reference: (pp. 264-265) 35.08-5 Decision guidelines - Apollo Bay Hinterland Rural Activity Zone Land.
'Uses and development in the Rural Activity Zone to the west of Apollo Bay such as… hotel…and other similar uses will be discouraged '