Planning Minister considering resort proposal


Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne is now evaluating a proposal for a $70 million resort outside Apollo Bay.

Following a request from Colac Otway Shire, Mr Wynne will rule on whether the Barham River Road development should proceed.

The proposal for a resort with 180 rooms, 82 villas, a hotel with all-day dining, retail tenancies, wellness centre and six-lane 25-metre pool for guest and public use, has drawn at least 155 objections and 10 letters of support.

In calling in the State Government adjudication, Colac Otway Mayor Joe McCracken said the proposal was bigger than just Colac-Otway municipality. A call-in would allow for a more tailored process considering local, regional and state implications.

The council has welcomed the minister's move.

"Under a call-in scenario, the minister establishes an independent expert panel of planners. Its purpose is to give all parties a fair and equal hearing regarding the proposal," Cr McCracken said.

"This will mean that all community members, associations, clubs and interested parties can make a submission and speak to that submission at the planning panel.

"This allows ideas and opinions to be considered openly, without fear or favour, so the best outcome is achieved for the community."

A spokesman for Mr Wynne told the Geelong Advertiser the state had taken the decision on board to ensure the proposal was thoroughly assessed, allowing all parties to contribute.

The resort plans submitted by Oceans United Investment Group were made available for public viewing by Colac Otway Shire in late September, 2017, forecasting provision of 175 ongoing jobs and 250 during construction.

Plans detailed proposed first-stage development and sought recognition of possible future growth which might include hotel expansion and up to 140 more villas.

No gaming or gambling operations were part of the proposal.

Application documentation included support from Regional Development Victoria, which emphasised that major, quality accommodation investment on the Great Ocean Road would help increase length of visitor stays and better position it as a national and international destination.

Sources: Colac Otway Shire media release, the Geelong Advertiser.