Waterfront Geelong - Safe Harbour Precinct

Economic Development Pillar

The opportunity

The Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct project will deliver the redevelopment of a key section of Geelong Waterfront including the current Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC), marina and the Victorian Sailing School (VSS).

The redevelopment will create a high level of public access to the entire precinct through infrastructure supporting tourism, community activity and high value regional major events.

The project will transform and activate the precinct, deliver new visitor economy revenues and jobs and activate a minimum of $16 million in non-government investment in future stages including further marina upgrades, expansion and retail development.

The precinct is home to major events including the annual Festival of Sails attracting more than 3,000 participants and 110,000 visitors, as well as state, national and world championship boating and yachting events. The Festival of Sails generates in excess of $14 million in economic impact for the region each year. Redevelopment will allow expansion of the festival and help attract other major events to the waterfront.

The VSS facilities will be integrated with RGYC and provide student accommodation and expanded community programs. The VSS is a campus of Newcomb Secondary College that delivers high quality and meaningful educational experiences for students from nearly 60 schools throughout the State. However, the facility is outdated and in need of upgrading to fully harness the potential for additional school programs and to provide access for people with disabilities.

The deteriorating marina wall (a threat to safety, destination boating and the growth of major events) will be replaced with a publicly accessible wave attenuator that will also provide additional temporary berthing. A new central arm of the Marina will also be constructed, enabling community access and 29 new berths.

Project Aim

The new facilities will provide capacity to cater for a large increase in yachts and watercraft visiting and berthing safely in Geelong. It will improve public access to the water, support major events and enhance other recreation, economic and tourism opportunities.

Key aspects of the Concept Plan include:

  • a new 6m wide wave attenuator (public accessible curved floating pier) which will protect the marina from rough water coming from the north-west
  • the development of a modern floating-berth marina with greatly increased mooring capacity
  • a new RGYC clubhouse with improved public access (the ground floor being open to the general public)
  • integration of the Victorian Sailing School and its activities with RGYC, providing increased capacity to deliver important programs for the community
  • a 'Sailor’s Walk' public pedestrian passageway through the existing RGYC site
  • Public realm and leisure area improvements 
  • a series of retail spaces and a public viewing platform, and
  • the possibility of an interactive Maritime Cultural and Education Centre.

Redevelopment of the precinct is included as a key priority in the Victorian Government’s Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan 2016, RGYC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020, and is aligned with the Central Geelong Waterfront Master Plan (2011).

A full business case can be viewed at: RGYC.com.au

Project Champion

Phil Clohesy, General Manager, Royal Geelong Yacht Club

Benefits for Victoria and the G21 region

A redeveloped Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct would:

  • deliver $17.6 million of immediate economic benefits in Stage One
  • create 42 FTE jobs each year during construction and an average of 21 FTE jobs per year ongoing
  • create a more diverse and vibrant waterfront experience stimulating increased local community and visitor activity in Central Geelong
  • increase the capacity for the RGYC to secure major sailing events, further strengthening the region’s wider economy
  • increase RGYC’s capacity to deliver community programs for people of all ages and abilities
  • open the possibility for other types of top-level water based activities and events, such as international triathlons
  • provide improved facilities for water safety, sailing and maritime education
  • create a safer harbour within Corio Bay that will benefit all boating users
  • provide vastly enhanced public access to Geelong’s Waterfront.

What has been committed

The Victorian Government has committed:

  • $4.1 million towards the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct redevelopment
  • $3.5 million towards redevelopment of the Victorian Sailing School
  • $50,000, through Tourism Victoria, towards a Business Case to investigate the economic development impacts, costing, planning and required infrastructure of the project and determine an implementation strategy. (The City of Greater Geelong and the former Geelong Otway Tourism contributed $15,000 and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club also contributed $15,000 towards the Business Case.)

The Federal Government has committed:

  • $2 million under the Regional Jobs & Investment Packages program
  • $3.5 million towards the Geelong Waterfront Safe Harbour Precinct redevelopment through a Geelong City Deal.

The City of Greater Geelong has committed $3 million.
Royal Geelong Yacht Club has committed $3 million.

Project status

Detailed design, which will identify full project cost and future stages, is currently underway.

What is required

A commitment by State and Federal governments to embed GROW training, employment and procurement principles in all government projects within the region.