Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has refused a planning permit for a resort development at Apollo Bay, to protect the iconic township from inappropriate development.
At the request of the Colac Otway Shire Council, Mr Wynne called in the proposal in 2017 and appointed an independent planning panel to assess the merits of the development.
The panel found that although the project would meet a need for high-quality luxury accommodation in the Great Ocean Road region, its size and scale would have a negative impact on the renowned local landscape.
Mr Wynne has considered the panel’s recommendations and decided the proposal should be rejected due to its excessive scale and its impact on the landscape and environment.
Other grounds for refusal were inadequate responses to landslip risk, flooding risk, threat of bushfire, threat to biodiversity and vegetation and buffering of waterways.
The Office of the Victorian Government Architect was consulted for design review and raised concerns about the visual impact of buildings.
A ten-day public hearing was held in 2018 to allow community feedback, while the Colac Otway Shire Council received 294 objecting submissions and 16 supporting submissions in relation to the proposal.
The proposal fell short of the aims of the Great Ocean Road Action Plan, released by the Andrews Labor Government last year to protect the area with sustainable tourism and enhanced protection of environmental and cultural values.
The Great Ocean Road and its scenic coastal landscapes are one of Australia’s most important tourism destinations, stretching more than 243 kilometres and attracting more visitors than Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef combined.
The findings of the planning panel report are available at www.planning.vic.gov.au/panels-and-committees.
Quote attributable to Acting Minister for Planning Lily D’Ambrosio
“We want to see coastal towns like Apollo Bay grow sustainably so it’s crucial to protect them from inappropriate developments that threaten the iconic landscape of the Great Ocean Road region.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is protecting beloved coastal towns like Apollo Bay from losing their charm to overdevelopment.”
“This is the right decision for this much-loved area and one which reflects the strongly expressed wishes of the community.”