Colac Otway Shire Council is calling for community feedback on a draft Apollo Bay Harbour Precinct Development Plan now on public exhibition.
The draft plan is significant milestone in the redevelopment of Apollo Bay’s Harbour Precinct and follows years of advocacy, community consultation and planning.
The redevelopment project will be funded under the Geelong and Great Ocean Road City Deal with a $12-million commitment. The project aims to secure the Apollo Bay region’s economic viability as a tourist destination complementing the Port’s commercial fishing and recreational boating activities.
Colac Otway Shire Mayor Cr Jason Schram said Council had been working with the community for many years to create a plan which found the best possible balance between retaining the town’s fishing village character and the much-needed improvements to create an appealing harbourside for visitors and the community.
“There have been challenges in the past with meeting diverse community expectations and finding that balance, so Council has been keen to take a different approach and established a Project Control Group that includes community members,” Cr Schram said.
“The community members on this PCG have been instrumental, along with feedback from the Port Consultative Committee in helping to shape the plan, and ensure it reflects the priorities of the community.
“Council has also undertaken a great deal of other work, in partnership with the community, to reach this point where we can place the development plan on exhibition including the preparation of the Apollo Bay, Skenes Creek and Marengo Community Infrastructure Plan, which complements the harbour redevelopment project.
“The ongoing public consultation with the Community Infrastructure Plan has been extensive to ensure we have reached every resident, business owner and ratepayer and has included mail-outs, advertising, workshops and open-house-style sessions on weekdays and weekends.
“The infrastructure plan scope is outside the harbour precinct however the two plans need to link and provide the same vision for the town. The Community Infrastructure Plan is expected to be finalised over the coming months and presented to the new Council after the October election.
“Exhibiting the Harbour Development Plan is now another opportunity for community feedback to guide the important harbour project. Colac Otway Shire, like every other community, has many challenges ahead with initially re-establishing its domestic tourism market and eventually the international market.
“This project was planned well before the current pandemic situation however it will be a key to our coastal community’s recovery and it is vital that the community continues its involvement and we move ahead with finalising the development plan so we are ready to start work as soon as feasible,” Cr Schram said.
Key features of the draft Harbour Development Plan include:
• Port Operations Depot relocated to the west side of Trafalgar Street (north), incorporating public toilets and port users amenities.
• A pedestrian promenade along the lower terrace, with new commercial tenancies where the harbour depot yard is currently located.
• A waterfront boardwalk extending from the Slipway through to the Sailing Club.
• Expansion of the Fishermen’s Co-operative building to better utilise ground level floor space and a second storey element that supports enhanced restaurant seating.
• More formalised parking at Mothers Beach adjacent to the new harbour depot building.
• Enhanced pedestrian and cycle connections and facilities, including a new shared path on the northern side of Nelson Street, connecting the commercial centre with the harbour precinct, and a future beach boardwalk connection that is subject to future investigations.
• An expanded footprint for future Sailing Club redevelopment.
• Additional vehicle and boat trailer parking at Point Bunbury.
• A new Ocean Rescue Boat Shed at Point Bunbury alongside new public toilets with all abilities access and parking.
“I urge the community to view the development plan and have their say to assist Council, working alongside the State Government, deliver Apollo Bay’s harbour transformation,” Cr Schram said.
The draft plan will be available for viewing online at colacotway.vic.gov.au and submissions close on 18 October 2020.
Submissions and adoption of the development plan will be considered by the new Council to be elected in October.
The Apollo Bay Harbour is a G21 Priority Project, along with other harbours within the region.
Source: Based on a Colac Otway Shire media release