CORA’s grand plans unnerve locals
COMMUNITY members have voiced their concerns over the Cape Otway Road Development (CORA).
The development would see $352 million spent on turning 240 hectares of land directly south of Lake Modewarre into an elite sporting facility with a 128-room hotel, 61 eco lodges and a retail area.
About 100 locals met at Modewarre Hall on November 7 to discuss the project.
Many shared their concerns about the development, particularly the residents of Connies Lane.
Presently a small dirt road, CORA’s Comprehensive Development Plan states upgrades to Connies Lane “will be required to support the development,” as well as Cape Otway Road.
Susan Butler has lived on Connies Lane for more than 30 years, and has a daughter who uses the road frequently for horseriding.
She has started a petition to save the road, saying “We just want our road left as it is”.
A state government-appointed advisory committee is presently assessing CORA’s proposal.
Ms Butler and fellow Connies Lane resident Lance Houlihan believe many people who live nearby are unaware the project is still going ahead.
Mr Houlihan said with the many questions locals had surrounding the project, “it would have been beneficial to have someone from the planning panel come down (to the meeting).”
CORA announced its vision for the facility on December 2017 but have scaled its plans back since then, including deleting a surfing wave pool.
CORA released their Social Impact Assessment in September. It states the overall impact of the planned facility was likely to be “Positive High” (the highest of six ratings), and that the project aligns with state government and regional strategy policies. However, the assessment also lists local community impact as “Negative High”.
When CORA addressed the community about the project soon after its unveiling, CORA director and co-founder Daryl Pelchen said at the time the development would only go ahead with public support.
“This project has to belong to the community, it has to represent this region and this is not lip service – if this community doesn’t want it, it doesn’t happen.”
Mr Pelchen was contacted by the Surf Coast Times this week with several questions regarding the facility. In response, he said CORA would “provide a project update when suitable.”
The plans went on public exhibition on October 21 and will be closed to public comment on Tuesday, November 19 at 5pm, but Mr Houlihan hopes people will be given additional time.