CORA to go ahead despite some community opposition

October 15, 2020 BY

An artist’s impression of CORA, which now has planning approval from the state government.

THE state government has, after months of consideration, given planning approval to the Cape Otway Road Australia (CORA) project, but a community group of concerned nearby residents and locals remain highly critical about the outcome.
The $350 million project, to be built on a site near Modewarre, will include luxury accommodation, a wellness centre, an elite sports training facility and sports science hub, art galleries, design studios, an eco-museum, a retail and hospitality precinct with a microbrewery, restaurants, a childcare centre, an organic farm and an outdoor event and sculpture park.
Construction is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2021 and finish in 2023 and is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs at its peak.
CORA was announced in November 2017 but there has been some community opposition since then, with concerns including the project’s size, scope, location, impact on the environment including nearby Lake Modewarre, and the effect of increased traffic on local roads.
The state government says CORA’s planning application has been through “extensive public consultation” and assessment by an independent advisory committee, and the changes made to the original proposal “will ensure the development follows strict requirements and guidelines to achieve high quality, unobtrusive buildings and works based on environmentally sustainable design principles”.
The Surf Coast Hinterland Group Incorporated (SCHGInc.) made submissions during the consultation process and is still opposed to the development in its present form and location, according to a statement released earlier this week.
“The pledge of support offered by Surf Coast Shire council at the launch of the CORA project in 2018 was disempowering to the community and made a mockery of community consultation,” a SCHGInc. spokesperson said.
“Public knowledge provides that the council consulted with the developer for several years prior to the project being launched. This, coupled with the council’s refusal to carry out community consultation, was deplorable and has promoted mistrust in the council’s so-called commitment to transparency and public engagement.
“The impact on Connies Lane residents who are set to be surrounded by the development was grossly underestimated by the council and the Advisory Committee, suggesting that the impacts of this 220-hectare development on these residents can be mitigated.
“A small win for the threatened growling grass frog and its existing onsite habitat was achieved, but there are still concerns for the detrimental impacts associated with urbanisation, lighting and noise on endangered bird species at Lake Modewarre.
“Concerns also remain about the potential for contaminated runoff from hard surfaces and sporting fields entering the wetlands, and the subsequent down-stream impact on the health of Lake Modewarre.
“Cape Otway Road traffic congestion and associated safety issues for motorists and residents remains a major concern.
“The use of taxpayer and ratepayer funds to the tune of tens of millions which will be used to support a development which should have been better situated in an activity centre with existing infrastructure and public transport, raises serious questions about the validity of state and local planning policy, and our decision-makers.”