Council again defers Point Grey resolution

October 7, 2021 BY

An artist’s impression of the proposal at Point Grey in Lorne. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE future of the proposed $10 million development at Point Grey in Lorne is no closer than before, with the Surf Coast Shire council again resolving to consider the issue at a later meeting, this time by only one vote.

Most of the coastal land at Point Grey slated for the project falls under the responsibility of the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA), but it has emerged the shire is the public land manager for two parcels of land comprising most of the car park area, and that the shire was also unaware of this.

Under the planning permit issued by the council in June 2020, the existing buildings inhabited by Lorne Aquatic and Angling Club and Lorne Pier Seafood will be demolished and replaced by more modern and spacious structures, as well as the construction of a boardwalk and a lookout.

This permit is being challenged at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which has paused its deliberations so GORCAPA can formally ask the shire to give consent so the project can continue to have planning approval.

Councillors unanimously deferred the issue at their July 27 meeting and considered it again at their meeting on September 28, where officers recommended the shire give consent to GORCAPA to make the planning application on the council’s land.

Instead, Lorne Ward councillor Gary Allen moved a motion to defer the issue until its meeting later in October, which passed five votes to four, with councillors Paul Barker, Kate Gazzard, Adrian Schonfelder and Heather Wellington also voting in support.

Cr Allen said there had been a “distinct shift” by GORCAPA and its first chief executive officer Jodie Sizer regarding consultations about the Point Grey project.

“She has shown the intent of deeply listening to the community. But in my view, she’s inherited a mess.

“Consultation with the Lorne community over the Point Grey development ceased when the brief from the architects did not come back to the community groups for consultation.

“The design was the result of a competition, which was a flawed approach. The winning architects, I believe, didn’t even visit the site.”

He said it had already become evident in a new consultation process, which began on September 27, that more time was needed to resolve the many issues surrounding the Point Grey proposal.

Cr Mike Bodsworth, who voted against the motion along with councillors Rose Hodge, Liz Pattison and Libby Stapleton, said he was in support of preserving the heritage characteristics of the site and congratulated Cr Allen on causing a “reset” on the project, but he did not support deferral.

“I think this is an administrative step that we should be taking and that we shouldn’t be delaying any further… it’s not the council’s project. GORCAPA, in my view, deserves the opportunity to show the stance that Cr Allen talked about where there’s a new approach to listening to the community.

“I think the authority is perfectly capable of making good judgments about the heritage values of the site.”

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