Council split on CORA compromise

December 5, 2019 BY

An artist's impression of the $352 million CORA development.

THE Surf Coast Shire’s compromise on the Cape Otway Road Australia Development (CORA) proved to be divisive for both council and community members.

Officers recommended at their November 26 meeting that the council’s submission to the Minister for Planning should give its support to the planned $352 million elite sporting facility.

Yet the concerns voiced recently by community members as well as during public question time at the beginning of the meeting seems to have had some influence on the council.

Cr Tony Revell, who was one of the three councillors to attend a recent community meeting in Modewarre about CORA, opted to move the motion, adding several amendments.

These amendments added numerous conditions the council’s support was subject to, including “no subdivision of the site beyond the identified precincts”, “development staging to require the Elite Sports Precinct to be delivered prior to the Accommodation Precinct”, “a clear and unambiguous planning approval framework” and that “the development remains an integrated use”.

Cr Revell said these were important amendments as council officers had raised 42 separate concerns with the development.

The motion was eventually passed 6-3, with Cr James McIntyre, Cr Heather Wellington and Cr Brian McKiterick all voting against.

Cr McIntyre also foreshadowed moving a different amended motion. This motion would have only been discussed had Cr Revell’s motion not been passed.

Cr McIntyre said amendments would focus on “removing from the submission much of the expressions of support in relation to the proposed development.”

He reasoned that at present the development posed “too many questions and not enough answers”.

Cr Wellington and Cr McKiterick voiced similar reasons for opposing the motion, though they did say they appreciated what Cr Revell was trying to achieve with the amendments.

This sentiment seemed to be shared by the community members at the meeting.

Gherang resident Steve Sweeney was one of those left discouraged by the council’s decision.

“It was premature for them to be providing support for it (the development).”

Mr Sweeney also questioned how the proposed elite sporting facility could hope to recoup the $352 million CORA plans to invest.

Modewarre local Shane Jacobsen said he had similar concerns.

“The so-called proposed elite sporting facility location seems tenuous given the isolation of the area, and the lack of existing infrastructure, not to mention the enormous impact on a small rural community.”

A directions hearing on CORA will be held on December 13.