Local solution to accommodation crisis
A LOCAL business owner has proposed a solution to Lorne’s key worker accommodation crisis that could provide housing for an additional 62 workers.
Last month councillor Gary Allen moved a motion to declare Lorne in crisis following estimates there would be a shortage of 100 hospitality workers by next month due to the lack of housing.
Co-owner of Great Ocean Road Cottages Simon Sutterby has since offered up a solution that could create accommodation options for an additional 62 people on-top of their current facilities.
With his business set on three acres of land, Mr Sutterby is proposing to build a new 40-bed facility designed to blend with the existing infrastructure and vegetation.
Under the plans, the facility would include a range of mid-tier accommodation options with community indoor and outdoor areas, lounges and kitchens as well as rooms with private amenities suitable for families.
“The main hurdle we are facing is that we cannot build more accommodation without a proper road servicing the property,” he said.
“Erskine Avenue provides an entrance for the supermarket and caravan park, but it ends there.
“The extension of this road, where Great Ocean Road Cottages is situated, is not officially designated and we do not have a carriageway on the title.”
Mr Sutterby’s business offers eight cottages accommodating between two to five guests each, as well as 36 backpacker beds and prior to 2019 there was a further nine tent sites occupied from November to Easter.
In 2019, the council determined there was no permit for the tent sites and advised them to be removed.
“We applied for a tent accommodation permit in June 2019, requesting 12 sites – nine regular tents, and three glamping sites,” he said.
“We’re still waiting for it to be assessed by council, but this would provide 24 beds straight away.”
Mr Sutterby is appealing to the Surf Coast Shire Council and the Great Ocean Road Parks Authority to consider his proposal that will open up the possibility for more seasonal workers, as well as attracting tourists and school groups year-round.
Great Ocean Road Cottages manager Paki Henry came from New Zealand 20 years ago for a holiday before falling in love with Lorne.
Since relocating permanently to the coastal town, Mr Henry plays an import role in filling vacancies by connecting travellers with the community.
“When a venue says, ‘Paki, I need a barista or a dish washer’, I can usually identify which of our guests would be a good fit for the role,” he said.
“It’s a great place to stay and we’d like more people to have that experience with us.”
Surf Coast Shire’s acting general manager of environment and development, Matt Tyler, said planning officers are working through considerations for the application.
“Council has received an application for 12 camp sites with capacity for approximately 24 people and has already been publicly advertised,” he said.
“Consideration of the application and any future applications will include identifying any potential future works that are required.
“A decision in relation to road access has not been made yet.”