Ship has sailed on the angling club’s support

April 8, 2021 BY

The proposed changes to the boat wash route as lodged by GORCAPA. Photo: LAAC

THE Lorne Aquatic and Angling Club (LAAC) is set to fight proposed changes to the club’s facilities under the redevelopment of the Point Grey precinct.

Originally lodged by Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, now known as Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority, the design proposes major changes to the fishing co-operative building, angling club and surrounding spaces including the car park.

The LAAC is now in its 60th year and was founded with a focus on fishing. It has since evolved to become a community hub with 1500 members, including 72 boat members.

The club said under the long-awaited Point Grey redevelopment, vehicles, boats and trailers travelling between the boat ramp and LAAC boat-wash would be forced to use the Great Ocean Road to access the facilities.

Commodore Keith Miller said anglers presently bring their boats out of the water behind the co-op and drive straight to the boat-washing area beside the clubhouse.

“It’s hardly safe forcing them into the road with traffic flying into a blind corner in front of the Pacific Hotel,” Mr Miller said.

“We have space for three or four boats to park while waiting to be washed but under the new plans there would be no space at all.

“We have a very good safety record, with no memory of any accidents with the existing arrangements.”

The LAAC hosted an information session on Sunday surrounding its concerns with demonstrations undertaken by members and their boats.

LAAC committee member Ric Addison said Sunday’s event was well attended with a shared objection to the proposed changes to the car park and boat wash facilities.

“Under the development people with boats come off the beach and then have turn left get up to the Great Ocean Road, turn right to leave the site and travel along the road for 450 metres through the carpark of the Pacific Hotel and then cross the Great Ocean Road again,” he said.

“That is a route of about 700 metres, whereas currently you come off the beach and travel 60 metres across the open area.”

The committee has raised concerns about the idea of an increased number of cars with boats having to cross the Great Ocean Road during peak times to access the facilities.

“The other issue is boat parking is about 250 metres away from the club,” Mr Addison said.

“They made no provision for boats and angling parks nearby when they could have easily brought it within 50 metres of the club.”

The carpark debate now awaits a VCAT hearing along with the fishing co-operative building which faces demolition.

“The main issue at the moment is that there is a body of force in town saying that they don’t want the current co-op building demolished,” he said.

“We have said we would add support to that on the condition that it doesn’t affect the redevelopment plans for the club.

“If common sense had of prevailed the LAAC building could have been completed by now.

“We have the funding, we are contributing $450,000 to the cost and we have a grant but GORCC, now GORCAPA, won’t build it.”

Mr Addison believes the VCAT hearing is the only option available but it comes at a price of “tens of thousands of dollars” for both parties.

GORCAPA chair Libby Mears said the decision was not up to them, with the new entity only being established four months ago whereas the Point Grey redevelopment was voted on in 2019.

“We are looking forward to the VCAT process to be completed and abiding their ruling,” she said.

“Our job is to wait and see.”