Apollo Bay, Victoria -
Report on Apollo Bay Harbour Development – A Proposal Revisited
With much fanfare in 2008, the Colac Otway Shire announced that they would conduct a five day workshop to resolve issues over the proposed re-
The workshop over the period September 18 – 22 featured ‘Enquiry by Design’ and was organised by consultants, Ecologically Sustainable Design Pty Ltd.
The opening event was a public meeting on the evening of September 18 at the Youth Club Hall in Apollo Bay. The Mayor, Cr Chris Smith opened proceedings and was followed by the CEO of Colac Otway Shire, Tracey Slatter. Both speakers emphasised the point that it was up to the community to decide what was wanted and the intent was to establish just what that was through this ‘different’ approach of enquiry by design. World’s best practice, sustainable and environmentally sensitive development and ‘must see’ attraction were all mentioned. The meeting then heard from Greg Hyland, CEO of Tourism Victoria, who again stated it was up to the community to decide, but then he proceeded to effectively tell the audience, ‘no hotel, no development’. This refers to a proposal for a five star hotel of 80 – 100 rooms, to cater for the International Tourists, in the Harbour Precinct. This aspect of the proposed development was soundly rejected by the community in previous meetings and surveys.
Carolyn Douglas, Director of Public Lands DSE then spoke on the use of Public land and made brief reference to the hierarchy of use of public lands as presented in the Victorian Coastal Strategy. The final speaker was Chip Kaufman of Ecologically Sustainable Design Pty Ltd, who spoke for nearly an hour explaining what EBD was and going over the Harbour Development Plan and its 17 points that everyone in the audience was very familiar with since it was the plan as presented in 2007 and in the Apollo Bay Structure Plan. After patiently sitting through nearly two hours of being told, the audience got a chance to ask questions. It was immediately obvious that the meeting was somewhat hostile to the process thus far and that the community, as represented at the meeting, was opposed to the hotel. Focus was also directed at the long term viability of the harbour in the face of climate change and rising sea levels. (The Harbour has a long history of sand build up and requires constant dredging to keep the entrance open.) An answer was that every decade or so the sand would have to be taken out! Is this sustainability and world’s best practice? Mr Kaufman expressed a view of allowing 800mm for sea level rise. The newspapers on Saturday September 20 were mentioning 2 metres as a rational figure to use for planning purposes in coastal areas and storm surge has to be added on to that. What is the cost of raising the height of the breakwater and all the current infrastructure of the now working Harbour?
The Apollo Bay Sand Study (2005) identifies strategies for keeping the entrance to the harbour open. One option is to maintain the current practice of using the dredge on an ‘as needed’ basis. This is estimated to cost $318,000 per annum or $3.18m over a ten year period.
The meeting concluded with the participants broken up into focus groups to consider three questions and report back. The questions were:
1. What do you especially value about Apollo Bay , particularly the Harbour Precinct?
2. What are the specific problems or dislikes you have about Apollo Bay , particularly the Harbour Precinct?
3. What is your future vision (short or long term) for the Apollo Bay Harbour Precinct?
With the assistance of facilitators the results were condensed in a series of one line statements grouped under descriptive headings and made available to the public over the weekend. Subsequent sessions over the weekend gave special interest groups, (for example, the Apollo Bay Sailing Club), an opportunity to present their views and government agencies were also scheduled to hold discussions with Council staff and the design team.
A particular feature of the weekend was the presentation of an ‘Open Design Studio’ where the public were invited to discuss aspects of the Harbour Design with the design team at work, interpreting the comments from all the sources and reacting to them in sketches of proposed designs.
By Sunday afternoon, significant changes had emerged with the sketches that seemed to reflect the community input and there was a heightened anticipation of the final session, a closing public meeting where a new Harbour design was expected to be presented. Would it live up to the promise shown so far?
Some highlights of the options on the table were:
Monday evening closing
A good crowd presented (approx 70-
John Spencer September 23, 2008
|Council Report Feb 2012|
|Sketches and plans|
|Harbour background 1|