BassCoastThe board of the Phillip Island Golf Club (PIGC) would like to express its extreme disappointment and disbelief at the decision by the Bass Coast Shire Council (BCSC) to reject Amendment C132 which would have rezoned the golf club and land on Coghlan and Cowes-Rhyll Road on Phillip Island to a Special Use Zone.
Rather than take purely a golf club perspective, we would like to point out the process that has taken place over a long period exceeding 10 years so the community can understand how irrational and inappropriate this decision to reject the amendment is and the impact it will have.
• This process has been a work in progress for more than 10 years.
• The process required that the land be included inside the town boundary. This was approved by the council under Amendment C88 following recommendations from an independent Panel of Experts appointed by the government at the request of the council in 2010.
• The developer Waterville at Cowes has worked with council staff over many years to ensure compliance with the panel and council requirements.  All requests for expert reports, drainage plans and other relevant documentation have been supplied and accepted by the council.
• In 2012, the council voted 6-1 in favour of commencing the process to rezone the land under Amendment C132 as a Special Use Zone.
• In 2013, the council again voted to proceed with Amendment C132 and requested another Independent Panel of Experts be convened to hear any objections from the community following the public display period.
• This panel met for three days from July 31 to August 2, 2013. They provided everyone that made a submission adequate time to present their case. Following a review of all submissions, the panel recommended to the council that the amendment be approved.
• Council officers fully support the amendment and also recommended it be approved by council.
• The last Wednesday evening, November 20, 2013, the council, at their meeting, for reasons beyond comprehension, rejected Amendment C132.
Amendment C132 should not be confused with any development of the Coghlan Road land.
This is another independent process that again requires the council to approve a planning permit and provides the community with an opportunity to have a say before it can proceed.
The community of Bass Coast and especially Phillip Island must be concerned that a council can ignore the recommendations of its own expert officers who are qualified in their field.
Even more extraordinary, they decided to ignore the recommendations of two expert panels appointed by the government at the request of the council to review the amendment and make recommendations.
You may well ask the question why Local Government has such comprehensive processes in place if they choose to make their decision on emotion rather than the recommendations based on researched facts presented by expert staff and independent external professionals.
As a result of this extraordinary and unbelievably poor decision to totally ignore the advice of many highly qualified experts, the council has now placed the long term survival of the Phillip Island Golf Club, which has been an integral part of the Phillip Island landscape for over 50 years, in serious jeopardy.
Well done, Bass Coast Shire Council, it appears Bass Coast is now closed for business.
Board of the Phillip Island Golf Club.