REPRESENTATIVE for the would-be developers of the Phillip Island Airport site at Cape Woolamai, Grant Hales of Beveridge Williams, doesn’t know the dimensions of the site.
And he couldn’t say how many housing blocks his clients would like to see there in the future.
But, despite the lack of any strategic support for an expansion of the Cape Woolamai housing estate west, one thing was certainly clear from Mr Hales’ appearance at a Community Plus meeting in Newhaven last Monday night, his clients are very keen to see housing there, at almost any cost.
While professing to know few details about the proposal, which he said was in its absolute infancy, Mr Hales said his clients were keen to make a strong case for community benefit, including donating land to the Vietnam Veterans Museum for a ‘Peace’ feature to balance the themes of war in the museum and coming up with some sort of theme park to boost the offering to tourists and locals.
A skate park and men’s shed were other suggestions.
He’d be happy to hear suggestions on this point.
He said he was also prepared to discuss the lack of facilities in the existing Cape Woolamai estate and to see what complementary infrastructure might be provided on the other side of Cape Woolamai Road.
He also undertook that while his clients’ site went right through to the high water mark on the beach at west Woolamai, there was no intention that houses would be built right down to the water or overlooking the coast.
It’s likely a wide strip of land along the coast would be incorporated into a foreshore reserve, revegetated and sympathetic to Shearwater rookeries in the area.
The other thing that was clear from the discussion, at the meeting convened by Phillip Island councillor Phil Wright, there is already intense interest and significant opposition to the expansion of housing in the area.
While the proposal for housing on the airport land dominated discussions, several other issues were aired on the night, including potential for a skate park in Cowes, the reinstatement of the council prayer, the Kernot dairy plan, infestation of rabbits, the inundation overlay and the new Keams’ Estate plan.
Cr Wright noted that one of the most important planning documents affecting Phillip Island would be coming to the next council meeting later this month, the new tourism plan, and he urged everyone to take an interest.
But it was Mr Hales’ comments which attracted most attention.
He acknowledged that the developers had approached the shire each year to see if there was any movement as far as master planning was concerned and after receiving the council’s support, they would now be going forward with a range of plans including traffic, environmental and net community benefit.
Mr Hales said CASA had said the runway was too close to houses and was no longer viable as an airport.
“Council said they would need to see some sort of net community benefit,” he said.
The questions came think and fast afterwards including questions about master plans for the site that did not include any housing component.
“What options have you looked at besides housing?”
“Yes, we will look at other ideas,” responded Mr Hales.
“What about a school?”
Much of the land is zoned ‘farming’ and therefore the owners cannot have any expectation that houses would ever be built there.
There were also comments made that the airport might be needed in the future and queries about whether helicopter ambulances would still be able to land there – they will.
After Mr Hales had left the building, Bass MP Brian Paynter gave a discourse on what he has been doing since coming to office, stressing that the development of a new secondary college and hospital facilities at Wonthaggi were his main priorities at this stage.
Report says no more houses needed in Cape Woolamai, San Remo, Newhaven
A REVIEW of the San Remo, Newhaven and Cape Woolamai Structure Plan 2010 (PDF 950KB) recently found that the plan for these towns is robust and its objectives and strategies remain relevant.
The Structure Plan provides direction for future growth and development in these towns. It shows future residential, commercial, tourism and open space areas.
It is also supposed to “provide greater certainty for the community about the layout of the towns in the future”.
The review recommended that Council continue to monitor land supply in the area, as well as continue with implementation of the actions identified in the plan.
It has also identified that Council should work with the owners of the airport “to develop a Master Plan for future development of the site” but it says nothing about residential expansion being part of the plan.
The review was adopted by Council on July 13, 2015.
The 2014 Bass Coast Shire Council Land Supply and Demand Assessment found that residential land supply across San Remo, Newhaven and Cape Woolamai was 980 lots.
“San Remo has the highest capacity for accommodating growth with 757 lots, followed by Cape Woolamai with 204 and Newhaven 19.”
The conclusion was that “there is no need for more residential land supply as existing residential land supply across San Remo, Newhaven and Cape Woolamai is in excess of 15 years of supply and does not warrant a full scale review of the Structure Plan.”
The recommendation stated: “No changes to Structure Plan required. Continue to monitor residential land supply and demand across the municipality.”
The Phillip Island Airport Strategic Review 2015 came up with the following conclusions and recommendations, again without direct reference to residential expansion being an option:
Conclusions: Having considered the complexities of the airport site and having received an independent review of the site it is considered that Council should work with the land owners to develop an appropriate planning response for the site. The site is one of strategic significance for Phillip Island, however, it is noted that the recent closure of the airport runways necessitates that there be a planning response developed for the site. This Master Plan should be informed by the broader strategic intent of Council including the Rural Land Use Strategy (2013) and the Phillip Island Tourism Strategy 2035 that is currently being developed.
Recommendation: Following adoption of the San Remo, Newhaven and Cape Woolamai Structure Plan, Council commence working with the Landowners to prepare a masterplan for the subject site.
This could include:
• Development of the land at the northern end of the site for commercial tourism purposes
• Development along Veteran’s Drive, to the south of the Nation Vietnam Veterans Museum, for light industrial or destination tourism purposes
• Protection of significant landscapes on the site.
• Determine suitable uses for the remainder of the site.