The shire released the Port Welshpool Marine Precinct Plan after spending thousands of dollars of ratepayer funds on consultant reports and have now shelved the plans.
The problem was the council has only done a small amount of the work that’s needed and what they did present was not in accord with what was presented in the consultant’s reports.
For a start, the economic analysis indicated a 150-berth marina was the most financially viable option and not the 80-place size the council presented to the public.
Why was that? The plan presented to the public shows an area which is actually not large enough for boat handling facilities, launching and retrievals, dry storage, marine mechanics, boat repairs, chandlers, parking, accommodation, restaurants, coffee shops and other ancillary services.
If one looks at the Yaringa Marina (Somerville) and the Westernport Marina (Hastings), it is easy to see they occupy a much larger areas, probably upwards of 10 hectares. These marinas also support something like 10 other small businesses and are a great tourist attraction.
In addition, the consultant reports indicated soil testing of the proposed harbour floor area and tide and wave studies were all required. From a developer aspect, we also need to resolve access to the site including native title issues, approvals from Parks Victoria, Gippsland Ports and have a clear path through planning approval. A prospective developer for a project of this scale needs to see that the hard work is done.
How do we fund this extra work? Easy! Just have council exit management of the Yanakie and Port Welshpool Caravan Parks and use the half million dollars saved to do the work on the marina.
Lindsay Love, secretary, South Gippsland Action Group.