Observer: $5.4 Mill Health Resort for Cape Bridgewater Proposed

By Spectator-Observer Partnership | 12 Apr 2002
Originally written by JULIE GRIFFITHS

Council accused of scheming. Panel asked to examine disappearance of planning scheme documentation

“A further condition shall require that the owner and operator of the Health Farm sign a legal agreement … acknowledging the presence or intended development of the wind farm, acknowledging prior notification concerning likely noise impacts and indemnifying the company against any complaints by reason of noise or nuisance arising from wind farm operations. This would be lodged as a covenant on title,” Pacific Hydro submitted.

PLANS for a $5.4 million dollar health resort near Cape Bridgewater have been unveiled by a Melbourne-based developer.

The proposal is targeted for land near the Blowholes and comprises 14 accommodation villas and health facilities including a meditation centre, beauty rooms, tennis courts, spa and herb garden.

According to Michael Krape, consultant for the developer, Conrock Industries, the facility would cater for about 60 people and provide direct employment for five people.

“All employees will be local people, with the work involving mainly administration and maintenance,” he said.

“We will also be looking for other locals to provide ancillary services such as massage and reike. So there is potential for about 20 people to be involved.”

Mr Krape said the site was chosen because of the “physical beauty” of the region and for its proximity to a targeted rural-based clientele.

“We’ve looked at a number of different areas in Victoria and what appealed about this site is that research has indicated it would experience a strong usage, not only from the Melbourne market, but from people in regional Victoria and SA, such as Hamilton, Colac and Mount Gambier,” he said.

The south-west could also expect to receive an economic boost if the resort was built, Mr Krape said.

“Ninety per cent of people that would stay at the facility would arrive by road and I think that would have quite significant economic benefits for the region,” he said.

The accommodation villas proposed for the facility are ecologically-designed buildings, developed by Conrock Industries. The elevated buildings stand on a concrete column. A concrete cone, placed on the column, supports concrete floor panels.

“The buildings leave a very small footprint and almost no degradation to the land,” Mr Krape said.

Solar power is proposed as the facility’s primary energy source, with each villa intended to be equipped with the technology. Galvanised water tanks would also be attached to each building.

With the proposal sited on cleared grazing land, the developer intends to revegetate six areas on the property. According to plans, indigenous plants or other native species would be planted, with all revegetation work carried out in consultation with the Glenelg Shire Council.

Conrock Industries lodged a planning permit application for the resort with the Glenelg Shire Council on March 25. Submissions responding to the application closed on Tuesday. The proposal is expected to be considered at the Glenelg Shire Council meeting on April 23.

However, the proposal has already met with concern, with the council receiving submissions from residents, the Historic Buildings Restoration Committee and Portland Wind Energy Project proponents, Pacific Hydro.

Pacific Hydro’s wind farm proposal includes plans to build wind turbines on land next to the health resort. It is concerned that some of the resort’s buildings could be within the PWEP’s 40 decibel noise contour zones, established at a 400m radius around the proposed wind turbines.

Pacific Hydro’s submission states:

“In the event that the Portland Wind Energy Project is approved and Council is of a mind to approve the Health Farm proposal, it is requested that conditions be placed on the permit to the effect that buildings will be constructed and windows glazed so that noise levels in any inhabitable rooms will not exceed 40 (decibels) by reason of the proximity and operation of wind farm towers.”

“A further condition shall require that the owner and operator of the Health Farm sign a legal agreement … acknowledging the presence or intended development of the wind farm, acknowledging prior notification concerning likely noise impacts and indemnifying the company against any complaints by reason of noise or nuisance arising from wind farm operations. This would be lodged as a covenant on title,” Pacific Hydro submitted.

Mr Krape said there was scope in the health resort’s plans to move its buildings at least 400m from the proposed wind turbines.

Concerns raised in other submissions included the proposed villas being described as “out of scale” and “unsympathetic” to their surroundings, possible erosion during and after the facility’s construction and diminished visual amenity of the Cape Bridgewater landscape.

If the health resort proposal is approved, construction could begin within four weeks of the approval date, Mr Krape said.

The developer has targeted a site east of Melbourne if the Cape Bridgewater proposal is rejected.

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