Frequently Asked Questions

Permit Process

How was the permit approved? 

Council resolved to issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit at its December 2016 Ordinary Council Meeting. An application for review was made with VCAT by objectors and the application was listed for a hearing. 

Following a Compulsory Conference process, all parties, including objectors, agreed to a series of permit conditions and on 30 July 2017 VCAT issued a consent order directing that Council grant a planning permit. 

At VCAT’s direction, Council issued the permit on 3 July 2017. 

When does the permit expire? 

The permit expired if development was not commenced by 3 July 2021, being four years after the date the permit was issued.  

What does development commencement mean? 

This is a broad term and has been subject to various reviews and decisions by VCAT. It means that works have been undertaken which are referrable to the permit, its conditions and endorsed plans. The works must be more than minor or trifling in nature. 

It was determined that development had commenced, this means the permit remains valid and the development can legally continue in accordance with conditions and endorsed plans. 

What do permit conditions require? 

The permit contains 70 conditions which relate to the use and development and cover both the construction and operation of the facility. Conditions cover various aspects requiring amended plans, construction and environmental management plans and technical assessments. 

Before these plans are approved and endorsed, a review is undertaken by Council in conjunction with other government authorities and agencies, including DELWP, Corangamite CMA, EPA and Department of Transport. 

Stages of Development

How can the development be staged and what is included within Stage 1 works? 

The permit allows the project and relevant plans to be delivered in stages and this is the approach the permit holder has chosen to take. Stage 1 works relate to the provision of enabling infrastructure, upgrades to site access and roads, provision of a new bridge across the Gellibrand River and on-site landscaping works.  

If the plans for the GOR intersection change what approvals are required and who makes them? Do all approvals need to be in place before development can start? 

It is not necessary for all works outlined in Stage 1, or any other stage, to have all secondary consents and approvals before works commence. However, it is necessary for consents, approvals and other permits (eg Flora and Fauna Guarantee permit, Works on Waterway Permit) to be in place for that particular aspect of work to proceed. 

Approved plans are in place for the upgrade of the GOR and Old Coach Road intersection. Any further change or modification of these plans will require further review by Council and Department of Transport before they are approved. The designs must comply with applicable permit conditions. 

If there no arrangements in place, and no landowner agreement for the required Great Ocean Road (GOR) intersection treatment with Old Coach Road, how can the development start?  

The permit holder has endorsed plans for that intersection treatment. Prior to the works at that specific location proceeding landowner consent is required together with any other requirements stipulated by Department of Transport and other referral agencies. If modifications to the endorsed plans were to be sought, which is not currently the case, the permit holder would be required to seek further approval, either by way of secondary consent or amendment to the permit. This request would be assessed by Council officers involving Department of Transport. There are no third-party notification or review rights for an amendment to this aspect of the permit. 

What environmental assessments are required to be undertaken? 

The permit requires various assessments and management plans to be undertaken before development may start. For Stage 1 works, the following reports have been prepared and approved (amongst others): 

  • Landscape Management Plan 
  • Flora and Fauna Report and Aquatic Ecology Report 
  • Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Risk Identification Report 
  • Hydraulic Report 
  • Construction Management Plan 
  • Acid Sulfate Soils Management Plan 
  • Flood Response Plan

Subsequent stages of the project require updated assessment and plans to be prepared before those stages of works may start. This is common for the staged implantation of a development and consistent with what the permit allows.

Flooding, Water and Effluent

What planning for flood events has been undertaken?  

Hydraulic and flood assessments have been undertaken for Stage 1 works which have been reviewed and approved by both Council, CCMA and DELWP. The recommendations and measures of each assessment must be implemented in accordance with the permit. 

Why hasn’t the flood study undertaken by Matthew Hayes been used? 

A coastal hazard assessment was not required as part of the planning application and no such condition was included in the agreed set of conditions following the VCAT compulsory conference.  

CCMA are the responsible authority for riverine and coastal inundation and have reviewed and approved the hydraulic and flood assessments in relation to potential flood impacts and mitigation measures for the site. 

Why hasn’t a coastal hazard risk assessment been made to meet the new EPA and coastal requirements? 

As the permit has been legally approved and there is no condition requiring a coastal hazard assessment, this is not something that can be retrospectively included on the permit for the permit holder to prepare. 

Should the permit expire and an extension of time request be made, Council must consider any change in coastal planning policy and how this affects the use and development. 

How many truck movements per day for the carting of effluent will be required? 

Stage 1 works do not include any requirements for effluent treatment or retention. This is a matter which will be covered in later stages of the development. 

Will the development alter the hydrology of the area particularly artificial opening of the river mouth? 

The Aquatic Ecology Report, Hydraulic Report and the Flood Response Plan put in place measures to mitigate any alteration of the hydrology of the area so as not to have an impact on the opening of the river mouth or detrimental impact on aquatic and ecological values of the estuary. Both plans were accepted by DELWP and the CCMA. 

Council's Role and Involvement

Does Council have a compliance officer for planning? 

A significant number of officers at Council have compliance responsibilities included as part of their duties. Council has two Local Laws officers with specific compliance responsibilities and officers in Environmental Health, Emergency Management, Building, Planning, Engineering also have compliance and enforcement responsibilities as Authorised Officers. Council planners, including the manager, are Authorised Officers in accordance with both the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Local Government Act 2020. 

Why was there an illegal road block in place on 1st and 2nd of July 2021? 

On Thursday 1 July 2021, a temporary road closure was put in place at the request of Victoria Police to manage road safety, community gathering and construction access.  The temporary road closure was operated in accordance with the TRC permit issued to the developer as part of the traffic management plan. Old Coach Road was reopened on Friday 2 July 2021 and remained under traffic management during the works.