Planning Permit Application PP2016/126 was considered by Council in December 2016 with a decision made to issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit with conditions. An application for review was made with VCAT by objectors and the application was listed for a hearing. 

Following a Compulsory Conference, held on 15 May 2017 and 23 June 2017, a series of permit conditions were agreed to by all parties and on 30 June 2017 VCAT ultimately issued a consent order instructing Council to grant a planning permit, subject to conditions. 

Planning Permit PP2016/126 was issued by Council on 3 July 2017 for the Use and Development of Land for an Integrated Eco-Tourism Facility, Removal of Native Vegetation, Alteration to Road Zone Category 1 and Liquor Licence. A copy of the Planning Permit is available here(PDF, 20MB) in accordance with the public availability requirements of Section 70 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The permit

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

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 will proceed first. These 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. 

To commence Stage 1 works, the permit holder submitted a package of plans and reports for review in accordance with the permit. An initial package of plans was reviewed and approved in October 2018. Further revisions were made to the package of plans which were reviewed and approved by Council in June 2019, following consultation and referral to the relevant government departments and agencies. Both Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) reviewed these plans and consented to their approval having regard to environmental and waterway/flooding risks and management. 

The permit holder has had four years to start works on the site before the permit expires on 4 July 2021.  

Current status (as of 13 August 2021)

Following works undertaken before the permit expiry of 3 July 2021, Council officers have undertaken a review to determine whether development has commenced.

A comprehensive review has been carried out by Council officers involving a site inspection and review of works undertaken in accordance with the planning permit and endorsed plans for Stage 1 works. Legal advice has also been obtained on the matter.

As a result, it has been determined that the development has legally commenced in accordance with the planning permit and the permit remains valid. The permit holder subsequently has a further two (2) years until 3 July 2023 to complete the development.

Both community members and the permit holder have been informed of this review and determination, in which we will await any further outcomes. This now means that the developer may proceed with development and works in accordance with the permit and endorsed plans.

An application for extension of time may be received by Council before the permit expires or in the twelve (12) months following expiry.

A community consultation process will be established moving forward to ensure all parties and stakeholders remain informed of what is happening in relation to the project.

Enforcement of Permit conditions
Council notes that the permit holder and contractors accessed the site through the Princetown Recreation Reserve on Monday 28 June 2021 in contravention of a condition in the permit. Council does not condone these actions and given there was a breach of the planning permit, enforcement action has been undertaken. 

Pending any decision on development commencement, Council officers will continue to closely monitor project construction to ensure compliance with the planning permit and will take any necessary steps to enforce the planning scheme and permit.