The development is slated for a prime location along Newcombe Street, with locals concerned about the impacts on views across the bay.
The PCA is calling to have the area returned to open parkland to restore the original northern views across the bay, saying they’re ‘gearing up’ once again to fight the development.
“We’re quite fearful that because the Bellarine DAL (Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Program) hasn’t been passed on to law by being signed by the governor and council, that when VCAT considers this proposed application for a multi-storey building, we won’t be able to refer to the DAL’s specific provisions to maintain and enhance the unique characteristics of Portarlington,” PCA Secretary Anne Whisken said.
The final draft of the DAL includes a 50-year vision and objectives and strategies to better protect the unique features of the Bellarine Peninsula for current and future generations.
The Bellarine DAL has been prepared for endorsement but is yet to be ticked of by the planning minister.
“We’re calling on the planning minister to call the whole application in, because it really isn’t appropriate for Portarlington,” Ms. Whisken said.
“I think it will have impacts all along Geelong Road and Newcome Street’s exposure to the north,” she said.
“I think once you set a precedent like this, we feel it could be the thin edge of the wedge.”
Geelong Council opposes the developers building plans, but the developer has taken it to VCAT to get approval.
Ms. Whisken said it’s the second time developers have tried to build, after being denied previously in 2021.
“We’ve already fought this once,” she said.
“We’ve had to really gear up to fight the first application, we thought that was a done deal but here we go again.
“So we’re going through a whole new round.
“How long do we have to keep fighting these repeat applications?
“We really need the planning minister to take a stand for us and help us protect our community.”
The matter is set to be heard before VCAT in September, with the PCA hoping the state government steps in before then.
Image: Proposed site of the development at 49 Newcombe St. Portarlington (Google Maps)