Car Ferry Business Case released for community feedback
Bass Coast Shire Council has released the draft Business Case for a Car Ferry between Cowes and Stony Point for public feedback.
The draft Business Case will be open for community feedback until 6 April. Hard copies can be viewed at any of Council’s Customer Service Centres or Visitor Information Centres, or Council’s website at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/carferry.
The decision to release the draft Business Case was made at the Ordinary Public Meeting, held on 21 February at the Inverloch Community Hub.
At the meeting, Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, encouraged the community to take a look at the Business Case, and urged everyone to have their say.
“Bass Coast Shire, along with the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council have facilitated the process of the preparation of a draft business case on behalf of the state government. Now, comes the vital step in the process - this is the time for the whole community to consider the business case and provide comment,” Cr Rothfield said.
“There are many ways people can engage, and I really urge the community to embrace this opportunity to voice their support, concerns or feedback, as well as ask questions.”
Feedback and comments will be collected via an online survey and at drop in sessions held at Mussel Rocks BBQ area on The Esplanade in Cowes from 10.00am to 4.00pm on 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20 March.
There is also the opportunity for people to provide direct feedback by phoning or emailing EarthCheck. All of these details are available at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/carferry.
Once all the feedback has been considered, the Final Business Case will be presented at the Council meeting on 21 April, where Council will consider its endorsement for delivery to the state government for further evaluation.
“Having diverse opinions is nothing new to Phillip Island – it is an essential part of our democracy that we hear from everyone so that the entire population has the opportunity express their view without fear or favour.”
Business Case Background
At the Ordinary Council Meeting on 15 February 2017, Council resolved to ‘Participate in the Cowes to Stony Point Car Ferry Infrastructure Business Case Project.’
Bass Coast and Mornington Peninsula Shire Councils have been working on this project with the Victorian State Government, to develop a business case for a Cowes to Stony Point Car Ferry.
Regional Development Victoria approached Bass Coast Shire Council in 2016 with an offer of $200,000 towards a $250,000 project, to which Bass Coast and Mornington Peninsula Shire Councils contributed $25,000 each.
The objectives of the project are to:
· Prepare a Business Case for the State Government of Victoria about the development of a vehicle and passenger ferry service between Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula, considering French Island resident needs and reporting on any development shortfall;
· Undertake community consultation and technical investigation of terminal locations and the development of infrastructure designs and their costs;
· Investigate the economic impact of a vehicle and passenger ferry service operations estimating the level of government support required for service viability;
· Investigate benchmark environmental standards required for the development and maintenance of a vehicle and passenger ferry infrastructure and operations; and
· Develop a schedule for project implementation.
Project Consultants, EarthCheck Pty Ltd were appointed as Lead Project Consultants in June 2017 and the project commenced in July 2017.
A project Steering Committee comprising key stakeholder agencies was established which is chaired by the Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor.
The final Business Case is scheduled to be presented to Bass Coast and Mornington Peninsula Shire Councils at their ordinary meetings in April 2018.
Business Case Terminal Location Options:
The draft Business Case outlines the costs, suitability and challenges with four different terminal locations on Phillip Island, and makes a recommendation as to the preferred site. The four options considered are:
1. A car ferry travelling between Stony Point and Cowes with the car ferry terminal on the Phillip Island side on the site of the Cowes Yacht Club.
2. A car ferry travelling between Stony Point, Tankerton (French Island) and Cowes with the car ferry terminal on the Phillip Island side in the vicinity of the Cowes Yacht Club.
3. A car ferry travelling between Stony Point and Cowes with the passengers disembarking at the existing Cowes jetty and vehicles continuing on to unload at a terminal near the Anderson Road Boat Ramp.
4. A car ferry established between Stony Point and Cowes with the car ferry terminal on the Phillip Island side immediately to the west of Mussel Rocks.
Suggested Option and Costs
The Draft Business Case determines that Option 4, a car ferry terminal on the Phillip Island side immediately to the west of Mussel Rocks is the most viable option.
The total capital cost of the project including the infrastructure at both Cowes and Stony Point is $80.3million. Bass Coast Shire Council has no allocation in its 10 year Financial Plan for any contribution to this cost.
The draft Business Case models a car ferry providing between 10 and 14 sailings a day, for example, five to seven each way. The capacity of the car ferry is anticipated to be 300 people, 30 vehicles and 2 coaches / heavy vehicles.
A bridge between Cowes and Stony Point was investigated but the cost, environmental sensitivity, and distance of around eight kilometres made it unviable.
There are many potential opportunities that can be achieved as a result of a vehicle ferry service, these include:
· Enhanced employment opportunities
· Greater tourism connectivity from the Mornington Peninsula to Phillip Island
· Increase in visitor activity
· Greater access to emergency services
· Better access to public transport
For more information contact:
Senior Communications and Engagement Officer
t (03) 5671 2765 | f (03) 5671 2222 | m 0422 115 374