Council responds to community feedback on Car Ferry
At its Ordinary Meeting in Cowes on Wednesday 18 April, Bass Coast Shire Council voted in support of a car ferry service between Cowes and Stony Point in principle, but acknowledged the final Business Case would not be endorsed at this time.
A Cowes to Stony Point Car Ferry is a key project identified in the Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035. It is also a strategic indicator in the Council Plan 2017-21.
Council has responded to community feedback by deferring consideration on the business case until further investigation is undertaken on the Cowes Jetty as an alternative car ferry terminal site. Council will now request the State Government to fund a comprehensive investigation into the suitability of the existing Cowes Jetty site as an option for the car ferry terminal and seek that further detailed traffic and parking assessments are undertaken at this site.
This request also includes an assessment of the potential impacts this site will have on the existing Jetty Triangle redevelopment project.
Earthcheck, the consultants appointed to the project provided Council with the full Business Case that explored a number of car ferry terminal options on Phillip Island and investigated the viability of such a service to be established. Earthcheck consulted extensively with the community on these options and presented a summary of the community engagement feedback for Council’s consideration.
Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield acknowledged the community’s feedback towards the proposed project and that deferring consideration for the business case subject to another suitable location should be the next step.
“Council received a lot of feedback related to the car ferry. It has been diverse and from some very passionate individuals. Councillors considered everything our community has said including the opportunity to revisit previous locations as potential terminal sites,” Cr Rothfield said.
“I acknowledge that this project has been difficult for some people because of the uncertainty that has surrounded the project. There were some statements made that suggested we had made up our minds and we were ramming it through which was just not true.”
Cr Rothfield also explained that the original decision to not include Cowes Jetty as a possible car ferry site was as a result of community feedback against a previous 2010 proposal to develop the Cowes Jetty for a Car Ferry terminal site.
“We were honouring what the Council of the day had heard from the community in 2010, however, it is now evident from the recent feedback we have obtained that many in the Phillip Island community may not be opposed for the Cowes Jetty to be considered as an option again for the car ferry proposal,” Cr Rothfield said.
“Of course, this needs to be investigated as per our resolution. I truly believe that our decision to defer consideration of the business case and requesting the State Government to expand the scope to include the Cowes Jetty is a win for democracy and the community.”