Phillip Island,

Council to investigate car ferry

Bass Coast Shire Council will lead the development of a business case for a car ferry from Cowes to Stony Point.

The Cowes to Stony Point Car Ferry Infrastructure Business Case Project, a joint project between Council, Regional Development Victoria (RDV) and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, will review the cost, requirements and viability of a car ferry between Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island.

RDV will contribute $200,000 to the Project, while the participating councils will contribute $25,000 each.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said investigation into the feasibility of a car ferry is supported by Council’s Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035, Growing Tourism, and Destination Phillip Island’s Strategic Tourism Plan 2014 – 2019.

“There has been strong interest by a range of key stakeholders, such as Visit Victoria, RDV, Destination Phillip Island, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Destination Gippsland and key tourism attractions on the Island to continue to explore the viablility of a car ferry,” Cr Rothfield said.

“At this stage, Council hasn’t committed to anything more than a business case, and will be asking our community for input as part of the process. We will have the opportunity to assess the recommendations of this project before any further decisions are made.”

Supporters suggest that a car ferry between Stony Point and Cowes will stop Phillip Island being a ‘one way’ destination, and will create an iconic coastal touring route.

Such a touring route, incorporating the Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island, Mainland Bass Coast, Wilsons Promontory and the Gippsland Lakes, has the potential to boost both international and domestic visitation, particularly during the shoulder and winter seasons – a key objective of the Visitor Economy Strategy.

“The Stony Point to Cowes leg is the missing link, which has the potential to increase economic activity across mainland Bass Coast and greater Gippsland,” Cr Rothfield said.

“There is, however, a lot of factors to consider before a decision is made, and it is important for Council to get involved in the Project at an early stage, so we can ensure we have as much input as possible as the Project progresses.”