Development plans for the Lighthouse Reserves

Friday, 15 February 2013

Borough of Queenscliffe Council has been afforded a unique opportunity to reinvigorate the two iconic lighthouse reserves and significantly boost the tourism appeal of the area and the local economy.

The Council has recently been appointed Committee of Management for the parcels of crown land known as the Queenscliff Lighthouse Reserve (Shortlands Bluff) and the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve (Toc H). This provides an opportunity for the much-needed reinvigoration of these reserves. Council intends to investigate tourism development opportunities on these sites by commissioning preparation of a Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserves Development Plan.

A report to Borough of Queenscliffe Council on 19 December 2012 suggested the provision of high-quality, environmentally friendly tourist accommodation at these sites will boost the local and regional economy which is highly reliant on tourism, both within the Borough of Queenscliffe and the Bellarine Peninsula.

Tourism-based retail and accommodation is critical to the local economy in the Borough of Queenscliffe. However, the Borough has experienced a decline of over 40% in overnight tourism over the past 15 years in 5- star hotel accommodation and 3- to 5-star eco-friendly self-contained accommodation.

Council has received a $100,000 in State government funding to undertake the Development Plan and investigate tourism development opportunities for the sites. A project tender brief will be released by the end of the month, calling for appropriately qualified consultants to investigate options for the sites.

The consultants will be expected to develop concept plans for ecotourism accommodation units at the 1.6ha Queenscliff Lighthouse Reserve. Concepts for Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve will be more extensive given the size of the site, approximately 6.6ha. As well as eco-accommodation development it may include retail hospitality facilities, enhancement of open space and community facilities.

Development at both sites will need to take into account identified restrictions for the sites, including State and local planning policies, and heritage, environmental and landscape overlays.

"Any proposed development will complement the Borough's values of preserving and enhancing our heritage spaces and natural environment," said Borough of Queenscliffe Mayor Helene Cameron.

Given the high level of interest in these sites, Council is keen to ensure the Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale communities and other key stakeholders have the opportunity to meaningfully inform the project. The project brief calls for an effective and convenient engagement and consultation process to ensure all opinions are heard.

Mayor Helene Cameron has emphasised that the study will be conducted with due consideration to community needs.

"Given the significance of the sites appropriate planning is essential to ensure the end result is consistent with Council's and the community's needs."
"In selecting the consultancy to undertake the study, one of the key criteria will be their demonstration of an appropriate community and stakeholder engagement framework," she said.

The Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserves, when developed, will provide an economic benefit to the local economy through the creation of additional tourism accommodation and employment opportunities both during construction and after completion.