South Warrnambool Crown land decision deferred

A DECISION on a proposed Crown land protection plan has been deferred by Warrnambool City councillors following this week’s general meeting.

Councillors were given eight recommendations covering the South Warrnambool precinct, an area utilised by a number of the city’s sporting clubs.

Councillors unanimously voted to defer a vote on the matter which was likely to involve the relocation of two sports clubs and affect Warrnambool Golf Club’s plans for a 27-hole international course. 

Under the precinct plan, Warrnambool’s small bore rifle shooters club and the harness racing club have been earmarked for relocation.

The rifle club would be encouraged to set up at the Lake Gillear shooting complex and harness racers to set up base at Terang or another location within the region. 

Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said a number of transition options were on the table for clubs and the deferral would allow for more time for discussion.

“There’s a number of factors involved and decisions to be made for a number of clubs,” Cr Neoh said.

“The shooting club is quite embedded at its present site but there’s also excellent ballistic facilities at Lake Gillear. So in a planning sense it would be good to start that transition but I do understand there’s a lot of history and social capital there.”

Cr Brian Kelson raised concerns over alterations to recommendations, leading to the vote deferral.

The alterations included a recommendation that a further report be submitted on the implications of the city council being appointed as managers for a section of the Crown land.

Cr Peter Hulin was also angered by the changes, labelling the late changes “shabby and unprofessional”.

“How are we supposed to make an informed decision if the information keeps being changed at the last minute?” Cr Hulin said.

Cr Jacinta Ermacora said she was happy to support the deferral due to the apparent confusion over the matter.

“There are a lot of stakeholders involved — the state government, Wannon Water, several sporting clubs — so it’s worthwhile to engage in some more consultation,” Cr Ermacora said.

Crown land immediately north and west of Thunder Point is covered in the precinct’s future directions plan, which could also lead to the transfer of sand dunes management responsibilities to Parks Victoria.

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