A MULTI-million-dollar motel in Peterborough has been given the go-ahead after opponents lost a court battle to stop the project.
Work on the 36-bedroom motel, which includes restaurant, pool and gym, is expected to begin in the next six months.
Developers hope to open doors on the $9 million project by Christmas 2015.
Objectors took the matter to the state’s top planning court in June this year on the grounds that the motel was out of character with the township, didn’t comply with zoning and would obstruct coastal views.
But the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) upheld Moyne Shire’s decision last week, saying the project ticked the planning boxes and would contribute to the town’s economy.
“We accept the conclusion reached by the council and consider there will be a net community benefit,” the panel decision said.
Owners of the neighbouring Schomberg Inn Hotel, Peter and Pauline Burl, and another objector, Edward Strengers, also argued the site on 8 Hamilton Street (the Great Ocean Road) risked over-developing the town.
They added the site would flood during heavy rain and potentially at times when the mouth of the Curdies River was blocked.
The VCAT panel said the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) had given the plans the green light, adding “we do not have information or evidence to contradict the CMA’s advice with respect to the applicable flood level”.
Developer Peter Hunt is hoping to use the motel to attract conferences, weddings and Great Ocean Road tourists.
Project designer Dean Picken said work would start “as soon as possible”.
“We’ll look at a whole range of things. It’s a resort town so we’ll be looking at a tourism influx,” Mr Picken said.
“We hope to be turning a sod at the site in the next six months.”
Up to 36 rooms will be spread across three two- storey “pod” buildings.
The motel’s restaurant will also be licensed for up to 155 people.
The plans by Mr Hunt were given unanimous backing by Moyne Shire councillors in November last year, despite objections.
Mayor James Purcell welcomed VCAT’s decision to back council’s permit.
“We think it’s a good project for Peterborough,” Cr Purcell said.
“It’s got the opportunity to create a lot of growth and jobs for locals.”