A decision on whether an $85 million high-end five-star eco-resort for Cape Bridgewater will be given the go-ahead will be decided by the state government.
Glenelg Shire councillors voted 6-1 to give "in-principle support" to the project this week while also referring it to the planning minister Richard Wynne to make the final decision.
The proposed resort would include an 88-bedroom hotel spread over four lodges as well as 13 two-bedroom villas and five one-bedroom villas.
The hotel will be connected by a tunnel to a restaurant with sweeping views across the bay and will also include a spa, gallery and underground car park.
Australian Tourism Trust is behind the project on Blowhole Road, and is one of up to seven developments worth more than $1 billion it has in the pipeline for the rest of the state including two on the Great Ocean Road.
The project has attracted support from the Portland tourist association, an adjoining landholder and the Bridgewater Cafe owner.
A change.org petition in support of the project was signed by more than 900 people.
But there has also been opposition from some of the town's 80 residents who have formed a new group called Save Cape Bridgewater Association.
Objector and Cape Bridgewater resident Patrick O'Brien said a petition objecting to the project with 4500 signatures was also presented to the council.
Mr O'Brien said he was disappointed councillors had given in-principle support for the project and didn't question claims the project would bring $60 million worth of economic benefits.
He said he expected that the minister would send it to an independent panel to decide, and he would "certainly" present a submission to it.
Portland and District Tourism Association president Dennis Carr, who also manages Cape Bridgewater Seaview Lodge Bed and Breakfast just down the road from where the new resort will be built, said this week's council meeting was probably a good outcome for the people that support the project.
"As a bed and breakfast owner and living in The Cape, we're please about it. It's closer to getting started and getting approved," Mr Carr said.
"It's jobs, jobs and more jobs."
He said he was fully supportive of the project and expected the flow-on effect would triple his business.
"The vibe around Portland about it is pretty good," he said.
He said that as a tourism president he'd been chasing something like this for a long time.
Mr Carr described the five star project as "top notch".
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