A $100 million country club-style retirement village and housing development has failed to win the backing of Warrnambool councillors over concerns about the proposed golf course.
Despite an officer recommendation to approve stage one of the development while they awaited a report on the golf course, the motion was lost in a four-three vote.
The 24-hectare proposal from Country Club Living, a subsidiary of the Ballarat-based Gull Group, includes 52 residential lots and a retirement village with 192 dwellings and a golf course open space.
Cr Ben Blain said while more housing was needed he had "some really big concerns".
"The idea of using public open space for a private golf course goes against my feeling of what public open space is," he said.
"It's important that the public can actually enjoy all of our open space. If it's a private golf course the public aren't going to have access.
"Also, being in a flood way, any works that are going to be done there are going to impede the flow.
"I would say by endorsing the development as it sits at the moment, even though there is a report coming back to council, the toothpaste is already out of the tube.
"I'd find it hard for us to go back on that after we've endorsed this plan."
Cr Blain said he was also concerned that if the Bromfield Street bridge ever did go ahead, the proposed road through the development would need to be upgraded - something he didn't think ratepayers should have to pay for.
He said an extension of Bromfield Street over the river would be a major thoroughfare to take pressure off Mortlake Road, and was something that should be done "correctly" from the start.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said she had no worries about the retirement village but she had "grave concerns" about the public open space.
"I don't know how a private golf course would run on public open space," she said.
"I also have an issue with the Wollaston Road itself."
Cr Jellie said the council was looking to get a major restructure of Wollaston Road, something that was needed now.
"I know we are advocating for that into the future and hopefully that will be fixed because that area is such a busy area," she said.
Cr Jellie said there were so many blocks of land available in the area as well as a school, and another school in the planning for the area.
Cr Angie Paspaliaris said she had a major concern with the golf course being private and being provided on what should be genuinely open space.
"It is inconsistent with the anticipated use of the site within the North of the Merri Structure Plan," she said.
The Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority had held back in not approving the proposal, she said.
Cr Otha Akoch said the development plan was great for the city and would solve a lot of accommodation issues, but other issues needed further discussion.
Cr Debbie Arnott said she was caught in a quandary because the city did need the housing stock and a retirement village.
"But for sure, that supposed golf course on public land and the flood plain is a concern," she said.
Cr Arnott said she was prepared to support the motion which also allowed for further planning and agreement.
Cr Richard Ziegeler said while the development was needed he had reservations with regard to the flood plain corridor and about it being closed off.
Councillors Arnott, Taylor and Akoch voted in favour of the motion.
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