Future plan has no port for a sub

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PLANS to build a maritime centre at Hastings centred on the Otama submarine are not included in draft plans for the foreshore because they require state and federal government approvals.

The draft Hastings Foreshore Precinct Plan – designed to “establish a consistent identity” for the Hastings foreshore from Hodgins Rd in the north to Reid Pde in the south – is now on public exhibition and open for public comment.

Investigations conducted into forming the draft plan included consultations with 21 groups, organisations and government departments, but not the proponents of the maritime centre, the Western Port Oberon Association.

The association’s name derives from the Oberon class submarine, the Otama, which has been lying at anchor near Crib Point for well over a decade.

The original plan was for the submarine to be brought ashore at Hastings, but lack of government backing led to the association now wanting to locate the maritime centre on the outer wall of the Western Port Marina.

The shire’s property and strategy manager Yasmin Woods said the maritime centre project was not included in the draft foreshore strategy because it was a “major undertaking” that required state or federal government approval.

She said members of the Oberon association had “put their case” to council officers at a public drop in session on 1 June.

“The association expressed a strong interest in establishing a marine centre next to the marina breakwater, and the project team has taken into account the views that have been put forward,” Ms Woods said.

“This is a major undertaking and given the current status and extent of further work required has not been included as a recommended measure within the document.

“Council is only the committee of management, a proposal of this nature would require state or federal government approval.”

The association runs the Victorian Maritime Centre at Crib Point and wants to bring the Otama and the former Port Phillip Sea Pilots’ tender and training vessel the M V Wyuna alongside the marina’s breakwater as a major tourist attraction.

The association’s website says a “permanent site [for the Otama] has been announced on the outer seawall of the Hastings Marina”.

The website also quotes a 12-year-old report as estimating the relocated maritime centre would attract 50,000 visitors a year, employ “around 40 people” and have annual revenue of about $4.5 million.

A public meeting will be held to discuss the plan during its four-week exhibition.

First published in the Western Port News – 29 August 2017

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