Ferry ‘link’ in Sydney tourism trip

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CONSULTANTS have drawn up an $80.3 million plan for a Stony Point to Phillip Island car ferry service.

The business case prepared for the state government and Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast councils predicts the ferry would inject an extra $93.3m into the two municipalities over 30 years.

The business case also envisages 278 jobs being created “for the first year of operation”.

The shire’s economic development and tourism manager Tania Treasure sees the car ferry as “a strategic contribution to the current tourism offering” that would “provide the missing link for a world class touring route linking the Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island and Gippsland through to Sydney”.

In a report to the shire’s 27 February meeting Ms Treasure outlined a draft business case “developed based on community feedback and technical investigations”.

The ferry used in developing the case would be able to carry up to 300 passengers, 30 vehicles and two buses or heavy vehicles and depart Stony Point five times a day (which could increase to seven if required).

The business case recommends building ferry terminals at Stony and Cowes on Phillip Island (west of Mussel Rocks) as being the most favourable to the business operator.

There would be no terminal on French Island, although the ferry would make a stop there.

“The project is consistent with the shire’s 2016-2019 economic development strategy and the Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board’s 2014 destination management plan,” Mornington Peninsula mayor Cr Bryan Payne said.

“We hope residents will embrace this opportunity to make decisions and discuss the priorities for the future of the peninsula.”

The draft business case now on public exhibition has been prepared by a consortium led by Earth Check and AECOM with $25,000 each being contributed by Bass Coast and Mornington Peninsula councils and $200,000 from the state government “to reinvigorate the Stony Point to Phillip Island Car Ferry projecî.

The draft business case will be presented at the shire’s 24 April meeting for councillors to consider endorsing it for delivery to the state government for further evaluation.

The draft business case can be viewed at mornpen.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay or hard copies can be seen at any of the shire offices, customer service centres and visitor information centres. Comments must be lodged by 5pm 6 April.

A drop-in session to discuss the ferry project will be held 2pm-8pm Tuesday 20 March at Crib Point Community Hall, 7 Park Road, Crib Point.

First published in the Western Port News – 13 March 2018

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