Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 9th 2018 Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2018 - PAGE 5
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DISCUSSIONS between Phillip Island residents
and the consultants behind a business case for a
car ferry from Cowes to Stony Point have reached
And it’s a sticky situation for the consultants,
EarthCheck, after a protest was organised over the
weekend to stop the Anderson Road boat ramp
from being turned into a car ferry terminal.
Some residents are against any terminal on Phil-
lip Island’s pristine beaches because it’s likely to
require substantial dredging and could speed up
erosion on the beach.
The protest must have caught the attention of
someone high up at the Bass Coast Shire Council
- because they sent out a press release at 1pm on
Monday saying the Anderson Road boat ramp was
not the preferred location – instead opting for the
Cowes Yacht Club.
For this to occur, the Cowes Yacht Club would
need to be relocated.
More details will be released when the shire un-
veils the draft business case next month.
But on Saturday morning, hundreds of people
gathered on a Cowes beach near the Anderson
Road boat ramp to sign a petition and tell local
councillors that the beach shouldn’t be turned into
a car ferry terminal.
The protest was organised by the ‘Save Cowes
West Beach Association,’ which doesn’t have a view
on the car ferry itself, but is against the terminal
being at the Anderson Road boat ramp.
Speaking in front of around 300 people, includ-
ing Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield and Cr Michael
Whelan, association president Russell Craig-
Brown highlighted a list of issues with the location,
including the beach being a “community asset”
and the “extremely rare” location of a north-facing
He said the terminal would be an eye-sore and
would permanently reduce access to the beach for
families, fishermen and walkers.
“It is taking the right of enjoyment to this com-
munity asset away from the community and giv-
ing it to the commercial operator of the ferry,” Mr
Craig-Brown told the crowd.
“It creates a real danger of the erosion of sand
from this beach, and all the other beaches between
here and Cowes, from the dredging work that
would be required.”
After his speech, he showed photos of a Portsea
beach before and after dredging in the Port Phillip
“That beach has disappeared – it’s a community
asset now lost to the community.
“Needless to say, the terminal would dwarf the
boat ramp, and would have a substantial negative
impact on car and boat trailer access and parking,
and traffic in all the surrounding streets.
“It would create significant noise pollution as the
diesel engine ferry travels along the beach coast
from town to the boat ramp.”
The protest highlighted a bigger issue; no-one
can agree on a place to put the terminal that is
near the main street yet not impacting on the envi-
ronment or beachgoers.
If it’s to be used by tourists, the terminal needs
to be close to the main street and if it’s to be ac-
cepted by some of the Phillip Island community, it
needs to be built in the middle of the Bass Strait
where it doesn’t impact residents at all.
EarthCheck is fast running out of time to pre-
pare a final draft business case for the car ferry. Yet
Phillip Island residents still believe many of their
concerns haven’t been addressed.
That view was reflected at an information ses-
sion last year when EarthCheck staff avoided an-
swering almost all of the community’s questions.
Mr Craig-Brown also highlighted many commu-
nication issues between locals and EarthCheck,
arguing there should’ve been a mail out with in-
formation to all property owners on Phillip Island
– or the minimum being all Cowes residents.
Mayor speaks out
The association was under the impression the
Anderson Road boat ramp was the preferred loca-
tion for the car ferry terminal.
But Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield was quick to dis-
pel that theory.
“There are three or four locations... they all have
issues,” she said. There is a very good chance we
may never have a car ferry,” she said, to cheers and
applause from the crowd.”
She said the draft business case would be re-
leased next month.
“We haven’t seen it yet. On the 21st, it will go to a
council meeting and be accepted or adopted. It is a
draft business case. That business case then goes
out to the community and you have real informa-
tion in that.”
She also tried to take the heat off herself and fel-
low councillors by telling the crowd it was the State
Government who wanted to look into the possibil-
ity of a car ferry. The $25,000 contributed by the
Bass Coast Shire Council, Cr Rothfield said, was
simply to “have a seat at the table”.
She compared it to discussions around the Won-
thaggi Desalination Plant – when council didn’t
have much input.
The association argued it had minutes from a
meeting between the Cowes Yacht Club and Earth-
Check where an official told the club the preferred
location was the Anderson Road boat ramp.
But on Monday, the council said the draft busi-
ness case would state that the preferred site is the
Cowes Yacht Club, with 10 to 14 sailings per day.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, rein-
forced that the Cowes West beach site is not the
“From recent discussions with the Phillip Island
community, I think Phillip Island residents will be
pleased to see that the area near the Yacht Club is
the preferred location for a terminal,” Cr Rothfield
said in a statement.
“It will be great for the community to have a
look through the Business Case once it has been
released, as it shows how each possible site was
The draft business case will be released on Feb-
The committee for the Save Cowes West Beach Association includes, from left, John Zourkas,
Russell Craig-Brown, Daniel Spiteri, Phil Carey, Justin Breheny, Julie Wills and Terry Heffernan.
Cowes car ferry
300 protest Anderson Road boat ramp location
Around 300 people attended a protest against the terminal being at the Anderson Road
boat ramp, at a beach on Saturday morning. mm210218
Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield, and Cr Michael
Whelan (back – right), attended the seaside pro-
test to talk to residents and ensure the correct
information was being released. mm220218
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