Frankston back on marina money trail

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FRANKSTON Council is about to again embark on a search for investors in the $300 million marina earmarked for development between Olivers Hill and Daveys Bay.

Impetus for reviving the search abandoned in 2010 follows advice from council’s investment attraction facilitator Jason Sharp that Tourism Victoria’s offer to help finance the re-tendering the project runs out at the end of the 2012-13 financial year.

Mr Sharp’s report on this week’s council agenda says that despite abandoning the tender process in 2010, council officers continued working to gain extra time for the marina from Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

“The Cultural Heritage Management Plan has also been completed with a preliminary Indigenous Land Use Agreement negotiated in principal,” Mr Sharp said.

Mr Sharp has been at the forefront of efforts to attract investment to Frankston and in September accompanied then mayor Cr Brian Cunial to China as part of a state government Super Trade Mission.

The trip had seen Frankston “rejuvenated” as an “investment destination” with “a number of investors” making contact to further discuss the marina.

In his report on the 26 November agenda, Mr Sharp said lack of response by potential investors saw the marina project put on ice.

He now wanted officers given the go ahead to “explore and promote the project without prejudice or commitment”.

“Mitigating the risks of the project for both council and potential developers was a key learning from the first tender process,” Mr Sharp said. “One of the outstanding risks is the land use agreement. Utilising council’s relationship with the indigenous landowners, a process has been entered into to deliver an agreement on behalf of any future developer. This process is almost complete.”

Mr Sharp, while explaining that council faced a $1.5-$2 million budget shortfall, said an extra $5000 was needed to cover the costs of finalising the Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Meanwhile, Frankston Beach Association sees the marina as an “ominous threat” to nearby beaches and a potential cause of bankruptcy of developers.

“It is difficult to understand that with so much scientific and engineering evidence to indicate such a marina will result in the total erosion and destruction of the town beach, and Davey’s Bay silting up, that Frankston Council is continuing to pursue a policy for this project to proceed,” the FBA’s spring newsletter states.

“It is difficult to understand that when council’s financial advisers state that a 15-hectare marina will not be financially viable, council should advocate building a 22-hectare marina, with no evidence to show that the larger marina will be financially viable.”

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