MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire council is refusing to respond to concerns that a private jetty being rebuilt at Sullivan Bay, Sorrento, has contravened a planning permit requirement to build “like for like”.
As reported in The News last week, (“Anger over ‘new’ pier’s beach block”) residents are upset that the large, privately-owned structure blocks public access to the beach at high tide, despite it being part of a recently upgraded historical walk from Blairgowrie to Sorrento, heavily promoted by the council’s tourism department.
Despite several requests from The News, and a request directly from Parks Victoria to clarify the issue for publication, the shire has refused to comment.
According to the shire’s planning applications form, existing privately-owned jetties can only be rebuilt “like for like”, which means they must adhere to the same specifications as the one that is being replaced.
It is also understood that private jetties on land subdivided from larger estates can no longer be built to the high tide mark.
Residents have said they believe that money is being put before the rights of residents’ to access the public beach.
Trevor Robinson, who regularly swims at the beach, said it seemed like the council was “on the run” by ignoring the apparent flouting of the regulations.
Another resident, Leanne Austin, said residents were not opposed to the jetty, but were upset that the new, higher structure was “obstructive”.
“There are older residents who have walked this beach for years and now they are blocked by this jetty,” she said.
“It’s too high to get over, and it’s too low to walk under, like we used to be able to. It’s easy to see from the two other private jetties on the beach that this one is not being rebuilt the way it was.”
Deputy mayor Bryan Payne said he had asked shire officers to investigate the issue after being contacted by residents.