THE federal government has approved plans to expand Yaringa Boat Harbour at Somerville.
The $50 million project was subject to approval by the federal Department of Environment as it triggered a process under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The so-called “controlled action” under the Act was because the project could potentially affect wetlands of international importance, listed threatened species, and listed migratory species.
Permission was granted on 26 June after Yaringa owner Stefan Borzecki submitted his plans to the government in July 2011.
Mr Borzecki now needs approval from the state government for rezoning of land, a process that will be started by Mornington Peninsula Shire as soon as this month.
The project will see the harbour expanded from 600 to 1000 wet and dry berths for recreational boats as well as the construction of 180 holiday apartments beside a proposed new marina arm that will have a lock between the existing channel and the new section.
The expansion of the complex at the end of Lumeah Rd was first proposed in 2009 and will consist of:
n Excavation of a new 300-metre long marina arm on private land to create 180 new wet berths.
n A $1 million lock between the existing 300-metre marina arm and the new section to retain water in all tides. The lock would be on public land held under a lease.
n About 200 new dry berths on private land with some under cover in new buildings.
n 180 holiday apartments beside the new marina arm on private land.
n New buildings for the existing marine service centre, which is currently home to about 20 companies.
The existing marina has room for 600 boats, 150 in wet berths on leased public land and dry storage for 450 boats on private land.
A channel between the two marinas would be 70 metres long, seven metres wide and 2.5 metres deep. The lock would be 25 metres long.
Mr Borzecki, who grew up in Hastings and has owned the marina for 28 years, says he has spent about $1 million on studies covering Aboriginal heritage, flora and fauna, economic viability, acid sulphate soils, coastal hazards relating to predicted sea level rise, water circulation, landscape and fire risk, and an environment management plan.
Expansion will see the removal of coastal vegetation. Mr Borzecki has bought 100 hectares on the northwest corner of French Island as a “vegetation offset”.
Mr Borzecki said 870 jobs would be created during the two-year construction period and 200 jobs once completed.
“We’ll need two summers to do the excavation,” he said.
On Friday he told The News the existing marina would be renovated as part of the expansion. This would cost about $10 million.