Planned rope climb­ing draw­card gets tied up

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - SHANE FOWLES

ON­GO­ING un­cer­tainty about the vi­a­bil­ity of a pro­posed con­ven­tion cen­tre on Gee­long’s water­front is hold­ing up an ex­cit­ing new ven­ture.

A high ropes course that ex­tends over Co­rio Bay, sup­ported by a 100-seat cafe, has been pro­posed for Western Beach.

Pro­po­nents of the Sky Rig Ad­ven­ture Park were on the verge of ap­ply­ing for a plan­ning per­mit when they were halted by a State Gov­ern­ment ban on de­vel­op­ment in the area. The freeze was is­sued as the Gov­ern­ment worked on a mas­ter plan for the long-awaited con­ven­tion and ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre, on the ad­ja­cent Deakin Univer­sity water­front car park.

But that mas­ter plan has stalled and the cen­tre­piece project re­mains in limbo, with fears that the busi­ness case has re­vealed that a con­ven­tion cen­tre is un­vi­able on the site.

That has en­sured that Sky Rig, which has been crafted af­ter talks with the coun­cil and lo­cal tourism bod­ies, has been left hang­ing.

Gee­long coun­cil’s in­vest­ment and at­trac­tion di­rec­tor, Brett Lux­ford, said Sky Rig would set up on land at the Western Beach boat yard.

The dis­used site had been iden­ti­fied as a suit­able lo­ca­tion for a tourist ven­ture, with the coun­cil pur­su­ing a clean-up of the con­tam­i­nated land be­fore the Gov­ern­ment’s in­ter­ven­tion.

“Fol­low­ing an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est process seek­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als for Western Beach, the City en­tered into an agree­ment to progress the Sky Rig con­cept,” Mr Lux­ford said.

“How­ever, af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the State Gov­ern­ment, it was agreed to sus­pend any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the Sky Rig pro­posal un­til the busi­ness case and mas­ter plan for the pro­posed Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre are fi­nalised.”

Ocean Grove-based DE ate­lier Ar­chi­tects has crafted plans for the Sky Rig ven­ture.

“The build­ing is a 500 sqm fa­cil­ity in­cor­po­rat­ing an 11m high pub­lic view­ing tower for ob­ser­va­tion of the Sky Rig and wider Gee­long,” the com­pany says.

The pro­posal in­cludes a cafe, com­mer­cial kitchen and ar­eas to host pri­vate func­tions.

“The de­sign in­cor­po­rates an in­no­va­tive re-use of ship­ping con­tain­ers re­spond­ing to the his­tory of the site, cost and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions.”

Af­ter rul­ing out fund­ing for the con­ven­tion cen­tre in this year’s Bud­get, the Gov­ern­ment is yet to re­lease the com­pleted busi­ness case.

The planned Sky Rig

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