Dear Members

Hopefully, this Newsletter finds you all in good health. 

NRA Annual General Meeting

We held our annual general meeting on Sunday 16 May at the Sorrento RSL. We would like to thank John Prentice and the RSL for the use of their venue on the day.

The following people were elected to the Committee: me, Mechelle Cheers, Jill Sands, Christine Granger, Lino Tarquinio, Joan Hoskins, Graeme Hill, Lloyd Eldred, and Michael Batchelor.

We welcome Lloyd Eldred to the Committee. In addition to the broad range of issues impacting ratepayers Lloyd has particular interest in the heritage attributes of this part of the peninsula and the planning and approval processes in place in respect of new development in Nepean Ward and their application by council.   

We were also fortunate to have both our new councillors in attendance. Councillors Sarah Race and Susan Bissinger provided us with some insights into their vision for the Nepean Ward and were actively involved in the Community Forum which followed the AGM. We are looking forward to working with them in the future.

Sorrento Foreshore Masterplan

The final Sorrento Foreshore Masterplan is available on the Shire’s website. It does not appear much different to the draft plan presented for consultation last year. It is unclear what, if anything, has changed in response to community feedback. We believe all improvements must be non-intrusive, minimalist, and consistent with the heritage value of the site. Signage must be kept to a minimum, overdevelopment of the foreshore avoided, and uncontrolled dingy storage addressed.

Some aspects of the final plan are of concern due to potential overdevelopment of what is a small area. It would be great to get your thoughts on the plan.

Draft plans for Webster’s Corner (carpark, toilets, picnic, and playground areas) and Sullivan’s Bay (carpark and picnic area) are also available for public consultation. This process will close on 2 July 2021.All these plans are available at Sorrento Foreshore | Shape our Future (

Rye Township Plan

The Council endorsed the Rye Foreshore Concept Design in May this year subject to amendments. The amendments, supported by the NRA, have addressed most of the community concerns with the final design. The Rye Foreshore Concept Design, prior to amendments, had clearly moved away from what was identified by the community as important in the 2017 consultation phase. The community was clear about wanting ease of access to parking close to the pier, beach, playground, and picnic facilities. It was also clear about retaining bay views, leading to the removal of camping in the centre of town. We are concerned that this is another example of Council not fully considering community feedback, provided during public consultation processes.

Detailed design work will now go ahead with construction work commencing in 2022.

Proposed Residential Aged Care Facility, 3233 – 3235 Point Nepean Road, Sorrento 

This proposed development is between Bowen Road and St Pauls Road. Access to this property is via a narrow service road.

The plan is for a four-storey (above basement) residential aged care facility with 84 rooms. This development will occupy the whole block with minimum setbacks.  

29 car parking spaces have been included which is not sufficient to accommodate staff let alone visitors. This will cause considerable congestion on the service road and nearby streets.

The proposed development is excessive in terms of built form, detracts from the character of the neighbourhood, fails to achieve a net community benefit, and will detrimentally impact neighbours. We believe that the proposed application should be rejected by Council.  

We have submitted an objection to this this development and urge others to do the same. We believe that Councillors have called this in, meaning that Councillors are seeking more information and will make decisions regarding this development, not Shire officers.

Police Point Park

We are concerned with the management and development of Police Point Park as a community asset. For those of you unfamiliar with the Police Point Park, it consists of 17 hectares of land located on the right-hand side of Point Nepean Road just before the entrance to Point Nepean National and the Quarantine Station and is truly a hidden gem. If you haven’t visited the Park recently, take the time to go and have a look.

In 2004 Police Point Shire Park was established through a Deed of Settlement Trust transferring ownership of this section of the land to Mornington Peninsula Shire.

The Park includes historic cottages that originally housed police officers who played a critical role in restricting access to the Quarantine Station.

Based on Shire budgets more than a million dollars has been allocated to Police Point Park since 2014/15. This money was for: the development and implementation of masterplans; conservation and recreation plans; and restoration and repairs to the cottages.

The Gatekeepers Cottage (c.1888) has been renovated to include a studio and is used for an Artists in Residence Program coordinated by the Shire’s Arts & Culture team.

Other cottages have been used for respite housing since 2015 with limited success.

Some interpretive signage about the historical significance of the park has also been installed.

We are concerned that there has been a significant financial investment in the park with little obvious benefit to the community. Developments have been piecemeal at best with the cottages still in varying states of repair. Members of the local community have been engaged in projects through implementation committees/advisory groups for many years. These groups have repeatedly requested a business plan and the establishment of robust management and accountability structures to ensure that the potential of the entire site is realised and benefits to the local community achieved. These groups continue to be frustrated by the lack of Shire action in this area. 

Sorrento Cemetery

The Sorrento Cemetery was established in 1883 and recently became affected by a Heritage Overlay under the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme. The cemetery is of local, historic, and social significance to the Shire.

It has functioned as a place of interment for the Portsea, Blairgowrie, and Sorrento communities for over 130 years. It provides a historical record of the families who have settled and died here by way of the names recorded on headstones, graves, and memorials from the first burial in 1886 to the present day. 

The burial of shipwreck victims and some notable persons adds to the historical significance. 

The cemetery has social significance as a place of reflection and commemoration for the local community who have a connection to the area. The interesting array of grave and headstone styles and materials, including some very elaborate memorials, all combine to the cemetery’s value and to the importance of a Heritage Overlay.

While the application of the Heritage Overlay was welcome, there was concern that the Overlay would require a permit application before any burial could take place, any grave could be reopened for a subsequent burial, any memorial erected, or any additional inscription added to a headstone. Families cannot wait to bury their loved ones whilst waiting for a planning permit to be granted! The overlay applies to the entire existing cemetery and not to the rest of the land which is not yet developed and covered in coastal vegetation.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and at a recent Council meeting, amendments to the Planning Scheme were adopted by Council for exemptions to the overlay such that a planning permit is not required for all burials including those of cremated remains as well as all other monumental works and general maintenance. 

Submission to Shire to include construction of footpaths in the 2021/22 Budget

Our submission to Shire to include footpaths along Hotham Road, Franklin Road and Darling Road in this year’s budget have been considered.  Both Hotham and Franklin Roads are considered inter-township links under the Principal Pedestrian Network (PPN).   A footpath along Hotham Road is ranked within the top 10% of priorities and designs are currently being developed for this path. Similarly, Franklin Road is also considered a high priority.   Regrettably, Darling Road is not identified as high priority.    Whilst the design and development for these footpaths has not been considered for the budget year 2021/22 it is pleasing to note that both Hotham and Franklin Roads are included as high priority in the PPN.  

Shire has applied to reduce the speed limit along Hotham Road to 60KPH and believes a lower speed would reduce the risk to drivers and pedestrians.  

Yours sincerely

Colin Watson


We strongly encourage you to become involved with the group in your area.

Camerons Bight

Engaging the Nepean Ward in supporting a sustainable community