NEWSLETTER – February, 2021

Dear Members

Happy New Year! 

Hopefully you have enjoyed/survived the very busy holiday period on the Peninsula. 

We are back in full swing after a very frustrating year. The Committee were unable to meet physically for the second half of 2020 but did keep in touch electronically. We were able to monitor issues of significant importance to us including the Continental Hotel Development, the Portsea Beach and various planning applications.

Our challenges for 2021 include inappropriate developments, protecting indigenous vegetation and ongoing traffic management issues. 

Council Elections

The NRA Committee interviewed all Nepean Ward Council applicants in 2020 and found them to be a very enthusiastic bunch.  We have congratulated all applicants on putting themselves forward. 

We have extended our congratulations to Councillors Hugh Fraser and Sarah Race on their election and look forward to working with them during the next four years.
We are hopeful that our councillors will:

actively engage with the whole Nepean Ward community to ensure community views are known and understood and decision making is informed
understand the role and responsibilities of councillors and use this to promote good governance and responsible financial management 
work collaboratively with Community Groups, other councillors, the Shire CEO and Shire staff to deliver outcomes that benefit the community
advocate for fair and appropriate distribution and use of resources.

NRA Committee

Graham Goudie has resigned from our Committee. Graham has been a valuable member of the Committee for a couple of years and has provided an important connection with the Rye Community in particular. Chris Quin has also resigned from the Committee after several years. Chris has kept us in touch with all things happening in Blairgowrie and has been a wonderful Link to Community 3942, who are continuing their great work with Richard Doery at the helm. We extend out thanks to Graham and Chris for their work on behalf of Nepean Ratepayers.

Mechelle Cheers has recently agreed to join our Committee and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge given her extensive involvement in volunteer and local community groups.  Mechelle lives in Rye and chairs the Rye Community Group Alliance and is a member of the Whitecliffs to Cameron Bight Foreshore Committee of Management and the Shire’s Disability Advisory Committee. 

Our Committee now consists of eight members: Colin Watson, Jill Sands, Christine Granger, Joan Hoskins, Lino Tarquinio, Graeme Hill, Michael Batchelor and Mechelle Cheers.

Jill Sands resides in Sorrento and is the Secretary. She is also a member of the Sorrento Coastal Advisory Group and the Portsea Golf Club.

Christine Granger resides in Sorrento and manages the NRA Website, NRA membership and provides support for our Treasurer. Graham Hill lives in Portsea and is a keen cyclist and swimmer. He is currently Chair of the Portsea Coastal Advisory Group and a member of the Portsea Golf Club. 

Joan Hoskins lives in Portsea. She is the Secretary of the Portsea Coastal Advisory Group. She is also a member of the Whitecliffs to Cameron Bight Foreshore Committee of Management and for many years managed the Sorrento Cemetery as secretary of the then Sorrento Cemetery Trust. Joan represents the NRA Committee at the monthly Coalition meetings.

Lino Tarquinio lives in Blairgowrie and is a member or the Whitecliffs to Cameron Bight Foreshore Committee of Management. He is also a member of the Point Nepean Men’s Shed and the Community 3942 Group in Blairgowrie. He has recently stepped down from the Board of the Sorrento Community Centre after 8 years of service and is one of our longest standing Members of this Association. 

Michael Batchelor has been acting as the Committee’s Treasurer for many years.Our Committee members are committed to identifying and resolving issues affecting ratepayers and residents; and protecting and enhancing the natural environment, residential amenity and recreational assets of the Ward. 

The Continental Hotel

As communicated last year, the NRA Committee is delighted that work has recommenced and that the Continental Hotel will be refurbished and returned to its former glory.

The development is substantial and includes three new buildings that will include 106 hotel rooms, restaurants, spa centre, outdoor swimming pool, two retail spaces and underground car parking.  

The Committee was concerned with some issues of the design and submitted an objection to VCAT outlining these. This was the only avenue open to the NRA to attempt to secure changes to the final design. 

Despite submitting and objection to the Revised Plans the NRA was not invited to attend the recent VCAT hearing.

We are advised that the outcome of the Hearing included:
Approval for the removal of seven car parks on Ocean Beach road
Reduction in height to level approved in original permit
Outdoor dining area on the footpath on Ocean Beach Road was approved with temporary fixtures.

These decisions resolved most of the NRA’s objections. We remain concerned regarding traffic management and pedestrian safety.  

I the meantime work on the site has continued. 

The Portsea Coastal Advisory Group has been working to reintroduce implementation of the 2010 Landscape Masterplan for Portsea Village. As council currently appear unsupportive of this plan, preliminary negotiations are underway for a substitute plan.

One section of Portsea, which was comprehensively covered by this plan and needs considerable work in terms of garden upgrades, tree planting and reconfiguring the beachside area, is Newton Reserve. The NRA will be monitoring progress and are optimistic works on this Reserve will gain council support and be implemented soon.

Loss of indigenous and significant vegetation.
The Committee has noticed and been alerted to many instances of illegal removal of indigenous vegetation and trees and vegetation plans not being adhered to for new builds and renovations. There have also been many instances of works commencing without appropriate permits.

It appears that in the absence of proper monitoring of building developments and the imposition of penalties where breaches occur, property owners and developers are encouraged to ignore the planning processes specified by Council.

This means that it’s up to residents and ratepayers to notify Council when they think approved planning applications are not being adhered to. 

NRA Website

Our website is our primary way of keeping members up to date so make sure you are a regular visitor.You can easily provide feedback, become a member, and check out some of the issues that the NRA is involved in via our website. You can comment, make suggestions, raise issues, and express opinions via the feedback page. These comments will be reviewed by the NRA Committee and we can contact you to discuss further.Our web address is https://www.nepeanratepayers.comTake a look and provide some feedback!

 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