POLL | Oceanic Victor moves one step closer

The City of Victor Harbor's Development Assessment Panel has approved the tourism operation proposed by Oceanic Victor.
The City of Victor Harbor's Development Assessment Panel has approved the tourism operation proposed by Oceanic Victor.

The tourism operation proposed by Oceanic Victor is one step closer to calling Granite Island home after it was approved by City of Victor Harbor's Development Assessment Panel (CDAP).

Oceanic Victor has lodged an application with the state government's Development Assessment Commission (DAC) to operate an in-sea aquarium close to Granite Island.

As part of the process, DAC has given the City of Victor Harbor CDAP the opportunity to submit a report on the application.

Oceanic Victor has already secured a lease for the kiosk and jetty facilities on Granite Island from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the owner of the facilities.

It is another step in the process for the development to get the go ahead after Oceanic Victor gained approval from PIRSA, once it found the proposal would have little impact on the marine environment.

At the panel's meeting on Tuesday, November 3, CDAP presiding member Gavin Lloyd-Jones said the panel's task was to give advice to DAC, which will have the final say on the development.

"We can only consider as a panel what impact the development will have in the Victor Harbor area," he said.

"It will be an added attraction to Victor Harbor, but we need to make sure public conveniences are opened up."

CDAP member Phil Smith said he had many concerns about the project.

"The impact the development will have on the penguins, sea grass and the possible attraction of sharks are concerns, but I am comforted that a level above us (PIRSA), and they are the experts, are satisfied with the development," he said.

CDAP member Judith Urquhart agreed with Mr Smith.

"The visual impact is acceptable and the in-sea aquarium will not dominate the bayside," she said.

CDAP members Carol Schofield and Kate Shierlaw did not have a problem with the project.

"One of the objectives of the Granite Island plan is to encourage tourists to the area and the PIRSA report is thorough," Ms Shierlaw said.

Ms Schofield said she has knowledge of the aquaculture act and said, "PIRSA would not approve this if there were problems".

Councillor Peter Charles said he had concerns on the development and the lack of detail given to council and CDAP.

"We do not know what is happening with the penguin centre and the shark issue is a concern to me," he said.

"I do not like fish in cages and I am unsure if the development is ecologically sustainable."

However, the panel was unanimous in advising DAC they support the development as long as the commission is satisfied there will be no detrimental impact on the marine environment in Encounter Bay and the wider environment.

It also said the commission should consider that the toilets be made available all year round and maintained at a high level, and that council should be informed on the impact the development will have on the horse drawn tram, the kiosk and potential use of the restaurant.

The CDAP panel consisted of independent members Gavin Lloyd-Jones, Kate Shierlaw, Phil Smith and Judith Urquhart; and councillors Karen Dutton, Peter Charles and Carol Schofield.

City of Victor Harbor mayor Graham Philp said council looks forward to hearing the outcome of DAC's assessment.

"It's pleasing that council's development assessment panel has utilised the opportunity to provide advice to DAC in relation to Oceanic Victor's development application," Mr Philp said.