VICTOR HARBOR – Oceanic Victor will not be coming to south coast shores this school holidays.
The proposal, which includes swimming with the tuna and in-sea aquarium and underwater observatory, has been delayed by a challenge in the Environment and Resource Development (ERD) Court by the Friends of Encounter Coast.
A pilot lease for the in-sea aquarium, to be located off Granite Island, was approved by the relative state government departments in December 2015.
Oceanic Victor director Mick Dyer said he was still keen bring the facility to Victor, but awaits a decision of the ERD court. “We are in the hands of the state and we have not heard a word,” Mr Dyer said.
“Unfortunately we will not make these school holidays now, as the decision has taken too long, but we still plan to come. We have invested millions of dollars in this, so we are very determined.”
Under the umbrella of Friends of Encounter Coast, four appellants made submissions to the ERD court appeal in September, against the Oceanic Victor proposal.
It went for five days to a full bench of the ERD Court. Judge Susan Cole reserved judgement after the final submission and the Friends of Encounter Coast are waiting for the judgement. A spokesperson said they would not comment about the appeal until the decision was made.
“At that time we will issue a public statement through the Friends of the Encounter Coast once we are informed of the court’s decision. Not a whisper… no news is good news from our perspective,” the spokesperson said.
Major concerns range from the visual impact, the possible attraction of sharks, the environmental impact it will have on the sea floor and the impact it will have on sailing events.
Oceanic Victor has 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. Oceanic Victor gained approval from PIRSA once the department found the proposal would have little impact on the marine environment.
Friends of Encounter Coast will launch a campaign for a Regional Surfing Reserve on the South Coast from Parsons to Goolwa, as a major first project and on Wednesday, December 7, they will hold their inaugural annual general meeting at the Anchorage at 6.30pm. Members and new members are welcome to attend.