LEASE SIGNED AT LAST MINUTE FOR PNNPQS DEVELOPMENT

5 Nov 2014 1:00 AM - Media Release

The Victorian State Government has released the following information via the DEPI website on Wednesday 5th November 2014.

The Nepean Conservation Group provides this for your information: 

 

Point Nepean National Park

Point Nepean Quarantine Station

The Point Nepean Quarantine Station precinct, on the Mornington Peninsula, was transferred from the Commonwealth Government to the Victorian Government in 2009. Since then, the Victorian Government has undertaken a great deal of work towards securing the precinct's future.

Point Nepean National Park is a unique and significant site for Victoria. The Quarantine Station has more than 50 buildings, most of which have long been closed to the public. Many of the buildings hold heritage and cultural significance.

With private investment, the Quarantine Station buildings will be maintained, and obligations under the Victorian Heritage Act 1995 will be met, to ensure this significant site can be enjoyed for years to come. 

Point Nepean Quarantine Station - Lease Agreement

Following a rigorous competitive tender process, the Victorian Government selected the Point Nepean Leisure Group (the Tenant) as preferred proponent for the Point Nepean Quarantine Station and has now entered a 50-year lease agreement for the site.

The leased area is approximately 64 hectares and includes all of the historic buildings at the site as well as various public areas including the existing car parks, the Parade Ground, Wombat Oval and Jarman Oval.

The term of the lease is 50 years, consideration of an extension will only occur if stringent performance conditions are maintained and investment milestones are met.

Key conditions and provisions of the lease include:

  • A term of 50 years
  • To be eligible for an option of extension the Tenant must:
    • Complete Stage One works within ten years of the lease commencing; and 
    • Complete Stage Two within twenty years of the lease commencing.
  • Stage One - the Tenant must have invested $10 million to deliver Hot Springs and building re-use, a restaurant and cafe reusing existing building. This will include a $2.4 million investment in works to improve public amenity and use of the Quarantine Station.
  • If the Tenant does not carry out the Stage One works within the specified time frame, Government has a right to terminate the lease.
  • Stage Two - within twenty years the lessee must have invested at least $40 million, in capital improvements,  in the site (including the $10 million described above). This will include indoor thermal baths, health retreat, fitness centre and accommodation.
  • The Tenant is required to enter into an agreement with the University of Melbourne to facilitate the development of an education facility at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station site. Should the University withdraw another education provider approved by Government must be sought
    • The Tenant and the University have already entered into an agreement to deliver the project on site and the Victorian Government has approved $2 million in extra funding to support the delivery of the National Centre for Coast and Climate and the Coastal Discovery Centre.
  • The lease requires the Tenant to comply with all laws in relation to both the works general use of the site. No exemptions have been made.
  • The park and Quarantine Station will continue to enjoy all the protections afforded by the National Parks Act 1975 and relevant Commonwealth legislation. The proposal has not been exempted from any environmental or other legal obligations and is following due process for all approvals.
  •  Several provisions have been included in the lease that are designed to ensure that members of the public continue to enjoy the site or the visitor experience is enhanced - including requirements of the Tenant to provide building maintenance, and cleaning; and continued use of the site for public events.
  • The lease may be terminated if geothermal water testing results do not support the commercial underpinning of the proposal.

Point Leisure Group's proposal delivers on the Victorian Government's requirement for a concept that will preserve the heritage of the Quarantine Station through a sensible and sensitive tourism offering in a way that benefits the community as well as safeguarding the site's important environmental values.

Point Nepean and the community

The community will continue to have access to the Point Nepean Quarantine Station area. Upon completion of the development, some areas within the precinct are expected to be user-pays access (such as the hot springs) due to the commercial services and facilities being provided. However, the broad public spaces and carious buildings will remain open to the public.

Community events will also continue to be held at Point Nepean, and potentially there will be new events on offer.

The community was invited to view Point Leisure Group's proposal for Point Nepean's Quarantine Station and provide feedback on the proposal and vision, via open days and written submissions. As a result of the responses received, subdivision will be prohibited under the proposed planning scheme (SUZ5 rezoning arrangements).

Based on community feedback, the Government has also opted to change the proposed planning scheme amendment application to provide a 14-day review period for any future development plan submissions.

The Government has included height restrictions within the lease. There will be no buildings above the height of existing buildings on the site.

Local community and stakeholders will be kept updated on the progress of the project, as well as being informed of any opportunities to comment on development plans or plan amendments.

Preserving and protecting the National Park

The entire Quarantine Station site is, and will remain, a National Park.

The Quarantine Station buildings are within the protective bounds of all that a National Park stands for and within the limits of any relevant planning and environmental legislation.

The Tenant's proposal closely aligns with the Point Nepean National Park & Quarantine Station Management Plan and all works must adhere to strict environmental and other conditions to ensure national park values are not compromised.

At all times throughout the development and leasehold, all relevant legislation will need to be complied with. This includes but is not limited to the following State and Commonwealth legislation:

  • Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth)
    • Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
    • Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth)
    • National Parks Act 1975
    • Heritage Act 1995
    • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
    • Coastal Management Act 1995

The Tenant will be required to seek permits from Heritage Victoria for any proposed work to heritage listed buildings.

Next steps

The Victorian Government and Point Leisure Group have agreed to a lease for the management, investment, and protection of the Point Nepean Quarantine Station.

Point Leisure Group will now apply for permits to carry out testing for geothermal water on the site. This testing will be governed by a licence associated with the lease.

The first stage of works will include development of geothermal hot springs and a restaurant or cafe, as well as other public works. The lease is currently scheduled to commence from July 2017, or earlier, following satisfactory conclusion of the geothermal water testing, and it would be expected that on-ground construction would begin at that time.

Stage One works must be completed by 31 December 2026.

 

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

22 September 2014

Local groups condemn planning proposals for Point Nepean Quarantine Station

The Nepean Conservation Group and Nepean Historical Society have voiced their strong criticism of the proposed granting of a 99-year lease over the Point Nepean Quarantine Station to a Sorrento property developer.

 

Dr. Ursula de Jong, Chair of the Nepean Conservation Group, said that the Government has kept the community in the dark on critical details.

 

“What we do know, however, is that government plans effectively excise a large area (not yet determined) from Point Nepean National Park. And that their preferred developer Point Leisure Group have proposed an exclusive luxury health, wellbeing and geothermal spa retreat that ignores the values of the national park and will deny public access to many areas of the park. The community fought long and hard for an integrated national park at Point Nepean - the proposal further separates the QS from the NP.

 

“A new planning zone (Special Use Zone 5) is proposed, as well as some other changes including removal of environmental significance overlays, amendments to the park management plan, removal of third party appeal rights to VCAT. The new zone allows future sub –division. It puts the Minister for the Environment in charge of both the town planning decisions and the requirements under the National Parks Act, which as Minister he can override. He is also in charge of lease length and conditions.”

 

Doreen Parker, President of the Nepean Historical Society, said that rich and complex layers of history at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station are of national significance but are not properly planned for in the story being told by the Point Leisure Group.

 

“PLG has even airbrushed out reference to the name Quarantine Station by calling its development ‘The Point’.”

 

 The community groups consider that consultation process was too short, lacks critical information, and denies the community any future involvement in the important decisions about development at the Point Nepean Quarantine Station.

The Victorian Government’s consultation ends on 1 October 2014. After that, all decisions about development of the Point Nepean Quarantine Station will be made behind closed doors between the property developer and the Government.

One of those decisions may be to subdivide the land, an action that will be enabled under the government’s planning processes and made much easier if the property developer is granted the 99-year lease. It’s as good as selling off the Point Nepean Quarantine Station.

 

Every Victorian will be affected by this proposal for such major development in one of our NPs.  The  groups are calling on the Victorian Government to redraft the SUZ5, establish planning processes that involve the community in key decision making, provide the details necessary for the community to make an informed judgment, extend the consultation process, and then reconsider the Point Leisure Group’s proposals. They are also calling for people to submit their concerns to the Government by the 1 October 2014 deadline.