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Herewith is our latest report for your interest.

69 McLachlan Street – At the April Council meeting, Councillors considered the Expression of Interest (EOI) that we submitted for ownership of the old kindergarten site. It was a unanimous decision to accept our submission, that the new owner will be the Apollo Bay Community Charitable Trust to be established for this purpose, according to the Trust Deed that was submitted, with a couple of extra conditions that address if the Trust was to be wound up for any reason in the future. Councillors authorised the CEO to enter into a Contract of Sale with the newly formed Trust and following the settlement, noted the property will be removed from the Council’s asset register.This is a great outcome for the community and the next steps are negotiating the settlement and a management contract with Great Ocean Road Health.We look forward to planning a community celebration when 69 McLachlan Street is once again owned by the community!

Website – Currently several members of the committee are being trained so the site will be updated in the next weeks to also include links to GORCAPA and other relevant sites for current issues.

GORCAPA – we last met in March prior to their Coastal Projects Open Day held at the Fish Co-op, which was well-attended.

Before & After school childcare & holiday programs have been raised as a much-needed service that is not currently available to our community. To that end, we have initiated talks with possible providers and stakeholders. Early days but the discussion has begun.

BSF Proposal – As agreed a letter outlining the survey results and the concerns raised was emailed to all Councillors, CEO, Lisa Mills, Cath Olive, Jodie Sizer at GORCAPA, Richard Riordan, Dan Tehan & Melissa Horne and forwarded to BSF.Frank Castles responded, as per his letter in the Apollo Bay News 25 April explaining Stage 1 to be only 22 shipments per year, half the trucks will go west & 50% of the 4 hours (max) the ship is at the harbour will be after hours. Please let us know if you would like Frank’s email forwarded to you, he is happy for it to be shared with our members,

Interruption to Power Apollo Bay – ABCV secretary, Graham Hill, joined SOS reps at a Powercor workshop via zoom re Resilience of supply, stressing the importance of the connectivity of the two independent feeders into AB. A 5-year plan should be issued soon by Powercor.

Meetings attended recently with newly-formed Kennett River Community Action Group and also Skenes Creek Advancement Association AGM sharing information.

Members Skills We will be emailing a short questionnaire regarding skills you can offer with the view to seeking your help in relevant areas as they arise.

AGM We are starting plans to hold our Annual General Meeting in August.

New Memberships Thank you to all those who have submitted membership applications. Currently, we have close to 330 members and growing.

69 McLachlan St Update - The Tiny Towns Fund application has been submitted to Regional Development Victoria for a $50,000 grant for minor works to the building to facilitate its use by the community. We will know the outcome in May and are feeling hopeful. Council is now inviting Expressions of Interest (EOI) from entities that wish to take ownership of the property to ensure its future and ongoing community use. As you know, ABCV will be making a submission on your behalf. Originally it was intended to apply on behalf of the community for a Trust to be created as the owner and an incorporated association to be formed to manage it.We are thrilled that Great Ocean Road Health (GORH) has proposed to be the Manager of the property which saves the formation of another incorporated body and removes the problem of finding new people to be on yet another committee. GORH will look after bookings at no charge for community use; maintenance; cleaning; will have better access to grants to build a new facility in time; they have DGR status, so no rates/taxes will apply, etc. They will ensure it is accessible to the community and community groups, similar to Marrar Woorn Having liaised with various stakeholder groups and the GORH Board, the ABCV committee is now seeking the community’s support to submit an EOI to the Council, on the community’s behalf, suggesting that the ownership of the property be transferred to a Charitable Trust, of 5 Trustees, to protect the property from being sold and to ensure its ongoing community use. The Trust will then hold a Management Contract with GORH, who will take charge of the facility’s operation. This proposal must be submitted to Council by the 22nd of March. Please let us know your thoughts as we are most excited about this structure, having given it a lot of thought, having received legal advice and feel confident that it will achieve the best outcomes for the community now and into the future.


Meetings with Colac Otway Shire - The first meeting for this year between ABCV and the Shire is now scheduled for mid- March and dates for a further 3 meetings in June, September and December have been confirmed.

Meetings with GORCAPA Similarly, ABCV will meet with GORCAPA in March as the first for the year and will schedule dates for the remainder of 2024.


Bass Strait Freight (BSF) Information Session an initiative of BSF was held on Monday to provide information about their proposal to truck up to 25,000 head of cattle per year through Apollo Bay harbour from King Island. Briefly, the intention is to bring a shipload of 450 head of cattle to be loaded into 10 semi-trailers to be transported to Colac, at least 43 times per year. BSF provided assurances that smell, and effluent will not be problematic. Meeting attendees voiced concerns regarding traffic management, noise in residential streets, impact on roads, the fishing industry and tourism. Information packs were provided regarding the proposal which currently cannot proceed as Colac Otway Shire has not granted permission for BSF’s vessel to enter the harbour. There is too much detail to provide here but the following documents are available below

BSF Information Pack

BSF information pack 29 2 24
Download PPTX • 8.23MB

BSF Draft Environmental Management Plan

BSF Environmental Management Plan Apollo Bay_2 revised (1)
Download PDF • 1.44MB

Draft Transport Management Plan

BSF Transport Management Plan Apollo Bay January 2024[5666]
Download PDF • 1.16MB

Please email us at any time with any general concerns, queries, or comments to or via our facebook page or our website 

Jane Gross


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CELEBRATION: Apollo Bay’s Sue Hill, Graham Hill, Bill Gross, Jane Gross and Fran Roberts couldn’t contain their excitement when they heard that the Colac Otway Shire Council would gift the town’s old kinder site back to the community, cheering and clapping as they left the meeting.

by Naomi Newcombe December 15, 2023

Apollo Bay leaders say their efforts to keep the old kinder site in the hands of the community are historic after winning the fight for 69 McLachlan Street.

Colac Otway Shire councillors voted five to two in favour of gifting 69 McLachlan Street, Apollo Bay, back to the community rather than proceeding with the intended sale.

The council previously granted the Bay community an extra month to submit ideas for what the former kindergarten could be used for if the property was not sold as intended by the council.

Council’s intention to sell the property was to recoup the $348,000 it contributed towards the new Apollo Bay Early Years Hub.

Councillors confirmed that by gifting the property to the community this would remove any responsibility of the council to provide financial contribution beyond the transfer of the property.

“This takes away any cash for achieving a childcare outcome, takes away any money to be available in the future for any maintenance, repair or redevelopment of this particular site,” Cr Chris Potter, who moved the motion, said.

Apollo Bay’s Sue Hill, Graham Hill, Bill Gross, Jane Gross and Fran Roberts erupted into cheers and applause at the meeting when they learnt that the former kindergarten would be returned to the community.

Cr Potter said gifting the property to the Bay community addressed the needs identified by the community now.

“This doesn’t recover the $348,000 that council did spend in the first place in relation to childcare,” he said.

“I believe in the returning of the property to the community. It allows the community the ability to address their needs, it gives them ownership and self determination as to the community and it removes the council any current or future liabilities in relation to the property.”

Cr Max Arnott said the council should harness the amount of community momentum and goodwill for the property.

“If a block came up in Apollo Bay and the community needed a strategically placed block in the middle of the town to consider its future use and the cost of that to council was $348,000, when the real cost of land around there might be seven or eight hundred grand, I’d jump at it,” Cr Arnott said.

“But let’s not pretend it’s a good building, it’s not. It’s just a block of land.”

Cr Tosh-Jake Finnigan said they saw a sensible outcome in handing over the property for community use, “provided that we do not put a dollar more into the site”.

Cr Stephen Hart said the Apollo Bay community had demonstrated an ability to manage projects in the past such as the Bay’s pool.

Cr Graham Costin said gifting the property back to the community would help achieve good outcomes for the community, not just for current generations but into the future as well.

“The Apollo Bay community has demonstrated many times that it is capable, motivated, resourceful and responsible community that should be able to realise the full potential of this property if we gift it,” he said.

Cr Kate Hanson, who voted against gifting the property to the community, alongside Mayor Marg White, said the decision had not gone through the budget process or gone out for public consultation.

“I think this also just goes against the goodwill that was there around council and council officers working with the community and advocating seven or eight years ago around getting what is the best outcome which is the new kindergarten and the maternal and child services down at Apollo Bay,” she said.

“Part of that deal was that we would make this contribution and that would come out of the sale of the kindergarten.

“It’s really not particularly transparent to the community because people are only going to find out about that this has happened after the fact.”

Apollo Bay Community Voice president Jane Gross told council during question time that if the council gifted the property to the community, a charitable trust would be set up within 90 days with a board of trustees to oversee the property.

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