Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 5, 2017 Contents PAGE 8 - THE ADVERTISER, THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2017
A CONFERENCE and events centre at
Churchill Island – to be built at a cost of up to
$10 million – is one step closer after the Phillip
Island Nature Parks Board approved concept
The development plans, which will also in-
clude a museum and new visitor centre, were
also revealed to PINP’s community consulta-
tion advisory committee at their pre-Christmas
PINP operations manager Damian Prender-
gast, who presented the plans to the board and
advisory committee, said construction would
begin at the completion of the new Penguin Pa-
“We don’t have the funding for the project and
will be putting the business case to the State
Government for their 2018 May Budget. It
would then take about 18 months for construc-
tion,” Damian said, adding that once funding is
sourced, plans will be put out to tender.
“So once the Penguin Parade is finished we’d
go on to (build) Churchill Island in 2020.
“It’s not something that will be built tomor-
row but we are moving forward with the plans.”
He said the initial concept for a conference
and event centre was detailed in the Churchill
Island Key Area Plan, released in 2014, with de-
sign plans having now been drawn by Terroir,
the same architects who have designed the new
Penguin Parade facility.
Once completed, the new facility is expected
to increase visitors to Churchill Island from
135,000 in 2012/13 to an estimated 200,000
visitors in 2022/23, including 6000 for confer-
ences and 34,000 for special events.
The Key Area Plan states the development will
bring an estimated additional $5.5 million to
the Bass Coast Shire economy and 11 direct
full-time equivalent jobs.
The construction of the function and event
centre will see the removal of the existing visitor
centre, with the new building about five times
the size of the existing facility and built around
the same location.
“As much as we can we will recycle the old
centre into the new one,” Damian added.
A new car park will be built where cars cur-
rently park for the monthly farmers’ markets.
The centre will seat 500, alongside a café,
which will seat 70 (the same seating capacity of
the current cafe).
There will be a joint kitchen, for both the
event centre and café, with a focus on cooking
Damian said Churchill Island already hosted
conferences and functions, including a recent
Amway convention as well as weddings, of up
to 4000 people.
He said the new building would have a wide
variety of commercial and community uses, not
just for corporate and conferences, but also
meetings and local events.
“At the moment it’s very restricted because we
rely on marquees or temporary structures that
are expensive, up to $20,000 a time.
“For brides and grooms that is cost prohibi-
“We have a huge demand we can’t currently
Damian confirmed the monthly farmers’ mar-
ket and local events and festivals would con-
tinue to be held on the island.
Alongside a new visitor centre, there will be
an upgraded museum examining exploration
and first settlement, first agriculture, farm life,
development of Phillip Island, coastal ecology
and Aboriginal culture.
“It will be similar to what is there now but
improved,” Damian said.
“At the moment there are only interpretative
panels. This will better interpret the history of
The Churchill Island re-development will also
see the inclusion of a themed playground, high-
lighting the area’s history.
Damian said the historic sections, including
Amess House and Roger’s Cottage, would re-
main as currently seen by visitors.
The Key Area Plan highlights concerns around
traffic management on the Phillip Island Tour-
ist Road turnoff to Churchill Island.
“The existing Phillip Island Road turnoff cre-
ates significant safety issues related to turning
opportunities, traffic speed and visibility,” it
“The overall approach to future traffic man-
agement on the Phillip Island Road will be ad-
dressed at a strategic level through the Bass
Coast Shire Integrated Transport Study.
“Subject to these findings, potential Churchill
Island road access options, technical assess-
ments and financial feasibility assessments will
be developed at a later time by VicRoads and
the Bass Coast Shire in association with the
Since the completion of the Key Area Plan,
the shire’s transport study has now finished,
and neither VicRoads nor the shire have any
plans to make changes to the Churchill Island
The only changes planned are for round-
abouts at Cape Woolamai and Back Beach
Road, as well as at Newhaven where there are
plans for a dual lane between Forrest Avenue
and Boys Home Road.
Damian said PINP has raised traffic issues
with VicRoads and were confident of the solu-
“By putting the round-about at Newhaven it
should improve traffic leaving the island and
provide better turning,” he said.
Damian said the farmers’ market already at-
tracts crowds of up to 1000 people, and roads
cope during those times.
The Key Area Plan states that temporary road
inundation north of the Churchill Island bridge
and the quality of the road surface were existing
problems to be addressed with the longer term
construction of a section of elevated concrete
causeway, and road resurfacing using a bitu-
men and gravel surface similar to the appear-
ance of the existing entry road.
The Key Area Plan was created in 2014 by
the PINP to examine uses of the island for the
next two decades, aiming to making it a major
According to the plan, any new activities must
be sensitive to the environment while infra-
structure must not dominate the setting.
“Site design must maintain the simplicity of
the overall site layout and the link to its past
role as an early settlement farm,” the plan
There should be no permanent accommo-
dation infrastructure, but the plan says there
should be new tour products, such as walking
tours, with the potential for evening activities,
as well as shopping opportunities for regional
craft and food.
The number of special events could increase.
“During peak summer seasons there are
people who can’t get into the Penguin Parade
or have previously visited the Penguin Parade.
Capturing the early evening market or provid-
ing a lead-in activity to the penguins may offer
another activity and revenue stream.”
The plan says currently Churchill Island has
a “very low brand awareness” at regional and
“The existing heritage farm identity is a nar-
row concept with limited appeal to many visi-
tor markets and the Penguin Parade brand ef-
fectively competes with other places within the
Nature Parks portfolio.
“In response, a specific Churchill Island
brand will be developed in addition to its part
within the Nature Parks brand.”
It says commercial growth will be based on
lower volume, higher spending visitor markets,
along with new functions and event markets
with a focus on increasing length of visitors’
stay and repeat visitation.
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