Meander Valley Council vote against back-packer accommodation development

Meander Valley Council unanimously passed a motion refusing visitor accommodation to be built in Beefeater Street at Deloraine during last week’s meeting. 

The proposed development was to build visitor accommodation to house 60 beds in back-packer style accommodation.  

The site’s main purpose was to cater for seasonal workers during the summer harvest season and possibly to be used for general accommodation in the off season. 

The back-packers would be picked up by a bus at 6am to be transported to the site. Councillors were concerned about potential disturbances to the proposed development’s neighbours. 

The development proposed five prefabricated dormitory-style accommodation buildings on the site, with two separate buildings for a communal kitchen and amenities. 

The council refused the decision because the development was not consistent with the zone purposes and would be incompatible with surrounding residential uses. 

Furthermore, the council said the proposal would cause an unreasonable loss of amenity to adjoining residential uses and said the development was not sympathetic to the form of residential development. 

Councillor Rodney Synfield said he had not had one person speak to him about wanting the development to go ahead. 

More than half-a-dozen Deloraine residents raised their concerns during the meeting, they all opposed the development.

Cr Synfield said the proposed development was just in the wrong location.  

Councillor Andrew Connor agreed the development shouldn’t go ahead, said it was a way of housing them

“It lets them be involved in our community,” he said. “These people could end up living here and enhancing our community.” 

Councillor Bob Richardson said he could see the potential difficulties with the development, but complimented the land owner, Andrew Terry, for creating “significant” job opportunities in the area, but agreed with the motion. 

He said having jobs in the region for back-packers and young people was “absolutely vital”, because they often “bring fun” to an area.