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Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay road upgrade works to be funded by Bass Coast Shire Council special charge scheme

Resident engagement in special charge scheme declaration process potential upgrades for Surf Beach & Sunderland Bay.

By news@gippsland - 16th August 2023 - Back to News

Council has voted to formally start the special charge scheme process for road and drainage upgrade works at Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay estates. This process will allow council to inform residents about the costs involved if the project goes ahead, and then ascertain the level of support for the project. At the March council meeting, council adopted a preferred option for the upgrade project, and has now prepared detailed costings and a funding model for delivery.

Initial engagement of the project was undertaken from October to December 2021, community feedback is summarised in report and can be downloaded from council's website

Initial engagement of the project was undertaken from October to December 2021, community feedback is summarised in report and can be downloaded from council's website

Enlightening progress move

Mayor Cr Michael Whelan said formally starting the declaration process of the special charge scheme does not mean it will go ahead. "This process is about giving residents as much information as possible, so they can make a decision on whether they support the project. The Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay community identified a number of significant road issues, including concerns with drainage, dust generated from unsealed roads, traffic safety issues and a need for safe pedestrian access through the estate."

"The plan was developed following extensive community engagement and reflects council's Urban Road and Drainage Improvement Policy, which identified the Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay estates as the highest priority areas for possible infrastructure upgrades within the Shire," he said.

Cost-conscious design

The preferred concept design was Option 1 (with modifications), which will cost a total of $35,049,972. It is the lowest cost option, and includes road sealing, kerb and channel, underground drainage, meandering footpaths on only the main connector roads, road narrowings to slow traffic and vegetated swale drains at selected locations. If the project proceeds, council will contribute $8,383,983 over a three year construction period.

The contribution to the cost of the proposed scheme for each individual property included in the scheme is estimated to be in the order of $5,170 up to $77,857 depending on lot size, frontage and other various discounts applied. The average cost per property was $25,616 per property. The cost can be paid as a lump sum or via a payment plan. There are measures in place for those experiencing financial hardship.

Funding redevelopment together

While council is responsible for maintaining local roads, rates do not cover the majority of costs in significant redevelopments like this one. Given the level of investment required, a Special Charge Scheme can be used so the residents who will benefit from the upgrades share in the cost.

Cr Whelan said, "Phillip Island is a special place. Projects like this seek to enhance the liveability of the region we all love, as well as put a stop to issues that have concerned local residents for years, like excessive dust."

"The Special Charge Scheme model has successfully been used to upgrade the roads and drainage in other areas of Bass Coast Shire including Pioneer Bay, Cape Woolamai West, Pine Avenue and Churchill Drive in Cowes, as well as South Dudley," Cr Whelan said.

Objections determine proceeding

If more than half of property owners lodge objections to the proposed Special Charge Scheme, then, in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989, the project cannot proceed. If less than half object, the council will decide on whether to proceed with the scheme.

Letters outlining the proposed costs and further details about the next steps will be sent to all residents in the impacted area. If you would like to make a submission and/or lodge an objection, it must be received in writing by council on or before 5.00 pm on Wednesday 11 October 2023.

All submitters and/or objectors will then be advised of the time and date of a Committee of council meeting should they wish to have their submission and/or objection heard. If the Special Charge is subsequently approved, it is expected that construction will commence during 2025/2026.

Charge inspection details

The Proposed Declaration of Special Charge, (and other relevant information about the Special Charge) is also available for inspection during business hours at:

  • Civic Centre Wonthaggi, 76 McBride Avenue Wonthaggi
  • Grantville Customer Service Centre, 1504-1510 Bass Highway Grantville, - Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 1.00 pm and 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm
  • Cowes Customer Service Centre, 91-97 Thompson Avenue - Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Details for how to lodge a submission or objection can be found at Surf Beach Sunderland Bay page. For more information contact

Pictures from Bass Coast Shire Council website.


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