Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Porcupine Village update

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The Times spoke to Porcupine Village owner Frank Hutchinson this week about the recent shutdown of works at the site.

From the start of this project, Frank and the management team were taking advice from a Town Planning consultant with over 30 years’ experience. Unfortunately, some of this advice was flawed, specifically around what could and couldn’t be done prior to permits being approved.

Frank is now working with a Melbourne-based group of town planners who have a great deal of experience in dealing with complex planning issues. He was meeting with them this week in order to work through the issues that to date have bedevilled the development at Porcupine Village.

“I’m confident that these planners will be able to guide the project through the planning process without any further problems,” Frank said. “It has been a difficult time, and there have been instances where we didn’t realise that we had overstepped the line. Ultimately, we take responsibility for that.

The most difficult part is that we had to put 13 contractors and employees off. From now on, we will be getting expert advice and making sure that everything we do is in line with council requirements.”

Frank is very supportive of his managers Debra and Doug Baird, who he said have worked hard on the project. “They’re straightforward and honest people with a high degree of integrity and they are doing an outstanding job,” he said. 

When it comes to the large white marquee, which has attracted some negative comments, Frank said that it is planned to soften the visual impact by using various methods, such as high brush fencing and natural colours.

A businessman of many years standing, Frank is involved in a family-run company in the automotive industry. “So you could say that I have business experience, but not a lot in the tourism industry,” Frank said. “But Porcupine Village is something that I’m very enthusiastic about. It will be a wonderful development and will benefit not just Maldon, but the whole Central Victorian region.”

Frank emphasised that during the process of applying for a planning permit, his door is open. “We want to work with everyone,” he said. “We want to sit down and talk to people – both groups and individuals. Let’s work together. Our planning submission is available online for anyone to see. These complex projects require sign-off from a whole range of regulatory bodies (CFA, Vicroads etc.). Most of these bodies have approved our plan, some with conditions that we need to comply with.”

Related story: Porcupine Village woes

Tarrangower Times 3 February 2023

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 3 February 2023.

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