Fingers crossed this one gets the green light!
In recent years, the Bellarine Peninsula has truly made its mark in the state, earning a reputation for its exceptional culinary scene, from local wines, high-class restaurants and cafes to rival Melbourne’s CBD. But chocolate? Not so much.
That could all change very soon, with a proposed new chocolaterie slated for Portarlington, which will no doubt provide locals and tourists alike the best chocolate you can buy for any special occasion or to treat yourself.
Keep up with the latest food and booze news across the region here.
Documents lodged with the City of Greater Geelong back in August show plans from developers, Bellarine Chocolate Co, to build a new chocolaterie with a restaurant, animal stables, berry farm and accommodation (12 farm stay cabins), along with 100 carparks, on a property zoned for farmland just outside the Portarlington boundary, on Point Richards Rd.
“The building will serve for multiple purposes which include the manufacturing of chocolate, a retail sale component from the manufacturing of the chocolate on site, and a restaurant to further showcase the chocolate manufactured on the property,” planning documents stated.
“It is proposed that the Chocolaterie operate seven days per week from 10am until 6pm.”
As part of it, Bellarine Chocolate Co plan to repurpose the dairy and rebuild it into stables with some partial demolition and infill work to house animals for a children’s farm. How bloody good is that?!
An economic assessment predicts the project would provide $55.9 million worth of economic activity and 177 full-time jobs during construction, then 8.6 million and 33 jobs each year once operational. Planners argue that the agri-tourism use is inline with other uses and policies promoting similar development near Bellarine towns.
“The proposal includes the repurposing of the existing delipidated dairy building through the carrying out of refurbishment which will greatly enhance the significance of the site in comparison to existing conditions,” planning documents stated.
“The proposed works have been carefully designed in regard to character, appearance and significance of the heritage building and proposed additional buildings to the site.
“Although the proposed chocolaterie, accommodation buildings and greenhouse will bring upon a major change to the site, it is not considered a change that will result in inappropriate or unacceptable heritage impacts.
“Overall, the proposal achieves a considered and balanced outcome with regard to the former Lincoln’s farmhouse.”
While the multi-million dollar choccie destination has been supported by multiple Portarlington business leaders, as reported by the Geelong Addy, the City of Greater Geelong revealed it had received a petition and 64 objections to the project, citing issues regarding the the size of the project, its location, heritage factors and associated traffic.
Thankfully, the council also received 50 positive submissions for the project, with support for the increase in family-friendly attractions to the Peninsula.