Macedon Ranges Shire to cast vote on Hanging Rock tourist resort

A DECISION to build a tourist resort at Hanging Rock Reserve could be reversed by the Macedon Ranges Shire tonight, following a close vote among councillors last week.

As it stands, the council will work with the state government to find a private investor to build accommodation at the reserve. 

The Crown Land is managed by the shire, but the council states that private investment is needed to ensure a sustainable income for the reserve. It says that maintenance and operating costs of the reserve are increasing beyond revenue. 

In the 4-4 vote, with mayor Roger Jukes casting the deciding vote, councillors supported the tourism investment identified in the Hanging Rock Investment and Development plan. 

The plan includes apartments, a day spa, event and stage space, and an adventure area. The development will be focused in the East Paddock to support conservation in the reserve. 

Cr Jennifer Anderson called for the final decision to be rescinded.  

She said greater community consultation was needed to ensure sensitive environmental areas were protected. 

“Without looking at all these options, we’re potentially going down a pathway with negative impacts we have not considered,” she said. 

“It’s a high risk for us to pick one option and not consult with our community.” 

The special council meeting will be held tonight at 7pm at the Gisborne council chambers, where councillors will vote on whether to rescind the original decision.  

File picture.

File picture.

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