Geelong Council Approves Pokies Move for Valley Inn Hotel
The City of Greater Geelong has backed a proposal by the Valley Inn Hotel for renovations to their premises, despite strong opposition. The $3 million upgrade will be partially bankrolled by revenue from poker machines and will allow the hotel to relocated 29 machines to the premises.
The approval was given despite nine letters of support and twenty letters of objection to the proposal. Objections were received from former councillor and chairwoman of the gambling advisory committee, Jan Farrell. In addition, the community development department of the council initially objected to the hotel’s bid for additional pokies.
In March, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation approved the hotel’s bid for licenses to operate additional machines; however, without approval for the building renovations, the hotel would not have been able to relocate the machines from their Barwon Heads Hotel to the venue on Fyans Street.
Objections to the proposal cited problem gambling, inadequate parking and the impact on local residents; however the development hearing’s panel did not reject the proposal. They found that while Geelong has more gaming machines that the average in Melbourne and Victoria, their 1,395 machines still fall below the limit imposed by Government.
APD Group, owner of the Valley Inn Hotel, will use revenue from the poker machines to help fund the renovations. Plans include an upgraded sports and TAB bar, a new entertainment area and a restaurant. As part of the approval, APD Group will be required to donate $30,000 a year to community and sport groups in the Geelong area.
Peter Bettess, general manager of planning and development said that the panel’s decision is final and would not need to be passed on to the administrator-run council. Objections can be lodged within 21 days to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
March 27, 2017