A PLAN to develop a $49 million golf course has again been given the green light by Yarra Ranges Council.
The council last week approved the Yering development, which has been touted as a plus for tourism in the region.
The Victoria Road development provides for a 27-hole course and a smaller nine-hole par-three course, 243 car parking spaces, a club-house and function centre, tennis courts, an indoor pool, a turf farm, caretaker's residence and the ongoing management of the existing Yering cottages.
The 240-hectare site will also have an 11-hectare wetland system and 400,000 plantings.
Ben Telley, general manager of the applicant Eastern Golf Club, said they were "extremely happy" with the outcome. "This is obviously a great outcome for the club, but it also represents a great achievement for environmental planning and management as we believe a new benchmark has been set," he said.
Although the council had approved the course before, it was knocked back by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2010.
The VCAT refusal was based on two main concerns: public safety in the event of a flood and the impact of buildings and works within a flood plain.
The latest application addressed these issues by including a raised emergency access point above flood level. The club also completed a human health and ecological risk assessment.
Councillors Jeanette McRae and Samantha Dunn voted against the development on the grounds of wanting to protect agricultural land.
But other councillors were quick to point out that the land was fairly degraded and not being used for much farming at the moment.
"It is just muddy flat land that doesn't grow," Cr Chris Templer said.
Councillors also spoke of the tourism benefits the golf club development would bring.
"This shows the rest of Melbourne there are things happening in the Yarra Valley," Cr Richard Higgins said.
Cr Tim Heenan agreed, saying the addition of 35 full-time jobs the club would provide was a great benefit for the region.
"Look at the Mornington Peninsula and the enormous array of options for golfers they have there. We don't have the sea but we have something better — the bush."
Mr Telley said that if the permit was not appealed to the VCAT again, work on the site could start around Christmas and the course would take a few years to build.