Hanging Rock finances were never the problem.
In May 2010, the Macedon Ranges Visitor Accommodation Opportunities Study was published. It concluded with a list of accommodation opportunities for the shire which included 'a large internationally branded resort or conference facility in close proximity to Hanging Rock or Mount Macedon. There are no large internationally branded resorts which cater to more than 200 guests in the Macedon Ranges in 4.5 star accommodation or higher. Rural settings in close proximity to Mount Macedon and Hanging Rock provide a unique setting for international and interstate visitors. The facility may incorporate a range of recreational activities including geothermal spa'.
On August 28, 2013, more than three years later, council voted to pursue a development that includes an events and function centre, accommodation of 100 rooms, day spa, conference centre and restaurant, day spa and outdoor adventure facility.
Do these two development options look similar? Now we know why.
Recently, after three months' pursuit, the council provided (under FOI) the briefing document given to consultants in September 2011 which had the stated aim to 'develop in consultation with the relevant authorities, council and the local community ... a comprehensive development and tourism strategy that will increase tourism visitation and yield for the region'.
Hanging Rock Reserve may get some additional income, but this would be incidental to the drive to increase tourism for the region.
This project is all about building a resort to promote the region's tourism, but council has tried to justify this development on the
fallacious grounds that Hanging Rock Reserve is a financial burden.