The Metung Hot Springs project is set to move forward with construction expected to begin in the next couple of months following the awarding of $1.5 million to the group through the Local Economic Recovery Program.
The grant is in addition to $1.5 million the Metung Hot Springs received in November last year through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
Managing director of the Metung Hot Springs, Adrian Bromage, said he was delighted to receive the funds.
Mr Bromage said after receiving the first round of funding, he reduced the amount of funding required in his second application.
“We now have a total of $3 million and we’re just really delighted to receive the second amount of funding,” he said.
Mr Bromage said the Metung Hot Springs project was shovel ready and he anticipated that a glamping village and hot springs would be open on the main site by next summer.
The group is also in negotiations with Kings Cove Golf Club to put in a small hot spring there, making it Australia’s first hot springs golf course.
“One of the great things about having a hot spring at the golf course is the water can be re- used for irrigation on the fairways and additional water features,” Mr Bromage said.
“It will ensure a constant water supply.”
The move is part of a larger plan to develop the golf club in the future by installing extra facilities such as a gym, tennis court, bocce green and putting course.
Mr Bromage said any development of the golf club was subject to shareholder approval with an extraordinary general meeting expected to be held in the coming weeks.
However, he said Metung Hot Springs had acquired “in principle” agreement with the board that oversees the golf club with the proposal being “well received”.
About 200 shareholders are invested in the golf club after having purchased properties in the Kings Cove Estate.
Jane and Roger Arrell bought a house in the estate about seven years ago and are keen golfers.
Mrs Arrell said 75 per cent of shareholders will be required to approve the proposed hot springs development.
“We’re all for it because we can see the future. There’s a thing called progress and it will create jobs for the community,” Mrs Arrell said.
She said while she was aware of others who had mixed feelings about the development, the general attitude around the hot springs project was largely positive.
“I probably won’t be getting in the springs because I’m in my 70s, but the community needs tourism,” Mrs Arrell said.
Mr Bromage said the vision for Kings Cove was to ”activate the golf club” allowing an upscaling of food and beverages to be offered more regularly than it presently is.
He says in time about $150 million is expected to be invested developing the project.
While the Metung Hot Springs has a permit to develop about 250 lofts and hotel rooms, along with 350 marina berths, Mr Bromage said it was unlikely to be realised.
“While the planning permit allows us to do that, we will never get to that capacity, not in the short-term.”
Mr Bromage said the aim was to provide visitors with one and three bedroom spa lodgings which could be packaged in conjunction with other local accommodation providers. He said the recent grants from the State Government had given the investors, namely the Peninsula Hot Springs, the confidence to go forward with the project in Metung. Mr Bromage said the Metung Hot
Springs is unique in that it is extracting geothermal water, tempered at 45 degrees, from the core of the earth about 500 metres below the surface.
“The best time to be in the spas is in winter so it will break down the seasonality and bring people into Metung during what is usually a quiet time.”
Mr Bromage said when the Metung Hot Pools were located in Chinamans Creek, it was the only springs operating in Victoria.
This new project is hoping to draw visitors to the area who will stay in the local accommodation and eat at the local cafés, restaurants and clubs.
Peninsula Hot Springs draws 550,000 visitors per annum but Mr Bromage believes that once the Metung Hot Springs is up and operating it will become a “destination stay”, so people will make it a weekend event.
He said it was likely 30-40 staff will be required once the springs are operational.
Mr Bromage said it was anticipated that construction of both phase A (hot springs and glamping village) and phase B (hot springs at golf club) “will happen concurrently and take six months to complete both”.
Metung Hot Springs, which last week received $1.5m in Local Economic Reovery Funding, joined 10 countries from around the world in participating in a global live soak, which was streamed on social media. (PS)