Entry ‘icon’ closer as bypass site identified

Hamish Heard
A site has been earmarked and design works are underway for a tourist icon to lure travellers into Geelong when the city’s bypass is complete.
Geelong Otway Tourism chief Roger Grant said an iconic, state-of-the-art visitor centre would draw in tourists and funnel them down Ballarat Road to prevent local tourism businesses losing out from the bypass.
The Independent revealed Mr Grant’s calls for a tourist drawcard and new entry to Geelong at the Ballarat Road intersection of the bypass in October. The report caused a stir among northern suburbs residents who feared the project would direct tourists away from the city’s Melbourne Road entry.
But Mr Grant said completion of the bypass would mean the city’s businesses would miss out on tourism trade altogether unless the new route’s Ballarat Road exit to Geelong was enhanced
The wheels were already in motion to develop a council-owned site at the intersection of the bypass and Ballarat Road, he said.
“We’ve had discussions with Vicroads and we’ve identified some land and we’re starting discussions with a group of architects to come up with a building that will be a design of world standards,” Mr Grant said.
“It’s going to be a building that reflects what the city is about and it’s an opportunity to present an example of world’s best practice in architecture and sustainable design.
Mr Grant said local tourism industry figures planned to meet council to discuss Geelong Otway Tourism’s proposal for the city-owned site at the intersection.
“People will find it very easy to zip around the ring road and miss Geelong altogether, so that’s why it’s vital that we have something to give them a feel for Geelong – a reason to stop – before they continue on down the coast.”