A battle is looming in South Australia’s Barossa Valley — with a group of locals saying one of its most picturesque attractions is under threat.
- The Oscar hotel would cost $50 million and feature 71 rooms, if it goes ahead
- Locals say its design does not work “cohesively” with the natural landscape
- The matter has been taken to the Environment, Resources and Development Court
The $50 million Oscar luxury hotel, set to be built near Seppeltsfield winery, was announced in April and has been earmarked to open in 2022.
The Seppeltsfield area is well known for its views, five-kilometre trail of Canary Island Date Palms and its winery, which is state heritage listed.
Intro Architecture’s proposed 12-storey development, which is currently before Light Regional Council’s assessment panel, would feature 71 rooms with private balconies, a sky bar and an infinity pool.
The winery said the hotel would create hundreds of jobs, but locals, such as Tracy Collins of the Taming Oscar committee, oppose the development.
“For us, the reflective materials are a big concern and the design is very abstract.”
Ms Collins said the Seppeltsfield community was welcoming of a development at the site, but was hoping for one that worked in with the landscape.
“It is purely the magnitude, the height, the fact that it doesn’t sit cohesively within the landscape, it isn’t sensitive to nature,” she said.
“To be honest, we don’t think it truly reflects Barossa culture.
“People come from the city with big skyscrapers and high-rises and come to the Barossa because they don’t see that.”
Neighbours take matter to ERD Court
Light Regional Council received the proposal in February and categorised it as “tourist accommodation”, meaning that only neighbouring properties were required to be consulted.
But a number of locals argue the proposal should have been placed in a different development category, which would require consultation with members of the public and those significantly affected.
On that basis, two neighbours applied to the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court for a review of the development’s categorisation.
A Light Regional Council spokesperson said consideration of the development application would be postponed until the ERD Court made a decision, but that developers could apply to have the Council continue to consider the application while the matter was in court.
The council also said the nature of the process meant it was unable to investigate alternative designs for the building and could only assess the development plans as they were submitted.
Seppeltsfield winery said it could not provide a comment to the ABC as the matter was before the court.
Intro Architecture has also been contacted for comment.