A PROPOSAL for a cafe and apartments at the former home of Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing has been approved by Kingston Council, subject to conditions.
The Mordialloc boat shed had a storied history, but was knocked down in 2019. It had long been owned by Jack Pompei, who was known to many as Mr Mordialloc.
The boat shed was sold in December 2017 for $2.85 million.
Kingston Council recently approved a proposal to develop the former home of the historic boat building. A permit has been conditionally issued to use the land for a food and drink premises and eleven dwellings, including the construction of a four storey building.
The plans put to council read that the food and drink premises would be located on the ground floor of the building, and accommodate for 52 patrons. The food and drink premises could only operate between 7:00am and 9:00pm.
The plans also revealed that the site would house four two-bedroom dwellings and seven three-bedroom dwellings. The building height to the lift overrun will be nearly 16 meters.
Council has given provisional support to the proposal, but amended plans must be submitted by the developer for final approval before it can proceed.
At council’s most recent meeting, Cr Tim Cochrane supported moving forward with the proposal. “While it’s not ideal and not what I’d like to see 100 per cent, the amended application is satisfactory and I believe will be a good outcome for the community. That site has been sitting and going to wreck and ruin for some time and I feel it’s time for us as a council to make a strong decision and see that area brought to life, although it might not be what some people would like to see given its history,” he said.
Former councillor Rosemary West spoke at the meeting on behalf of objectors. She said “this significant site deserves better. Let it be reimagined for maritime related use and creekside landscaping for boating, fishing, and recreation.” The developer, Alister Shenfield, rebutted by telling the meeting that “any thought about it becoming a maritime museum or boat building or anything the objectors are wanting is simply not commercially realistic.”
A previous application to use the land for a food and drink premises and thirteen dwellings, including the construction of a four storey building, was knocked back by the previous makeup of Kingston Council in 2019. “The amended plans before you have resolved the internal concerns that were had in the last application,” Mr Shenfield said.
Although they provided approval to the proposal, councillors demanded a number of amendments. One of their demands will see the new development retain elements from the old boatworks building.
The mayor Steve Staikos acknowledged that the requests could be appealed, but still proceeded to include them in the motion to approve the permit. The final motion read that the south-west elevation and north-west elevations must “incorporate brick materials (recycled red brick, handmade bricks or the like) to replicate the western side and front façade of the original building.”
Councillors also ordered that a “yellow ‘Pompei’s of Mordialloc Boatbuilding Works’ sign be restored and incorporated into the building façade”. Cr Staikos said “many of us familiar with the site remember the boat building shed run by the Pompeis for many years with its distinctive yellow sign. Unfortunately the boat building use of that shed concluded a number of years ago, and the shed was then sold by the family and acquired by the developer.”
“It’s my view and the view of many of the objectors that the shed itself still lives on in the memories of many Mordialloc residents,” he said. “Together the boat shed and the seeker represent an important part of our boat building history, particularly the Pompei family. This building considered for this site with 11 apartments and a cafe or hospitality element can, at some level of effort, be amended to reconstruct and honour that boat building heritage of Pompei’s Landing.”
In 2019, the Victorian Heritage Council’s registrations and reviews committee rejected a council-supported proposal to include Pompei’s Marine Boat Works and Landing in Mordialloc on the state’s heritage register (Troubled water for Pompei’s heritage push, The News, 29/5/2019).