The future of 'The Tailings' in Harrietville


This survey is now closed. Please check back soon for results and next steps.

Contact Information

5755 0555


Update - Community Meeting Outcomes | 22 December 2022

Thank you to everyone who responded to our recent survey and to those who attended our community meeting in Harrietville in November.

Thanks also to North East Water for making available one of their staff members to attend the meeting. 

We had a fantastic turnout, received many questions and heard a range of diverse views from community members. This has helped us better understand some of the priorities, challenges and opportunities in your town.

Our key takeaways from the meeting were:

  • Before the long-term direction of The Tailings can be planned with confidence we need to establish, in collaboration with the community, whether or not the future of Harrietville will include the development of a town sewerage system. 
  • The development of a town sewerage system will potentially open up growth opportunities for Harrietville, subject to other planning considerations like bushfire risk. We heard different views from members of the community; some in favour of growing the town, and others who would prefer that the town stays the way it is. 
  • Each household within a declared sewer district and capable of being connected to a town sewerage system would be required to contribute to the costs of delivering the infrastructure. These contributions might be significant - potentially upwards of $20,000 per household - depending on the design of the system. 
  • If the development of a town sewerage system proceeds, it will not be possible for households within the declared sewer district to ‘opt out’ of contributing to the cost of the infrastructure and connecting to the system. 
  • Broad community support needs to be demonstrated before North East Water will prioritise the design and costing of a town sewerage system. 

We heard from you that you don’t currently have enough information to reach a considered decision as a community about whether a town sewerage system is right for Harrietville. We committed to help as follows:

  • Share with the community any additional information we receive from North East Water resulting from their previous studies in order for the community to better understand the technology which was considered at the time, and the proposed location for any treatment plant. 
  • Assist the community to understand the growth which might be unlocked in Harrietville through the development of a town sewerage system. 

We won’t be progressing any further consideration of developing The Tailings until the question of a town sewerage system is answered, so the community will be able to rest easy and continue to enjoy the amenity which this unique part of town offers.  

We will keep the community updated as we learn more.

Update - Survey Results | 17 November 2022

Council’s survey to investigate the community’s views on the future of The Tailings site in Harrietville attracted 200 responses and valuable feedback on how community members, business operators and landowners view the future of their town.

Community Meeting | Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Would you like to learn more about the survey results and share your views on the future of Harrietville?

Join Council and representatives from North East Water to discuss the future of your town at a community meeting later this month.

Staff from both organisations will be available to answer any questions you may have around The Tailings, the future of development and the process of investigating the installation of a town sewer system.

  • Date: Wednesday, 30 November
  • Time: 7.30pm
  • Location: Harrietville Hall

Survey results

Of 165 respondents to the question: ‘Would you like to see The Tailings developed in the future or left as it currently is’, 63.64% of respondents were supportive of some type of development, and 36.36% were not supportive.


When asked how The Tailings should be developed, 167 people responded. 28.14% supported the use of the site for blocks of land for new homes, 4.79% supported a commercial tourism development and 67.07% supported a different purpose.

Suggestions for use of the land included a housing for key workers, mixed community use, town sewer treatment system, open recreational space and a solar farm.


Responses to the question ‘What are your aspirations for the future of Harrietville?’ showed that some respondents prefer the town to stay much the same as it is now, while others would like to see a town that can support community growth over time.


Results have been edited to maintain the anonymity of respondents.

Council owns the 11.9-hectare site at 147a Great Alpine Road and is seeking the views of the Harrietville community about the best future use of the land.

During the development of the Harrietville - Our Future: Strategic Master Plan in 2016, the community identified a need for more land to be available for housing in Harrietville.

The Tailings was identified as a key site for subdivision.

An investigation into the viability of subdividing the land - particularly the management of wastewater - was completed last year. The investigation found that the site could be a viable option for subdivision.

More recently, Council has received interest from a privately-owned Victoria-based company that would like to investigate the potential to use part of the site to create a small-scale, boutique, eco-tourism development.

Council wants to know what the Harrietville community thinks.

Should The Tailings be:

  • Subdivided for more housing
  • Used for a -tourism development
  • Used for mixed activities
  • Retained as an open space
  • Put to a different use altogether


Subdivision and management of wastewater

In 2015, the Community Resilience Project undertaken in Harrietville identified residential growth as a key factor to increasing resilience.

The Project also identified the need for an increase in development opportunities, improvements in economic benefits, and the ability to attract new residents.

The Tailings was identified as a potential development site to grow the population of Harrietville and increase community resilience.

With funding secured from the Victorian Government through North East Water, an external consultant was engaged to undertake a feasibility study.

Management of wastewater was a major factor in determining viability of the subdivision. The study recommended on-site treatment systems for each individual lot.

Another factor was the high bushfire risk based on the landscape. The study found that this could be managed through standard approvals processes and fire risk management techniques conducted by the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

The study recommended that Council was able to undertake a market-led development strategy for The Tailings.

You can read a summary here.

Further technical reports can be accessed below.


Development of an eco-tourism offering

Council has received interest from a privately-owned Victorian-based company that would like to investigate the potential to use part of the site to create a small-scale, boutique, eco-tourism development.

The company's vision for The Tailings is to create "an experiential ecotourism destination encompassing 15 - 25 free-standing lodges, restaurant and cafe, regenerated landscape and integrated public realm".

Feedback we receive from the community through this initial survey will help us to establish a plan to move forward. If there is broad support demonstrated to explore commercial development of the Tailings, the next step would likely involve a public expression of interest process. However, if the overwhelming sentiment in the community is to leave the Tailings as it currently is, then we would likely not proceed further at this point.

We are not asking through this survey for the Harrietville community to vote on a specific development option for the Tailings, but rather gaining an understanding of the community's views on the future of Harrietville and any potential future development of The Tailings site.


Other alternatives

The Tailings may be used for mixed activities, incorporating housing to strengthen the resilience of the Harrietville community and tourism offerings to contribute to Harrietville’s economic diversity.

It may be retained as an open space or it may be put to a different use altogether.

Your feedback will help establish whether Council moves forward in exploring options for the development of The Tailings.

If the community is supportive, these options may include a public expression of interest process to lease the land to a commercial developer or operator, or to sell the land through a public tender process.

Council may also decide to leave The Tailings as they are for now.

How you can be involved

This survey is now closed. Please check back soon for results and next steps.


Project Category: 
Last Updated: 
Monday, 26 September, 2022
Project Status: 
Current Project

Survey results and next steps are now available.
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