CITY Hall has announced plans for a multi-million dollar residential development at the disused saltworks site at Moolap.
Described as a Sanctuary Lakes canal-style development, the site itself stretches for 3.5km east to west and would amount to a substantial-sized suburb.
Apart from the land parallel to Portarlington Rd, the site includes a large portion of Point Henry.
And, like Sanctuary Lakes, it could attract its own shopping centre and even feature a golf course.
Mayor John Mitchell said it was too early to say what the development might feature, with developers locked in talks with the State Government about the availability of Crown land that forms part of the site.
"There has been a fair amount of work done over a 12-month period," Cr Mitchell said. "They have been coming into the office here and spoke to (City of Greater Geelong CEO) Steve Griffin and myself, and now they are talking to the State Government.
"Some of the land is privately owned, but some of it is Crown land owned by the State Government, so there are a number of discussions around that.
"They have put up a preliminary proposal to us and it's certainly an exciting proposal that they have put, but there is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet - there are lot of issues to be ironed out.
"I don't know how far they are with the State Government, but they are negotiating their way through that."
Cr Mitchell said that when developers approached the council they were looking at the saltworks on the other side of the bay near Avalon.
"But now the saltworks site on this side of the bay has come to prominence and there has been a lot of work done by officers and the like to get it where it is at the moment," Cr Mitchell said.
"Obviously, the people from Cheetham Salt came to see us - they are in charge of the land."
Nobody at Ridley Corporation, which is Cheetham Salt's parent company, was available when contacted by the Geelong Advertiser late last week.
Cr Mitchell said that being a wetland, there would be exhaustive environmental effects studies carried out before any work started on the site.
Geelong field naturalist Trevor Pescott said yesterday he would be disappointed if the saltworks site was developed.
"It's too important as a habitat for a whole range of birds, and I would like to see it set aside as a wildlife reserve and managed as one," he said. "The Cheetham wetland at Altona is managed as a wetland."
Mr Pescott said he had been to the Moolap site quite a few times, and while there were no orange-bellied parrots in the area, there were a number of international migrating birds.
These included sandpipers, stints and curlews that would be arriving in about a month.
Mr Pescott said little terns had been known to nest in the area, which was unusual for this part of Victoria.