A new controversial 6-star hotel, The Oscar, has been approved for development in the Barossa Valley by the Light Regional Council.
The hotel, which is being funded and driven by a group of South Australian business leaders, has drawn the ire of locals in the area with one community group, Taming Oscar, calling it an “urban monster.”
The 12-storey $50m luxury hotel is set to commence construction in Seppeltsfield later this year.
Barossa Regions Residents Association member Eva Tscharke said locals had criticised the hotel since plans were proposed in 2020, with some dubbing it “the slug.”
“This is not the end. What The Oscar has done is it’s the first development that’s trying to breach the walls of character preservation legislation and it’s triggered the community coming together,” Tscharke said.
“I think it’s more the beginning really. It’s not built yet, it’s far from it.”
According to The Advertiser, Tscharke said the association was in discussion with Regional Development Australia and both the Barossa and Light Regional Council about the hotel.
“We see the need for luxury tourism accommodation, I think that’s where we really need to be very clear, it’s the design that is the issue here,” Tscharke said.
“Barossa’s economy is underpinned by its landscape, it has an economic landscape in enough itself, if we diminish that by allowing buildings to detract from the landscape, we ultimately lose our economic value and we undermine it.”
Some other criticisms levelled by locals include that The Oscar is classified as a category two development, not a category three development.
Only residents who live 60m away from a category two development can complain within 14 days, meaning the locals have no appeal rights.
The association plans on raising funds in a bid to apply for a judicial review to stop construction, Tscharke told The Advertiser.
The Oscar’s project director, Toby Yap, said: “We are thrilled to finally have approval and to move into the next phases after investing almost $2 million into the project to date.”
According to a statement released on behalf of the hotel, Oscar Seppeltsfield is expected to bring an additional $90m in tourism expenditure and attract new markets to the Barossa Valley and drive growth in domestic and international visitor economy within the first five years.
The project will create an additional 363 construction jobs and 350 ongoing jobs for the region once operational
The luxury 12-story hotel will have 71 rooms, including suites and penthouses, with a private balcony for every room.