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On the roof of Bayview, Port Melbourne

Two ten level developments – Bayview to the east and Bayshore to the west – anchor the corner of Bay and Rouse Sts in Port Melbourne.

Planning for the site occurred when planning controls for the Port Melbourne area were still not settled. Then Planning Minister Robert Maclellan was pursuing a high rise future for the Port Melbourne foreshore, known as Gateway to the Bay. With heritage buildings on both corners of Bay and Beach Sts, and in that first block, the first height to be achieved was a block back – on Rouse and Bay St. The mid-rise apartment buildings finally approved were designed by SJB and completed in 2003.

The site was formerly occupied by ‘The Envelope Factory’.

The Envelope Factory, now Bayview, c2000 Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society

Bayview was developed by Westpoint, a Western Australian property development company, run by Norm Carey and Richard Beck. The company collapsed in February 2006 owing about $312 million with net assets of just $21 million.

Westpoint ran a number of investment schemes where people lent money to Westpoint for a promised return of about 12%.  The money was used to finance property development schemes.  Financial planners received generous commission for recommending Westpoint as an investment.

ASIC pursued Westpoint and their auditors, KPMG, in the Federal Court. Legal proceedings only wrapped up in 2019 in one of the ‘longest running and most complex corporate scandals in Australia’, according to The Australian.

However, the design of Bayview is robust, and successive Owners Corporations have invested in improving the amenity of the apartment complex.

Bayview resident and Owners Corporation member Pete Raw, participated in a City of Port Phillip sustainability programme, Smart Solutions for Apartments. An energy audit of Bayview was undertaken as part of the programme and Pete determined to look at ways to reduce energy use in the building. He did a very thorough investigation to find the best solution for Bayview, not only on the panels themselves, but on the installation. A supportive Owners Corporation decided to proceed with Smart Consult.

Smart Consult writes best about the installation on the evening of May 3rd, 2021:

‘While the headlines are saying that Bay Street in Port Melbourne was closed for the Hollywood filming of US sinkhole TV show, word on the street is that it was actually closed due to an installation of a 99.9 kW SmartConsult rooftop solar photovoltaic system.

It’s not every day you stop a Hollywood film production but in the name of a renewable future it was worth it.’

The 222 panels occupy 506m2 (1.2 Basketball Courts). It is anticipated that the 99kW solar system will completely offset the common area energy usage. The solar system will reduce emissions and save on the operating costs of the building.

What did it take?

The initial support from the City of Port Phillip, the single minded determination of Pete Raw and the informed, proactive and supportive Owners Corporation.

And there are more, many more, positive initiatives underway at Bayview – stories for another day.

And here are the details of the photovoltaic system

Panel System Size = 99.9kW

Estimated Annual Energy Production = 110,000kWh (approx. @ 25 years)

System Investment = $100k (approx.)

Estimated Payback Period = 4-5 years

Panel Operating Life = 25 years

Smart Consult

Thanks to Pete Raw for making this project happen, and for sharing your experience.

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