News from the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee
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(L-R) GORCC Chairman John Carlile  Executive General Manager RACV Club and Resorts Sue Blake, RACV Director John Slattery, RACV Torquay Resort Manager Dean Newell, Torquay Golf Club President Greg Libbis, GORCC CEO Richard Davies. Photo: Ferne Millen.
 

Iconic lookout officially opened


The new Rocky Point Lookout has been officially opened in Jan Juc, marking the completion of a $200,000 project funded by the RACV in conjunction with the Torquay Golf Club. 

The lookout boasts breathtaking views over some of the region’s most iconic surf breaks and offers an in-depth visitor experience. 

The facility, which is located on the scenic Surf Coast Walk, replaces an ageing structure that had reached the end of its workable service life. 

The structure has been shaped to reflect the waves below and offers improved access for people of limited mobility

The facility has been designed for optimal viewing, consisting of two viewing platforms; one overlooking Torquay Point and the Surf Beach and the other offering views along the coast towards Bells Beach.

Read the full media release here.  

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale, Green Army participants Caitlin Ball, Nathan Forester and Michael Garforth with CVA Green Army Supervisor Jane Shearer (in orange) in Anglesea.
 

Green crew's achievements celebrated


An environmental army has descended on the local coast as part of the Federal Government’s Green Army programme – an initiative which has seen more than 330 conservation projects rolled out across Australia to date.
 
Green Army Service Provider Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and project host the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) are working with young Green Army participants to protect and enhance coastal environments.
 
GORCC held a celebratory forum in August to celebrate the contributions made by participants, who have been working hard on a range of conservation projects and tasks including fencing, weed eradication, revegetation and mulching.
 
The day offered learning and development opportunities for the group and featured guest speakers and in-field sessions from a diverse range of professionals working within environmental or conservation industries.

Read the full story over on our blog. Or, to get involved, find out more about joining the Green Army.
GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald with Luke Hynes of Beacon Ecological.

Conservation plan released 


GORCC’s 2015-2020 Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan (NVWAP) has been released.

GORCC engaged locally based consultant Beacon Ecological to lead the revision of original 2009 NVWAP.  The updated 2015 NVWAP will guide GORCC’s on-ground conservation work over the next five years and aims to protect and enhance ecological values along the 37km of coast under GORCC’s care.

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald  said the updated plan sees a continued focus on the eradication of weeds which are identified as the key threat to coastal biodiversity.

“Weeds have been identified as the number one threat to GORCC coast management.

“It is a widespread issue which is difficult to combat without a sustained and coordinated effort,” she said.

The revision and development process included consultation with local environmental volunteer groups, land managers and other key stakeholders.

Ms. MacDonald said GORCC and environmental volunteers had made significant progress in combatting invasive weeds along the Surf Coast, but that weed eradication remained a big challenge.

“Invasive species can have devastating impacts on the biodiversity on GORCC managed land, which is why it is important to develop and implement an effective action plan for future management,” she said.

The plan can be viewed here. To learn more about environmental volunteering on the coast, click here.

Sue Guinness (Regional Coordinator, Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast) and Georgie Beale (GORCC Conservation Supervisor) with a ‘hoodie’ shelter for protecting Hoodie chicks and parents.

Volunteers gear up for Hoodie arrivals


Volunteers prepped for Hoodie arrivals

As the first Hooded Plover nest of the season is spotted at Pt Roadknight, volunteers are gearing up for another busy Hooded Plover breeding season.

Volunteer group Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast (FHPSC) will be working around the clock to protect nests and chicks again this year, monitoring nesting sites during breeding season.

FHPSC Regional Coordinator Sue Guinness said volunteer wardens would be working to educate beach users about the vulnerability and breeding habits of the ‘hoodies’ to improve the awareness in the community.

“We hope the community supports our efforts to help the chicks survive on the coast this breeding season.  It would be fantastic to see humans, dogs and Hooded Plovers all using the same beach and coexisting together, and to do that we need to be aware of the risks we pose to these vulnerable birds.

Ms. Guinness said Hooded Plovers nest in high traffic areas during the busiest time of the year, making it difficult for chicks to survive without community effort.  “We try to engage with the community near breeding sites when we are out monitoring to generate interest about the plight of our plovers,” she said.

During breeding season land managers such as the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee install signs to alert beachgoers to breeding zones, with regular breeding sites at Point Roadknight, Point Impossible and Moggs Creek.

To get involved in ‘hoodie’ protection and become a volunteer, contact Birdlife Australia on hoodedplover@birdlife.org.au or visit www.birdlife.org.au.For more information on Hooded Plovers on the Surf Coast, visit www.savethehoodie.com.au.
 
 

The Surf Coast Nature Search can be viewed on all platforms, including your mobile phone.

Online nature search tool launched 


An an interactive, online search tool for identifying weeds and indigenous plants in our region, has been launched.

The Surf Coast Nature Search, which has been developed by local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA),  is a detailed database of hundreds of indigenous plants and environmental weeds on the coast between Point Impossible and Bells Beach.

The tool is perfect for identifying weeds hiding in your garden and finding indigenous alternatives. 

Users are able to search based on a range of criteria including plant type, flower colour, size, leaf shape and more.

To date, JJCA volunteers have added 181 plant species to database, which is expected to grow as species are added and the tool extends to include fauna and cover more areas of the Surf Coast.

Visit the Suf Coast Nature Search at  www.scnaturesearch.com.au.
 

The Point Grey Precinct in Lorne. Photo: Michael Lucas.

Pt Grey Precinct Plan update 


A final version of the Point Grey Precinct Plan was recently submitted to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) for Coastal Management Act Consent prior to its public release.

Other updates on the current status of the planning process include:
  • The Committee has approved GORCC's 15/16 budget which includes $45,000 towards the preparation of a business case for the plan.  GORCC allocating funding to this step in the process is important, as it will support our efforts to secure third party grant funding for the business case preparation stage. 
  • Additionally, the Committee has also committed another $450,000 to the eventual implementation of the Point Grey Precinct Plan in this year’s budget, meaning GORCC has a total of up to $1.5million set aside for this future stage (these funds can also be allocated by the committee towards the initial design development works).
  • GORCC is currently working with the State Government to prepare an application for further business case funding to be added to our contribution.    Preparation of a business case is critical, as it is required prior to the detailed design stage and essential for seeking implementation funding.
For more information and to view the next steps in the project, view the latest project bulletin.
Sign up to receive project updates here.

The 'Arch' precinct on the Great Ocean Road.

EOIs invited for arch plan CRG


GORCC is preparing for the development of a master plan for the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch precinct.  

Following recent community feedback received during consultation on the Draft Fairhaven to Eastern View Master Plan in early 2015, the Committee determined that a separate master plan for the Arch was required to further explore issues affecting the area. 

The master planning process for the arch will include comprehensive consultation, and a range of opportunities will be available to stakeholders, including the wider community, to be involved in the process.  This will include establishing two representative groups – a Community Reference Group (CRG) and Agency Working Group (AWG). 

GORCC is now inviting expressions of interest for from community groups or individuals who would like to be a representative on the CRG. 

For more information and to apply, you can view the CRG Terms of Reference and access the Expression of Interest form here.

The new amenities block at Whites Beach, Torquay.

Coastal amenities ready for Summer


Works are complete on the new amenities block at Whites Beach in and the Jan Juc Surf Beach amenities block. 

Both buildings are brand new and have been sensitively designed to integrate with the foreshore and provide user-friendly facilities. 

The facilities, which are both located in popular, heavy-use areas, are now open and ready for peak season. 

The newly upgraded Elephant Walk Car Park.

Upgraded Elephant Walk precinct open 


The new and improved Elephant Walk car park and playground are now open. 

The $225,000 project has seen a range of upgrades to the area, including improvements to pedestrian safety, an increase in grassy open space, protection of existing trees, an increase in indigenous vegetation and the provision of disabled parking.

A new toilet block for the precinct was also recently completed.  

More information on the project is available here.

Queens Park Caravan Park, Lorne (view from the historic Spotters Hut).

Queens Park CP consultation report


A consultation report has been published outlining feedback received in a revised draft of the Queens Park Caravan Park Master Plan.
 
All submissions have been considered by the GORC Committee, and revisions are currently being made as part of the development of a final plan.  

Once the final plan is developed and approved by the Committee, it will be submitted to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for Coastal Management Act consent, prior to its public release.

Fore more information on this project, click here

Torquay College P-12 College students with GORCC Education Coordinator Pete Crowcroft.  Photo: David Pace. 

Torquay kids on the coast


Torquay College P-6 students helped GORCC and the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre (MFDC) recently to conduct important rehabilitation works at Fisherman’s Beach as part of MFDC Week.

The annual coastal re-vegetation program has been run by the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre since 1986 and aims to revegetate coastal areas with indigenous plants and educate local students.

Each year, GORCC, the MFDC and Torquay College team up to make a difference to coastal environments.

GORCC offers environmental activities free to schools and groups.  Click here for more information. 

View a galley from the day here.

The Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park.

Park upgrade works


Three cabins in the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park are undergoing a major refurbishment.  The new 'Park View Cabins'  are located in the Kia Ora Park and will be ready for guests by peak season.

Meanwhile, block 5 in the Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park is undergoing a major refurbishment with works well underway to upgrade the facility.
 
The works will be finished before peak season and the block will be open in time for the influx of Summer campers. 
The new stairway at Fairhaven.

Fairhaven stairway installed

A new stairway has been constructed at the Fairhaven beach.

The stairs, which are made from recycled materials, have been built to withstand heavy traffic and coastal weather condition to ensure maximum longevity.  

The new timber shade structure under construction.

Shade structure for Fishos deck


GORCC is making improvements to the deck at the Fishermans Beach Precinct to increase the facility's usability.  

These upgrades include the installation of a timber shade structure and some seating (in the form of a raised platform).  

The intention of the works is to encourage increased use of this area by enhancing passive recreation opportunities.  The works being undertaken have been planned for two years and have received Coastal Management Act Consent.  

The improvements are separate to the current proposal for the trial of a pop up outlet on the deck which is currently being put forward by Bomboras and is being considered by the Surf Coast Shire as part of the standard planning approval process. 

Torquay Surf Beach Car Park - one of the busy locations considered in the strategy's development.

User transport plan released


Following several phases of development and consultation, GORCC ‘s Coastal User Transport Strategy has been finalised and released. 

The strategy was prepared for GORCC by traffic engineering consultants GHD and will guide GORCC's management of issues around how people get to the coast.  

These issues were identified as part of the process to prepare GORCC's Coastal Management Plan (CMP). In response, an action to develop a transport strategy for the coast was identified in the CMP.

The strategy is both important and timely given the predicted increased demand on coastal infrastructure as population on and visitation to the coast continue to increase.

Learn more about the project and view the final strategy here:

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator and Education Coordinator Pete Crowcroft with a Seal the Loop bin.

Fishing waste threat

 
An increase in fishing waste left illegally on Surf Coast beaches is impacting the environment and the community with one report of a dog swallowing a hook at Anglesea recently.
 
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) has noted an increase in hooks, plastic bags, fishing line and other fishing-related waste, particularly in Jan Juc and Anglesea.
 
Fishing waste not only impacts the coastal environment and marine animals, it is also harmful to beach users and animals.
 
While the dog affected by the hook has been given the all clear, the incident serves as a timely reminder for all beach users to discard of waste properly.
 
'Seal the Loop' bins, which are made of recycled plastic waste, make it easy to dispose of fishing waste in a way that ensures it will never harm wildlife or beach users. 

GORCC currently has Seal the Loop bins at Torquay Main Beach, Torquay Point, near the Anglesea River, on the Lorne Pier and along the Lorne Foreshore, with more to be installed at the Jan Juc Surf Club car park and the Moggs Creek boardwalk.

Read the full story over on our blog

 

The old Moggs Creek boardwalk.

Moggs Creek works commence


The timber board walk at Moggs Creek is undergoing a redevelopment process.

This project will see the existing timber board walk (which provides access to the coastal reserve and beach) at the site upgraded.  

The project aims to:
  • Improve user experience
  • Provide disabled access
  • Improve access and useability for recreational fisherman
  • Improve the facility's visual aesthetic
  • Provide a structure that is long lasting (and has structural integrity within the coastal environment)
  • Improve safety
  • Provide education/interpretation via signage
  • Minimise impacts on the natural environment
Demolition of the structure is to commence the week beginning 14th September 2015, with the board walk to be complete before the commencement of peak season.

The project is supported by funding from the State Government.  

The new bench seats in Taylor Park.

Designer seating for Taylor Park

New, custom-designed bench seats have been installed in Taylor Park.

Kindly donated by a Torquay resident and designed by local artist Mark Trinham, the seats have a picturesque outlook over the surrounds of the park. 

GORCC hopes to see these lovely pieces of furniture being well used as the weather warms up and will be undertaking some landscaping in the surrounding vicinity to further beautify the area.

The new, accessible patwhway near Voss Car Park, Torquay.

Accessible pathway complete


The foreshore pathway near Voss Car Park in Torquay has been upgraded to improve usability.
 
The works have improved the accessibility of the path which can now be accessed by users with a range of mobility levels. 
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