Community overwhelmingly backs Bay Trail revitalisation plan
MORE than 95 per cent of community members have expressed support for the City of Greater Geelong’s draft concept plan to enhance the Bay Trail, according to survey data and engagement sessions held between September and October 2023.
The trail, spanning nine kilometres from North Shore to Western Beach Foreshore, is popular with both locals and tourists.
Key features of the proposed plan include trail alignment improvements, gap fixes, native species revegetation, widened trails for diverse users, and the addition of rest stops with seating.
Feedback from more than 3,000 participants, including 136 survey and quick poll responses and face-to-face sessions with 30 individuals, helped shape the plan.
Mayor Trent Sullivan expressed gratitude for the valuable insights, highlighting the community’s pivotal role in refining the draft concept plan to enhance safety and accessibility along the Bay Trail.
“We really appreciate the insights that respondents provided on the draft concept plan and how it can be improved,” Cr Sullivan said.
“We want to improve safety and accessibility along the Bay Trail, which is one of the gems in our region’s crown.”
Deputy Mayor Anthony Aitken said important information was gleaned by council during the process.
“It was great to hear from a diverse range of people who use the Bay Trail to exercise, sightsee and meet with loved ones,” he said.
Survey participants were predominantly from Rippleside (14 per cent), Geelong (13 per cent), Geelong West (9 per cent), Belmont (6 per cent), and Drumcondra (5 per cent).
“Community members were pleased with the proposed improvements to the trail, economic and tourism benefits and how revegetation could improve and protect the surrounding environment,” Cr Aitken said.
“This feedback will be used by the City to inform the Bay Trail Revitalisation study and finalisation of the concept plan, before it comes to Council.”
While the community overwhelmingly supported the plan, concerns were raised about broader connections to access the Bay Trail, potential user conflicts, implementation and funding details, lighting, and environmental and waste management.
The City plans to actively seek funding opportunities for staged improvements once the final concept plan is ready.