Iconic trail in the making
GREAT Ocean Road residents and adventurers have an opportunity to influence the location and design of what will become an iconic 90-kilometre coastal walk from Fairhaven to Skenes Creek.
The state government has provided $23.8 million to plan and deliver the trail, with the federal government contributing $350,000 for planning and feasibility studies through the Geelong City Deal.
The second round of community consultation to finalise details of the walk is now underway, with the formal planning approvals process to start in 2022.
Community feedback on the number and location of the proposed suspension bridges and lookouts; the final layout of the various sections of the trail; car parking requirements; toilets; and campgrounds and visitor areas is invited.
Great Ocean Road Coastal Trail Project control board chair Steve Bracks said the project was the “brainchild of passionate local community members following the 2015 Christmas day bushfire, who identified it as something that would help the region recover”.
“That vision is even more relevant today as we all come out the other side of the pandemic and our lives return to normal,” the former Premier said.
“By linking communities along the coast, the trail will support local businesses by encouraging sustainable eco-tourism and longer stays in the region all year round, including outside the traditional holidays.”
The state government is working with Traditional Owners to plan the trail across Gadabunud Country, and is committed to ensuring it respects and promotes the rich cultural heritage of the area.
Recreation trail design company World Trail is developing a Masterplan which will include the trail’s exact route and the location of infrastructure required such as camping sites, lookouts, boardwalks, bridges, river crossings, carparks, and day visitor areas.
“This is an exciting project for Victoria. It will showcase the region’s amazing natural assets, rich cultural history and provide a real boost for local economies well into the future,” Mr Bracks said.
“I would encourage locals to get involved during the consultation and have their say about how the trail can be best incorporated and benefit their communities.
“Once complete, it will join up the existing Surf Coast and Great Ocean walks meaning people will be able to explore our wonderful region on foot all the way from Torquay to the 12 Apostles.”
For more information on the project and link to the community questionnaire visit forestsandreserves.vic.gov.au/initiatives/great-ocean-road-coastal-trail.