WSL drops support for Bells Beach pathway

September 30, 2020 BY

A concept of the proposed elevated pathway to Winkipop.

THE World Surf League (WSL) has dropped its support for the proposed elevated pathway at Winkipop.

The controversial plans for a 60-metre long timber pathway was added to the Surf Coast Shire council’s Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Coastal and Marine Management Plan 2015-25 last year.

After strong backlash from parts of the community, the council decided they would install a temporary elevated pathway for the 2020 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and reassess whether to build a permanent structure afterwards. But the council’s plans were delayed when the WSL announced the cancellation of the 2020 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach due to COVID-19.

Many were still unhappy, with local groups such as the Greater Torquay Alliance (GTA) and Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast Branch advocating for the plans to be scrapped altogether.

Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast branch secretary Darren Noyes-Brown welcomed the WSL withdrawing its support.

“They’ve seen the social media Surfrider Foundation has been doing, basically calling out the World Surf League for wanting to build this permanent infrastructure on Crown land when they’re a privately own overseas company and its against the community’s wishes.”

Mr Noyes-Brown said he hoped the council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning would similarly change their stance on the pathway.

“They haven’t been listening to the community at all. They’ve been pushing ahead in the face of all this community opposition.”