Friday, February 23, 2024

Greater Geelong endorses great plan for coastal protection

City of Greater Geelong Council has endorsed a new 10-year strategy to enhance a key stretch of marine and coastal environments on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The Southeast Bellarine Coast (4W-Collendina) Coastal and Marine Management Plan will now be submitted to the Victorian Government for approval.

“The endorsement of the 2022-32 plan follows extensive community consultation including an online survey, open houses, site tours, educational videos, monthly stakeholder meetings and symposium sessions to present the results of the project,” said Mayor, Peter. Murrihy.

“More than 400 submissions were provided, with more than 4,000 visitors to the Have Your Say project page.

“The majority of contributions supported protection and enhancement of this significant environment and collaborative management of the region,” he said.

The Mayor said Council has an overall aim of improving the condition and connectivity of the municipality’s diverse natural habitats. The south-east corner of the Bellarine is home to one of the last remnants of continual biodiversity in the region, so it’s imperative we put plans in place to protect and enhance it, he said.

The 2022-2032 plan calls for close collaboration with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and land management, landholder, and community representative groups, with a focus on:

  • protecting and enhancing biodiversity values and threatened ecological communities
  • protecting the Hooded Plover and beach-nesting birds
  • eradicating woody weeds and reducing high threat herbaceous weeds
  • reducing the threats posed by pest animals, including rabbits and foxes
  • understanding and preparing for climate change impacts; and
  • providing better community access to natural areas.

The management plan contains a wide range of actions to meet Council’s priorities and to guide investment over the next decade.

“We want to strengthen our habitat links, improve water quality, and protect our significant cultural and heritage values. Importantly, we want residents and visitors to feel an increased connection to the local environment. We can do this by improving access to these beautiful areas, and by making sure the views and seascapes are protected,” said Councillor Jim Mason.

The Coastal and Marine Management Plan primarily focuses on the coastal Crown land managed by the City of Greater Geelong.

This is a narrow linear coastline area, measuring about 5km long and 200 metres wide. The area forms part of the Bellarine Peninsula Southern Coast, which is now recognised as a State Significant Landscape.

It spans from Queenscliff, through Buckley Park Foreshore Reserve, on to the mouth of the Barwon River, and beyond to Breamlea.

Council says the adjacent natural areas are intrinsically linked via water flows from Bonneyvale wetlands, through to the natural coastal wetlands of Lake Victoria and out to Swan Bay.

They include habitat for the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot and breeding areas for Hooded Plover and endangered migratory birds.

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