A DRAFT masterplan for the Walkerville Foreshore was unveiled at a community feedback session at Walkerville Hall recently, with most stakeholders showing support for the proposed changes.
The plans, which focus on the area at Walkerville North between the boat ramp and entrance to the caravan park, include a beachside rock wall and footpath, new parking areas and toilets and a new, relocated kiosk.
Running Walkerville residents and members of the Foreshore Committee through an overview of the draft design, including site planning and design principles, was Mark Reilly of Tract Consultants, which has been commissioned by the Walkerville Foreshore Reserve Committee of Management (WFRCoM) to lead the masterplan design, consultation and engagement process.
The aim, Mr Reilly said, was to focus on managing coastal erosion while also improving amenity and safety for the various users of the foreshore – which include fishers and boaters, residents, day visitors and campers – and doing as much as possible to preserve the current look and feel of Walkerville.
With an increase in day visitors coming to Walkerville, there was an emphasis on encouraging cars to park at various sites along the foreshore, including near the entrance to the caravan park, and at Waratah Street, instead of all heading straight for the boat ramp at the end of the Bayside Drive.
Individuals had the opportunity to review the plans and provide feedback, and although there was some disagreement about the effectiveness of a rock wall in preventing erosion, as well as the removal of vegetation at Waratah Street to create more parking spaces, and the relocation of the kiosk, when these issues went to a vote, the majority showed support for the changes.
WFRCoM president Bill Bray said the way Tract had handled the design and consultation process had been “outstanding” so far, but that there was “still a way to go” with no implementation plan or costings for the project at this stage.
“It’s been good community interaction,” Mr Bray said after the session. “At the end of the day, it will give us a plan that we then have to secure funding for and work with the other groups along the foreshore on, such as the ratepayers association and the fishing and the boating club.
“The South Gippsland Shire Council obviously needs to have quite a bit to say as well. And our interactions with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria are still continuing.”
Mr Bray said the committee’s priorities are to address the issue of erosion and to provide good safe facilities for an increasing number of visitors, without necessarily encouraging lots more people to come to the area.
“What the discussions highlighted for me is the different nodes that have been identified: the entry to Walkerville, Waratah Street, and the end of the road [the boat ramp]. I think there’s general agreement that they seem quite a good idea,” Mr Bray said.
“From the committee’s point of view and the community’s point of view, we appreciate the work Tract Consultants have done and we’re looking forward to the final outcome.
“I’m sure it will benefit Walkerville,” he said.
Community consultation is ongoing, with the draft masterplan available to view online at www.walkervilleforeshore.com.au/master-plan.html and a survey available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/walkervillemp until May 6.
Based on the community feedback received, Tract Consultants will prepare a final report for the foreshore committee, which is expected to complete by the middle of the year.
It will then be up to the committee to find the funds for aspects of the plan they choose to implement.