An interesting decision by the South Gippsland Shire Council to pass a motion five votes to four to put the Waratah Bay Trail from Sandy Point to Waratah Bay – back into their Paths and Trails Strategy as an “unfunded project” on the priority list.
The motion to include the trail and consider alternative paths was moved by Cr Skinner.
Cr Argento said he had assisted Cr Skinner with the motion by including the words “there would be no compulsory acquisition of land”.
Cr Brunt made the point that this was not an issue as there was no way the council could compulsorily acquire land for such a purpose.
Council was therefore keen to discuss alternative routes.
Council discussed that a trail on the northern side could avoid private land.
This trail would have to go through Crown Land managed by DWELP. This Crown Land is a fragile dune structure with ‘environment of significance’ overlays and ‘flood inundation’ overlays.
Conservation will not be helped by people, bikes, dogs walking through the dunes or on some unspecified structure. One could call that an environment risk!
Worries of landowners were surely eased when Cr Rich assured the council that agriculture and tourism could co-exist. I’m sure Cr Rich is aware of the new biosecurity and animal welfare rules applying to farmers accredited under LPA – these rules are not conducive to people, dogs, bikes, horses trundling along unsupervised right up against boundaries.
One could call that a biosecurity and animal welfare risk!
The other option discussed was a trail on the southern side.
Golly, what do I spy? Why a beautiful wide golden trail with gorgeous views is already there. It is called a beach.
But Cr McEwen assures the council that there are some days when it is so stormy and rainy you cannot walk on the beach.
The Roy Henderson Trail on the southern side is already there for inclement weather. I would think construction of a second trail with a canopy to protect users from rain is not cheap.
One could call that an economic risk!
Council has already spent $20,000 of ratepayers’ money on a consultant report and innumerable staff hours in preparing a report on Council Paths and Trails which was to form the basis of their strategy. All reports clearly eliminated the Waratah Bay Trail because of the fragile environment and land tenure issues.
Why put it back in? Enjoy our wonderful beach!
Megan Knight, Foster.