STAFF members from the Bass Coast Shire Council were out early last Saturday morning seeking input on the preferred option for Stage 2 of the Surf Parade Shared Path project at Inverloch.
An amount of $1.5 million has been set aside in the latest budget to extend the popular path through to the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club’s carpark.
But, as usual with projects in the seaside town, a compromise between what’s needed to guarantee the safety of the town’s residents and visitors is being traded off against the loss of vegetation and other environmental considerations.
It’s exactly the sort of decision with which no council wants to be faced.
According to Manager Advocacy and Engagement at the shire, Christian Stefani, one of the key issues raised in feedback was having enough parking spaces for cars in the holiday town.
“Option One provides 20 car spaces (but at the loss of 118) while Option Two provides 138 extra spaces but you’d require more vegetation removal with that option,” he said.
“But there’s no question about the path going ahead, everyone wants the extension of the pathway to go ahead,” he claimed.
Well no they don’t.
In a ‘Letter to the Editor’ today, A. Forrester of Inverloch makes his/her views plain:
“We do not need this pathway at all, the road has served us well with ample off-road parking in a natural setting and after all said and done, how many months of the year is Surf Parade utilised?”
The local business community, however, is adamant. It’s a town with people, not a national park, and adequate facilities for cars to park and people to walk safely are needed.
Mr Stefani said the shire welcomed all suggestions and input and would be prepared to alter the design accordingly.
“Some people have raised the issue of making the road one way. There’s been concern about the erosion issues along the dune system and we’re looking at that.”
Option 1 features an extension of the shared path from Veronica Street to the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club and 20 parallel parking bays, which is at the loss of 118 bays currently available as informal parking.
Option 2: On top of the extension of the path as above, Option 2 includes the provision of 138 parking bays. Option 2 will require vegetation removal which is subject to approval from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP). Under this option, formalised car parking will be provided parallel with Surf Parade along the foreshore side with the shared path. Kerb and channel will act as a barrier between the parking spaces and the pathway and will minimise the required encroachment into the foreshore.
But it’s certainly a curly one for councillors. Here’s another view in this week’s ‘letters’:
“I can understand that people require car parking, especially over the summer holidays, when there are so many people accessing the beach, but with the significant increase in sand erosion, I don’t think we have the luxury of providing optimum parking,” Margaret Pope, Inverloch.
As well as the pop-up session last Saturday morning, following the Inverloch Parkrun, there’ll also be a feed-back opportunity on Saturday, April 20 at the Inverloch Recreation Reserve (Inverloch-Kongwak versus Dalyston matches) from 12 noon to 2pm.
You can also provide feedback:
* Via BCSC online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/surfparade
* In person at one of our pop-up sessions.
* Via email surfparade@basscoast.vic.gov.au
There will also be a Facebook question and answer session with Councillors and Council Officers on Tuesday, April 16 from 6pm to 8pm.
For more information on the project, contact the BCSC Infrastructure Delivery Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.
You can view the Inverloch Surf Parade Shared Path Masterplan on the Bass Coast Shire’s website.