On Saturday, April 24 I attended the community consultation session for the proposed Yallock-Bulluk track.

A project our local Member took to the last election as one of her key electoral promises. A trail that in all literature published from day one put forward as following the coastline.

I have personally attended a Zoom meeting during COVID lockdown, filled out surveys and then Saturday turned up in Inverloch only to be told by the Parks Vic officer that the pathway would not be linking Cape Paterson to Inverloch via the coast and instead it would link Wonthaggi to Inverloch via an inland route.

At no stage up until Saturday had that ever been put forward as the preferred or only option available. Yet according to the officer and in front of a number of others he emphasised that was the case.

When I questioned this to our local Member Jordan Crugnale and then the representative from Parks Vic, she called over, they back tracked and made a series of ‘oh we are still investigating, there are so many obstacles against going along the coast’, etc., etc.

Basically, finding any excuse possible to avoid saying the decisions had been made and what we were doing there was just token public consultation so that they could tick the consultation box.

It seems to me that our society is dictated to by government departments who have no legitimate understanding or desire to learn as to what the community wants and local politicians who can be elected on promises that are far too often not delivered.

Inverloch and Cape Paterson should be connected by a safe off-road walking and bike path. The social and economic returns to the Bass Coast would be extraordinary and it is up to our elected leaders to make this happen.

Yet another example.

Inverloch should have their shared pathway completed. The last section, I am led to believe, is being held up by yet another state government department. Again, a project that had overwhelming community support and the most extensive community consultation project our shire has ever undertaken, yet the wishes of the people are being ignored.

We are living in extraordinary times. The need for our community to have assets and options that allow for safe healthy exercise options is vital. The completion of the Inverloch pathway should be a priority, the opportunity for someone to walk or ride off-road between Inverloch and Cape Paterson visiting those amazing beaches on the way a no brainer.

To our politicians, both state and local, find solutions – don’t hide behind government departments because we all know where there is a legitimate will, there is a way.

PS. A local Inverloch friend recently cycled the new pathway NZ has put in place. It starts at the top of the North Island and finishes at the bottom of the South Island. Where there is a will and the courage to do so, there is a way.

Max Wells, Inverloch.