Update March 2018: As a participant in the GORCC Memorial Arch Masterplan Community Reference Group, AIDA attended the final committee meeting in February. This consultation group has been meeting since 2015 and a final `interim’ Options paper has been developed which seeks to balance the need to retain the historical significance of the Memorial Arch site against the need to protect the fragile dune area from the increasing number of tourists visiting the site. The final option was a compromise to shutting the site completely which was the popular choice, and will be released by GORCC for public comment in the near future.
An ongoing issue has been the installation of toilets at the site, which is being advocated by our Federal MP, Ms Sarah Henderson. AIDA recently wrote to Ms Henderson to inform her of the consultative process that has occurred and outlined the reasons the Committee had recommended against a toilet at the site.
Those reasons are: In the local context, the site:
• has limited, if any capacity to cope with an increase in infrastructure without adversely affecting the surrounding dune environment, visual amenity or parking requirements;
• is not connected to sewer mains, therefore the only alternative is septic or self-cleaning toilets which: (1) require relatively large areas due to the infrastructure and number of toilets required; (2) require excavation into an already fragile foreshore environment, susceptibility to storm surges; (3) are water intensive, requiring a new water supply with high maintenance and operating costs; and (4) could encourage overnight camping in the car park.
In a broader context, the Great Ocean Road:
• is at risk of exposure from inundation, storm erosion and coastal recession along this section of the coastline due to sea level rise over the next 20 years and therefore throws doubt on the viability of additional infrastructure in these hot spots;
• already has existing public toilet amenities and sewer infrastructure in the coastal towns and visitor information centres in close proximity to the Memorial Arch Precinct which can be better utilised and enhanced so that visitors and tour companies stop in these locations prior to continuing along the Great Ocean Road to the Memorial Arch site;
• provides important commercial opportunities for coastal towns to benefit from longer stays and visitor spending during these rest stops.
As well, AIDA pointed out the need for better signage to existing toilet facilities in the Aireys–Fairhaven area, and to the proposed development of the (already sewered) Grey Point Reserve where the concept proposed by the Committee for Lorne will, for the first time, be able to accommodate long buses in Lorne.
An article outlining AIDA’s opposition to toilets at the Memorial Arch was published in the February Surf Coast Times, and subsequent Facebook chatter was very supportive of our position.
We are still awaiting a response from Ms Henderson.
Update October 2017: A recent update from the Environment and Education Manager of GORCC confirmed that public consultation on the Memorial Arch Options Paper had closed at the end of August. As per the agreed communications and engagement plan, GORCC had delivered online and hard copy surveys (English and Mandarin), letter drops, surveys at visitor info centres, and various media promotions of the project to encourage feedback. Over 200 submissions were received on the options and the consultants and the GORCC team are currently determining what the feedback indicates with respect to direction for the draft Masterplan. In due course the the Agency Working Group and the Community Reference Group will be convened to report back on the consultation results, and to discuss the direction of the draft masterplan and next steps
In the interim, GORCC have been installing temporary signage at the site to encourage visitors to use the site safely. We are also having this signage translated into Mandarin and will have additional signs in place shortly. VicRoads are working on options for a speed limit reduction to be in place for summer while the Masterplan work continues.
Feedback sought on Master Plan for Eastern View Memorial Arch
A draft Precinct Master Plan providing options for design direction and future development of the Eastern View Memorial Arch was outlined at the final meeting of the Community Reference Group held on 20 February 2017. This group, of which AIDA was a member, comprised representatives from the local community and from GORCC, DWELP, VicRoads, Surf Coast Shire, and the consultancy firm Spatial Design Studio.
The Community Reference Group, and a parallel working group – the Agency Working Group – comprising tourist, business and government agencies, were formed to provide input into a Memorial Arch Master Plan whose purpose was to develop a design and improve amenity to ameliorate future tourist impact on this area – an area already under pressure from increasing tourist numbers and limited space available for cars and buses. Predictions for future tourist numbers along the Great Ocean Road show a marked increase sooner rather than later, with increased pressure on tourist facilities along the coast. As well, studies of the potential effect of global warming and sea level rise (‘Coastal climate change vulnerability and adaptation’) have shown the area from Urquhart Bluff to Spout Creek has a high risk of inundation, storm erosion and coastal recession.
The draft plan arose from feedback from an initial survey of residents (not many responses) and meetings of the Community Reference Group and the Agency Working Group facilitated by GORCC with the designated consultants, Spatial Design. The plan details project background and purpose, lists key attractions along the Great Ocean Road, cites historical markers, visitor amenities, walks and photo opportunity sites and outlines current thinking on climate change impacts on the Great Ocean Road before outlining three options proposed for the site. Each option addresses the key concerns including:
- vehicle and pedestrian accessibility
- cultural heritage
- ecological and environmental impact
- commercial impact
- site management.
The options outlined in the master plan are detailed in their description and whilst these proposals cover the main priorities and design directions of the two groups and GORCC, other options and ideas are welcomed.
A fact sheet has been developed by GORCC and will be distributed to the Aireys Inlet and surrounding community for further consultation in the near future following finalisation of the master plan document. Full information on the options paper will be available on the GORCC website: www.gorcc.com.au
AIDA urges all members to view this document, nominate a preferred direction for the Memorial Arch precinct or put forward an alternate view – this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.