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The Painkalac Valley, separating Aireys Inlet from Fairhaven, is of high environmental, landscape and cultural significance. The valley and its creek are a dominant feature in the district, with much of the creek and valley visible from private land and public spaces, including the Great Ocean Road and lighthouse.

The valley acts as a green wedge between the two towns and is an integral part of the natural and rural atmosphere of the area. The valley also has high regional geomorphological significance, being one of only a few well developed floodplains and estuaries in the Otway Ranges.

The Painkalac Creek Wetlands and Floodplain Environmental Study (1990) effectively called for the severe restriction of development and activity in the valley as almost any development or increase in activity would have serious detrimental effect upon the environmental sensitivity and scenic landscape values of the valley. It stated that it is important that the valley is retained in its present rural character and the creek environs remain generally in their present form.

This view is consistent with community sentiment today and the Aireys Inlet Structure Plan seeks to protect the open landscape character and natural values of the Painkalac Creek Valley.

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