April 22, 2017
THE congestion on Phillip Island over the Easter weekend sent a strong message about the never-ending problem resulting from large volumes of visitors wanting to get onto the island at the same time. The frequency of this saturation is increasing and it is anticipated that by 2035 the roads will be clogged every weekend for six months of the year.
In 2014, Bass Coast Shire Council in conjunction with VicRoads and the department of Transport developed the Phillip Island Integrated Transport Study, a Community Vision for Transport, which investigated the various form of transport on Phillip Island. The main conclusion was a need to reduce the domination of private cars and increase walking, riding and public transport.
A community reference group was set up to provide community input into implementing the study. Members nominate and are voted in at a public meeting. The current group includes a range of people with casual and professional interests in tourism, public transport, walking paths, cycling, disabilities and other aspects of getting around. They meet regularly with VicRoads engineers, local community groups and others to enhance movement around the Island.
VicRoads has now asked the community to go online and comment on the best use of the Phillip Island corridor from Anderson to Cowes. All potential solutions to future changes to traffic flow on and off the island are welcome and will be considered. The forum will be open for comment until May 7.
The three roundabouts at Boys Home Road, Woolamai and Backbeach Road are not included because VicRoads has already applied for funding, which may get the nod when the state budget is approved in early May.
The current VicRoads consultation for the corridor strategy will be followed by:
Council aspirational pathway consultation (available online)
Assessment of the other VicRoads roads on the island
Development of a Phillip Island tourism roads master plan (Action 18 of the Visitor Economy Strategy (2035)
Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy (2035), released in 2016, recommends a cap on daily visitors of 24,500. It states “The region is expected to double its visitor numbers from 1.85 million in 2015 to 3.4 million and be worth upwards of $1.1 billion by 2035. The time for investment in marketing and tourism infrastructure for Phillip Island and San Remo is now.”
Another report for consideration is the Summerlands Peninsula Trails Master Plan, which includes recommendations for walking and cycling paths and more avenues for visitors to look at the scenery and more activities for tourists. This is all part of last year’s state funding announcement of $60 million for Summerlands.
Anyone taking the time to read and digest these documents will find points of agreement and disagreement. It is the responsibility of all locals and visitors to get involved in the discussions and add your input where possible.
It is the future of our community we are talking about. If last weekend is anything to go by, it is also the present.