A PROPOSED walking trail between San Remo and Inverloch should turn inland for much of its length, according to an alliance of resident and friends groups.
The Yallock-Bulluk Coastal Alliance last week released its submission on the proposed Yallock-Bulluk walking trail, part of a new marine and coastal park promised by the Andrews Government before the 2017 election.
While the original promoters of the park probably envisaged a 50-kilometre coastal walk, the Alliance argues that walking along the coast between Kilcunda and Inverloch should not be encouraged or promoted as part of the walk, due to the fragile nature of the coastal vegetation and the rare birds that breed on the beaches.
The alliance comprises the Kilcunda Community Association, Friends of Wonthaggi Heathland & Coastal Reserve, Harmers Haven Residents and Ratepayers Group/Friends of Harmers Haven, Cape Paterson Residents and Ratepayers Association, Peregrines Club Incorporated (Walking Group) and the South Gippsland Conservation Society.
They suggest the coastal section of the walk be confined to the section between San Remo and Kilcunda, incorporating the George Bass walk, one of the most spectacular walks in Australia.
From Kilcunda they propose the trail should follow the rail trail, linking at Mouth of the Powlett with the Desalination Reserve, using the existing shared pathway through to Williamsons Beach car park. From there the path could follow the existing slashed track below the wind turbines to the Baxter’s Beach track junction at the end of Campbell Street.
Yallock-Bulluk Coastal Alliance submissio
The Bunurong Road between Cape Paterson and Inverloch is not appropriate for walkers, the submission argues. Using the road also increases the risk that people will attempt to walk along the beaches and inter-tidal rock shelf, with the serious risk of visitors unfamiliar with local conditions being swept from rocks or lost in dangerous surf. The coastal strip between these two towns is also very narrow and the geography not suitable for a path.
Their submission notes the groups have been involved in enhancing and protecting this coastal area for decades and offer to accompany project team members during on-ground visits to share their expertise and knowledge.
South Gippsland Conservation Society president Annette Read said that the society welcomed the new coastal park, and opportunities for people to enjoy it, but it was essential to get the right balance.
“The tricky thing is anticipating what visitors will do once the trail is created and how they will move through that space. If the trail gets close to the beaches, we know people will go off-track through the dunes down to the beaches. This would lead to damage to vegetation and disruption of the beach nesting birds sites.
“I’m sure they were thinking of a walk along the clifftops for the length of the trail but it’s really not going to work in environmental or financial terms. Making a coastal walk from Kilcunda to Inverloch doesn’t seem feasible.
“We’re hoping Parks Victoria and DELWP [Department of Environment, Lands, Water and Planning] will listen to the advice of many local people who know the area.
The Alliance notes that there is already considerable parking pressure at some areas of the coast in busy periods so the plan for the walking trail would need to consider how this would be dealt with when visitation numbers increased significantly.