Belfast Coastal Reserve Management Plan
Parks Victoria is currently developing a Management Plan for the Belfast Coastal Reserve – a coast and wetlands area stretching between Port Fairy and Warrnambool in south west Victoria.The submission period to comment on the Belfast Coastal Reserve Draft Management Plan closed on 16 March 2018. Parks Victoria wishes to thank all individuals and organisations who provided submission, completed surveys, attended community open house session and commented on the draft management plan. All feedback is being carefully considered in preparing the final management plan. The final management plan is anticipated to be released from mid-2018.
The 20km coastline between Warrnambool and Port Fairy in south west Victoria is known for its wild and unspoilt nature, with sandy beaches, grassy dunes and basaltic outcrops and reefs. The powerful waves and cool onshore winds from the Southern Ocean create a majestic character.
The area is home to many native coastal and wetland birds including Hooded Plover, Lathams Snipe and Orange-bellied Parrot. There are also many sites of important Aboriginal heritage, both physical and spiritual, along the coast. Popular recreation activities here include walking, dog walking, swimming, surfing, kite boarding, fishing, snorkelling, horse riding and bird watching.
Belfast Coastal Reserve, managed by Parks Victoria, represents a large part of the area with over 16km of shoreline. The reserve is public land set aside for protection of the coastline, to be managed for conservation, education and compatible recreation. Some smaller sections of coastline are managed by Moyne Shire and Warrnambool City Council.
The recent increase in commercial racehorse training on beaches and dunes in the area has caused community concerns about safe public access to the beach, impacts to the environment such as beach nesting bird habitat (in particular Hooded Plover), and impacts to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.
To address these concerns, the Minister has instructed Parks Victoria to lead the development of a Management Plan. The plan will include public land areas adjacent to the Belfast Coastal Reserve, including Levy’s Point Coastal Reserve which is managed by local council.