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Belfast Coastal Reserve Management Plan

Belfast Coastal Reserve 

Parks Victoria is developing a Management Plan for the coast between Port Fairy and Warrnambool in south west Victoria, referred to as the Belfast Coastal Reserve. Currently the project team are engaging community about the development of this management plan.

Visit the project website for information or to have your say online: lets-talk.parks.vic.gov.au/belfast

Background

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 Coastal 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.

Issues

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 Coastal Management Plan will include public land areas adjacent to the Belfast Coastal Reserve, including Levy’s Point Coastal Reserve which is managed by local council. 

Community engagement

Community engagement is an essential part of the planning process and Parks Victoria will ensure to provide formal and informal opportunities for community input, including interested organisations and individuals. In developing the plan, it is important that Parks Victoria hears the views of the broad range of people who have an interest in the Belfast Coast. 

Have your say about the future management of the reserve or find out about public events via our project website: lets-talk.parks.vic.gov.au/belfast

Keep informed

If you would like to be kept informed about the progress of the project and opportunities for input, please provide your name and contact details (either your email or postal address) to parkplan@parks.vic.gov.au, (don’t forget to include ‘Belfast Coastal Reserve’ in the header of your email). 

 Or, go to our project website (lets-talk.parks.vic.gov.au/belfast) and register for project updates directly. 

Process and timeline

Stakeholder and community engagement for the Coastal Management Plan will occur in four phases. This will provide a range of opportunities for engagement and input.

Phase one, Engagement planning, commenced in January 2017.

Phase two, Hearing all the voices, is currently underway throughout April and May 2017.