The Barwon River is integral to the natural environment in Geelong and it is a source of much of Geelong’s water supply. The river is
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Barwon River Parklands project
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The Barwon River is integral to the natural environment in Geelong and it is a source of much of Geelong’s water supply. The river is a popular recreation area for activities including walking, cycling, picnics, rowing, boating and fishing.
The Barwon River Parklands project aims to protect the natural environment, providing open space for the health and enjoyment of a growing community, providing greater protection of the Barwon River, increasing awareness and appreciation of natural and cultural heritage and providing new recreational assets linking facilities along more than 32 kilometres of the river from Geelong across the Bellarine Peninsula.
The parkland is being created by linking a chain of existing parks and reserves through cooperative management, and adding important connections between these areas. See map for details.
The public land along the Barwon River falls within the jurisdiction of Parks Victoria, Barwon Coast Committee of Management (BCCM), Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) and the City of Greater Geelong Council. There is significant private land abutting the river south of the Breakwater Bridge and other freehold land such as the Ovoid Aqueduct site managed by Barwon Water.
Parks Victoria is the lead agency in a partnership of management agencies:
- City of Greater Geelong Council
- Barwon Water.
- Barwon Coast Committee of Management
- Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
- Department of Environment and Primary Industries
- Department of Planning and Community Development
Project Achievements 2007-2011
In the first four years there have already been many achievements for this project.
- A 5 year Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) signed in July 2009 by each of the land managers and all partner agencies involved with the project.
- Open house forums, community surveys and feedback in late 2009 used to take forward planning and delivery.
- Capital works establishing visitor areas such as Taits Point and Ash Road on Lake Connewarre, track establishment at Barwon Heads, and trail realignment and connections at Newtown and Highton.
- Almost $200 000 has been invested in pest plant and animal control programs. This investment has been directed to areas consistent with the priorities contained in the regional catchment strategy.
- Woody weed removal along the main CCMA managed sections of the river through Geelong, roadside reserve clean ups in Leopold, and wetland and birdlife habitat establishment at both Highton and the Barwon River delta have made a real impact across park sites.
- A draft Strategic Direction Plan has been prepared. It has incorporated findings of base documents such as the draft trail concept alignments, community consultation, Ovoid Aqueduct and various detailed connection studies.
- Community support programs and sponsorship of various events. The Blokes Day out, Catch-A-Carp Day, Clean Up Australia Days and the Karingal Family event held on the banks of the river in Belmont are examples of these successful programs.
- A “River Host” volunteer program run on the lower estuary in the summer of 2009, via local Fishcare volunteers, further supported environmental programs in the parklands area.
The multi-agency MOC signed in July 2009 remains current mid way through its initial five year term. Strong agency support and understanding remains for this parkland establishment initiative.
The parklands project has identified a further 23 key directions in the draft Strategic Directions Plan.
In addition to finalising this plan, the Steering Committee will prepare a concise business plan for the next two years which will focus on the transition from an ‘establishment’ phase to one of ‘consolidation’. Areas to be considered will include;
- alignment with Federal, State and Local government policies and directions;
- securing additional funding options such as grants and business sponsorship; and
- developing stronger volunteer and community engagement in delivery of programs.
Partnerships and alignment with regional programs will continue to be a focus. These include the strong alliance with G21 and support to the innovative ‘green scripts’ pilot program funded by Medibank Private which is seeking to extend this program nationally.
Enjoy the parklands