There’s nothing like the Great Ocean Road

Tourism Australia just released a short YouTube video enticing people to visit the Great Ocean Road and a free App to for holiday makers which they say will ensure “you can see for yourself why There’s Nothing Like Australia”.

Check out the video below and the app on their website  here and let us know what you think of it!

 

This is just one of the amazing views you will see when you drive along the Great Ocean Road.

 

For more of our blogs on visiting the coast, click on one of the following links.

Head out now to look out on our spectacular coast

What’s not to love about the coast in Winter?

Who does what where?

The forum provided an opportunity for coastal volunteers to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the various land managers and government agencies involved in caring for the coast.

COAST ACTION/COASTCARE

Coast Action/Coastcare supports community volunteer groups involved in caring for Victoria’s coast.

This role encompasses:

  • coordinating volunteers for coastal projects
  • funding projects through the Coastcare Victoria Community Grants program
  • providing boundaries for volunteers
  • facilitating volunteer achievements, and
  • communicating and sharing ideas to provide connections between the different volunteer groups, projects and stakeholders.

The agency fulfils an important public education role on several levels:

  • linking coastal management policy to communities
  • helping to find a role for the public in coastal management
  • communicating current coastal-related issues, and
  • educating the broader community (e.g. children, schools, visitors, businesses) about caring for the coast.

Coast Action/Coastcare also contributes to community capacity building by providing various education and training programs for volunteers and the general public. These include occupational health and safety, leadership, first aid, community forums, field days, workshops and the annual Summer by the Sea summer holiday program.

Provided by Matt Fox, State Coordinator, Coast Action/Coastcare

GREAT OCEAN ROAD COAST COMMITTEE

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee manages 37 kilometres of Crown land foreshore reserves along the Great Ocean Road between Point Impossible (east of Torquay) and Cumberland River (west of Lorne).

Its responsibilities as a land manager are focused on looking after these reserves by:

  • protecting the sensitive coastal environment through weed eradication programs and other activities
  • building and maintaining an A to Z of coastal facilities, assets and infrastructure – from artwork to zebra (pedestrian) crossings
  • controlling commercial and other activities on the reserves through the issuing of leases, licences and permits, and
  • contributing to the area’s overall amenity in various ways, such as removing rubbish from beaches and foreshore areas.

The committee also operates caravan parks in Torquay and Lorne, and manages the leases for two other privately operated parks at Anglesea and Cumberland River.

The income generated by the parks funds the committee’s coastal management work with additional income, mainly from State and Federal Government grants, supporting the delivery of various capital works and improvement projects.

Much of the committee’s work is undertaken in partnership with other coastal land managers, State Government and local community volunteer groups who contribute much valuable time and effort to caring for the coast.

Provided by Richard Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

PARKS VICTORIA

Parks Victoria is responsible for managing a wide variety of parks in Victoria as well as the recreational management of Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers

Specifically, the estate includes:

  • 45 national parks
  • 13 marine national parks
  • 11 marine sanctuaries
  • 3 wilderness parks
  • 25 state parks
  • 30 metropolitan parks
  • 60 other parks (including regional and reservoir parks)
  • more than 2,000 natural features reserves and conservation reserves
  • 10,412 formally registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and
  • more than 2,500 non-Indigenous historic places.

These assets total more than four million hectares (about 17 per cent of Victoria) – total area of parks and reserves.

As land manager, Parks Victoria’s responsibilities include:

  • preservation of natural eco-systems
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage protection
  • access and visitor facilities
  • fire management, and
  • education and interpretation.

Funded by the State Government, the organisation comprises locally-based rangers, as well as planners, environmentalists, scientists and managers working at both state and local levels,

Provided by Frank Gleeson, Ranger in Charge – East Otways, Parks Victoria

Keeping beautiful starts with you

With Keep Australia Beautiful Week 2010 starting next Monday, 23 August, there’s really no time like the present to focus on the simple things we can each do in our daily lives to reduce the negative impacts we humans are having on our environment.

This year’s event is focusing on public place recycling to help reduce litter on our streets and, for those of us who live and work on the coast, on our beaches, coastal reserves, caravan parks and the like.

Did you know that of the 43.5 million tonnes of waste we Australians produce every year, just over half is recycled while the other half (around 21 million tonnes) still goes to landfill? Did you also know that, although we’re very good at recycling our household waste, we’re not so good at recycling when we’re out and about away from home? This is where public place recycling comes in.

Rather than sending our empty drink bottles, cans, food containers and other recyclable items straight to landfill by consigning them to rubbish bins (or worse, not binning them at all!), from here on in we should each make every effort to recycle them by using public place recycling bins or, if these are unavailable, by taking them home for recycling. How hard can that be?

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has for some years now been working to encourage beachgoers, foreshore users and campers to dispose of their waste appropriately by providing recycling bins in our caravan parks and coastal reserves.

Through our involvement in groups such as the Barwon Regional Waste Management Group and participation in programs such as Waste Wise and Resource Smart, we are also endeavouring to improve our own practices and to educate others by spreading the word (including through this blog).

At the end of the day however, it all comes down to you and your behaviour. What do you do, for example, when you’re enjoying a break at the beach? Do you recycle your recyclables and bin your non-recyclables? Or do you leave them behind for other people to swim in? (Now, if everyone did that, then you have probably been swimming in rubbish too!)

Check out the Keep Australia Beautiful Week website for more information, including tips and resources to help ensure you are recycling right, and to find out what your rubbish is being ‘reincarnated’ into. After all, keeping beautiful starts with you.

Infamous coastal controversies of the past five years

As the clock ticks down on my last two months with GORCC, it seems timely to look back over the achievements and challenges of the past five years.

It will probably come as no surprise to many when I say that our work is not all plain sailing. Indeed, as the following top 10 list shows, GORCC has  weathered plenty of controversial issues. While these have been challenging at the time, they have all inevitably led us towards learning some very valuable and salient lessons.

Here are some of our most infamous controversies of the past five years. Rest assured that while the tone may be light, they each represent some very hard lessons learned!

  • ‘Parking Gate’
    Who can forget our attempt to install parking meters in Torquay, Jan Juc and Anglesea in 2007? It had worked in Lorne for three previous years so we thought we’d use it in other areas to generate some new funding for our work to look after the coast. After announcing our plans, we endured a massive backlash from throughout the local community, causing us to back down and even leading us to eventually remove the meters from Lorne. It still comes up from time to time in media reports.
  • ‘Pool Gate’
    The controversy continues in Lorne about the redevelopment of the Lorne swimming pool and whether it should be heated or not. We’re hopeful this will all be resolved one way or another in the near future.
  • ‘Bunker Gate’
    Our staff discovered an elaborate bunker in the sand dunes at Fishermans Beach in Torquay, which made the news on all major radio stations and ABC TV. Must have been a slow news day!
  • ‘Memorial Gate’
    Thinking we had everyone’s support, we set out to upgrade Point Danger in Torquay, which included building a new war memorial. Unfortunately we had neglected to honour Joe Walker and his mates who had built the original rock cairn, which our local war veterans still considered to be very important. After some difficult times, we worked out a compromise with Joe and the RSL to keep the old memorial while building the new one. They are both resplendent now, especially at the annual dawn service on ANZAC Day
  • ‘Camper Gate’
    Our plans to upgrade the Torquay and Lorne Foreshore Caravan Parks have certainly generated strong reactions from many of our regular campers who for many years have enjoyed staying in the parks. And continue to do so with the imminent start of stage one power upgrade works at Torquay currently attracting many questions, concerns and comments from the campers affected by these works.
  • ‘Cut/gap Gate’
    A few residents in Torquay became very concerned at what they thought were our plans to close the ‘gap’ at Whites Beach.
  • ‘Stairs Gate’
    Unfortunately the old stairs at Bird Rock in Jan Juc had to be removed because they were no longer safe and it wasn’t possible to build a safe set. Despite the danger, the signs and a fence, a few irresponsible surfers still get to their favourite wave by scrambling up and down the cliff face rather than using the stairs leading down from Little Rock car park. It seems some people never learn.
  • ‘Toilet Gate’
    The old toilet on the foreshore in Torquay has needed to be replaced for some time now. Unfortunately it is situated directly across the road from some very expensive premuim real estate. Not surprisingly the owners are concerned – and have been for some time – about how the new building  will be sensitive to their needs (i.e. views) as residents and property owners. The new facility still hasn’t been built while the existing one continues to deteriorate. Beauty certainly is in the eye of the beholder.
  • ‘Slaughterhouse’
    An unused and little-known but important bit of Crown land in Lorne has the potential to be used for accommodation or some other appropriate purpose. But should it be developed at all? And if so, how to ensure the best outcomes for the coast and the community?
  • ‘The Pong Su’
    An international drug operation gone wrong, with dead bodies washing up on the Lorne foreshore. Nothing to do with us but very interesting all the same.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO.

Change one of life’s constants

The wise person who once said, “the only thing that stays the same is change”, certainly hit the nail squarely on the head. Life is all about change – as is the coast, the community, GORCC (like all other organisations), and many other aspects of the world we live in.

Change has certainly been in the wind at GORCC over the past week since we announced the resignation of our Chair Peter Anderson along with my decision to finish up in June 2010 as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Peter’s decision reflects a recent change in his work circumstances. After serving voluntarily on the committee since its formation in 2004 – the past three years as voluntary Chair – his leadership and invaluable contribution to the coast, its ongoing management and care will be sorely missed.

Fortunately John Carlile has agreed to step into the role of Acting Chair until the new committee comes on board later this year. Like Peter, John is passionate about the coast and its future. So much so that three years ago he volunteered for the committee and has been an active member ever since.

John will keep a steady hand at the helm over the next few months as GORCC navigates its way towards the government’s appointment of a new committee from July 2010 and the committee’s recruitment of a new Chief Executive Officer.

All of GORCC’s important work continues as usual: looking after the coast and delivering projects such as the Surf Coast Walk, the power upgrade at Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park and the start of redevelopment works at Fishermans Beach.

My own decision to resign as CEO was made after much soul-searching. I appreciate the trust the original committee placed in my capabilities to lead and shape what was then a very new organisation when it appointed me as GORCC’s inaugural CEO almost five years ago.

I will look back on my time with GORCC with considerable pride and happiness. Whilst there have been plenty of challenges, I consider the achievements to be significant; for example:

  • the caravan park upgrades are now well underway
  • more than $10 million in local, State and Federal Government funding has been secured in recent years
  • we have received external awards and recognition for our coastal management efforts, which are underpinned by our Environment and Land Management Plan
  • our relationships with government, key stakeholders and the community are robust and mutually beneficial
  • communication and engagement initiatives are ongoing and increasingly leading edge
  • we have delivered complex projects, such as the new Lorne Pier, and have a diverse project portfolio underway in the planning and delivery stages, and
  • our advocacy for the coast is well-regarded and regularly called upon.

GORCC is well positioned to achieve the key goals of significantly upgraded caravan parks that provide sustainable funding to enable ongoing protection of the coast and upgrades to its facilities and infrastructure.

The input of our staff over the last five years has been immense and I thank them for their contributions.

While it will be business as usual during my last two months as GORCC’s CEO, change is in the wind. I am excited about the changes ahead in my own life and confident the committee and new CEO will continue to lead GORCC effectively for the benefit of the coast and community.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO.

Crown Land Caravan Parks – Funding coastal management in Victoria for more than 100 years

The first reservations of public land along the Victorian coast were made in the 1860s. Not long after, in 1898, the committee of management system was implemented, which gave local communities management control of foreshore reserves on behalf of the Victorian public, with oversight by the State Government.

Most foreshore reserves included small camping areas, which have provided the majority of funding for committees of management since the 1900s.

Today, approximately one-third of the Victorian coast is managed by committees of management. These volunteer organisations (or in some cases local councils) are appointed under the Crown Land Reserves Act to “manage, improve, maintain and control the land for the purpose for which it is reserved”. They also comply with and help implement the Victorian Coastal Strategy.

There are more than 80 caravan parks and camping grounds on Crown land along the Victorian coast.

From Nelson on the South Australian border, along the Great Ocean Road, around Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula, through to Wilsons Promontory, Gippsland and Mallacoota near the NSW border, there are a diverse range of caravan parks and camping grounds in fantastic coastal locations.

Caravan parks and camping grounds on coastal Crown land provide affordable recreational opportunities for millions of people to visit and enjoy the coast each year.

Revenue generated by operating these parks is used by the committees of management to look after the foreshore reserves and the coast itself. Committees operate on a not-for-profit basis, with all surplus funds used to look after the coast.

So next time you take a camping holiday along the Victorian coast, not only will you have a fantastic holiday, but you will be contributing important funds towards the management and care of our beautiful coastal environment.

And you will be building on more than 100 years of camping – and coastal management – tradition!

Email info@coastalcampingvictoria.com.au to receive a free copy of the Victorian Coastal Caravan & Camping Guide.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO

Beauty and the Beast: Managing the Coast Along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

The coast is what inspires and motivates the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee. The environmental, social, recreation, tourism and economic values of the coast benefit us all. The coast also faces plenty of challenges, from weeds, litter and erosion to climate change. We all have to do more to achieve a sustainable coast and community.

Overseen by a skills-based volunteer committee and delivered by some 25 passionate staff, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (a.k.a. GORCC) raises more than 80 per cent of its $5 million annual budget by operating two major caravan parks in Torquay and Lorne.

All funds raised by GORCC are reinvested in the coast – protecting natural and cultural values, providing recreation, tourism and community infrastructure, and minimizing the impacts of human use on the coast.

Managing the coastline along the Great Ocean Road requires a mix of skill, courage, patience and a thick skin. Thirty-seven kilometres and 500 hectares of coastal Crown land, 150 beach access points, 24 public toilets, 32 car parks, 25 kilometres of walking tracks, more than 270 weed species and plenty more means the coastline requires regular attention to meet coastal and community objectives.

Collaboration across boundaries with community groups, government agencies, other land managers and the general public is critical to success, but often easy to say and hard to achieve.

There are plenty of challenging issues like summer visitor numbers, growing populations, dogs on beaches, infrastructure upgrades and commercial activities in a time and place of climate (and community) change.

There is nothing like a quiet day in the office managing the beauty and the beast of the coastline along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO