The Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature.
A community partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Fresh Air Kids aims to encourage local coastal kids to grow up observing the environment in more detail than even most adults do. Find out more about their latest adventures from Possum Pete below. Read more →
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) coastal reserves team is working to prepare for the busy peak summer season.
Several major projects have recently completed, while intensive maintenance is underway. From re-gravelling and re-grading carparks to pruning and cleaning, the coast is almost ready for the annual influx of holiday makers and beachgoers.
GORCC Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said ongoing maintenance is an important component of GORCC’s work along the coast to ensure the foreshore areas are at a high standard.
“The coastal reserves team has been undertaking maintenance and upgrades in preparation for the busy Christmas and New Year period,” he said.
Recent work has included:
Voss Carpark pathway (Surf Coast Walk) upgrade.
Elephant Walk precinct works (playground and car park upgrades).
Whites Beach Toilet block completion.
Jan Juc Toilet Block completion.
New seating for Taylor Park, Torquay.
Re-gravelling tracks along Spring Creek.
Trimming and pruning trees along the Surf Coast Walk
What are some of your favourite summer, coastal activities? Let us know in the comments below.
A new trail marathon event is set to shine the spotlight on the Surf Coast Walk.
The inaugural Surf Coast Trail Marathon will take place on Saturday, 28 June, 2014, with marathon runners starting at Torquay, an hour south west of Melbourne, and finishing 42.2km further west on the beaches of Fairhaven, located on the world-renowned Great Ocean Road.
Runners will be enticed off road by a course that takes in impressive coastal scenery, including a short run along world-famous Bells Beach.
There is also a half marathon course being offered, beginning from Point Addis, and a relay team option allowing two runners to complete half of the marathon course each.
The Surf Coast Trail Marathon will benefit local organisations with a percentage of each entry fee going towards three Surf Coast beneficiaries, including the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club, where the event finishes, and the Anglesea Primary School.
Some funds will also go back into supporting the trail and environs via the Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee.
There has been a marked increase in the popularity of ‘adventure racing’ and nature based tourism and sports on the coast, with many opportunities to get inv0lved and active in the great outdoors.
Offering natural beauty and easy access, the recently redeveloped Surf Coast Walk along the edge of the Great Ocean Road offers a world-class walking destination for all to enjoy.
The track has proved popular since its official reopening last year and from dogs to bicycles to pram to runners, everyone is out and about enjoying different sections at different paces.
In recognition of the multiple uses of the track and in response to some community concern around safety, GORCC has installed some signs in high use areas around Torquay and Jan Juc, to promote safe shared use.
The Take care- Be aware- Share campaign encourages those who are cycling along the path to:
Give way to pedestrians
Travel at safe speeds
sSlow down and use their bell when passin
The signs also remind dog owners to clean up after their pets and to keep appropriate control over them at all times. Additionally, all users are asked to be vigilant of vegetation and wildlife and to keep to the left of the paths.
To stay safe and ensure you have an enjoyable Surf Coast Walk experience you should also:
Wearing sturdy, non-slip footwear
Carry plenty of drinking water and a well-charged mobile phone
Take care when walking near the edge or base of cliffs
Beware of snakes in late spring and summer
On days of extreme fire to seek information from Visitor Information Centres or the Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667, as some walks may be closed to the public.
As the Surf Coast Walk redevelopment nears completion, volunteers are being sought to become official guardians of the track.
The new ‘Friends of the Surf Coast Walk’ group will become stewards of the 44km walk, which is set to be a world-class walking destination and a valuable recreational and community resource.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Projects Manager Mike Bodsworth said the group would play an active role in the ongoing life of the track.
“The Surf Coast Walk is almost ready for launch and group will become a vital ingredient in the track’s long term success.
“We would love to hear from anyone interested in assisting us to protect, monitor, maintain and enhance it into the future,” he said.
Volunteers can contribute in a variety of ways depending on their interests and skills, and choose a section of track they are most interested in.
“Friends can monitor the track as part of their normal, regular, recreational use of it and report back on any issues – for example degraded sections or any overgrown areas or weeds.
“More active options will include minor track maintenance work, litter collection, trimming overgrowth or trackside planting and rehabilitation,” Mr Bodsworth said.
Volunteers will work with the three land managers involved in the Surf Coast Walk’s maintenance and upkeep – GORCC, Parks Victoria and Surf Coast Shire.
“The three agencies together with the friends group will care for and extend the lifespan of this coastal asset for the benefit of the community,” Mr Bodsworth said.
The Surf Coast Walk will be officially launched on 4 November 2012 in Anglesea at a free community event suitable for the whole family. The official opening will take place at 10am and be followed by free activities from 10.30am – 12.30pm.
“Those interested in learning more about or registering their interest for the Friends of the Surf Coast Walk group are invited to either contact us or come along to the launch event where there will be plenty of information and opportunities to register on the day,” Mr Bodsworth said.
The redevelopment of the Surf Coast Walk has been made possible thanks to funding from Regional Development Victoria GORCC and the Surf Coast Shire and support from a range of partners, including Parks Victoria.
The forum generated various ideas for the next steps that could be taken towards realising our future aspirations as coast carers. These ideas could be grouped into four key themes.
In the conversations we have from now onwards, we need to:
continue to talk about the BIG questions that we hold and find ways of communicating the key messages simply – with each other and with others (e.g. Why is our work important? What does it matter?)
create opportunities for more conversations between our community and the various agencies involved in coast care
look for opportunities where people are gathering to talk about related topics (e.g. fire management) and draw links to our purpose and activities, and
reframe the language we use when communicating with others (e.g. refer to ‘vegetation’ as ‘habitat’ – see Birds Australia publications for good examples of simple, accessible language).
We also need to use the stories we share as a foundation to:
create an ‘interpretive story’ for visitors to experience on the soon-to-be-built Surf Coast Walk
set a mission that everyone shares the stories (i.e. what we do and why) with as many people as we can and then invite them to join us in taking action
capture and share the great stories that we all know about (and start to actively collect these stories in words, photos and video), and
use our broader network to create its own online space that is accessible and simple, and allows local groups to upload and share stories, photos, event details, questions and video.
In the work we do together, we can start to:
fund and prioritise ongoing monitoring programs to inform our learning and outcomes
make our activities more visible to other people, starting with working bees and other activities on the Great Ocean Road (Note: during the forum, Coast Action/Coastcare provided a sign template that groups could use to promote their activities)
start to research and document (e.g. in a story) the extent to which we are ‘winning or losing’ the battle to save key ecosystem species/the war against environmental weed species, and
begin looking to the philanthropic sector as a possible funding source for our projects (e.g. www.ourcommunity.com.au).
By networking more we could:
find a central point of contact that works across all the agencies (e.g. Coast Action/Coastcare)
update our own lists of all current volunteer groups, starting with centralised information sources (e.g. Surf Coast Shire, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee), and
make the effort to do more ‘volunteer exchanges’ when doing on-ground works.
If we focus on implementing some or all of these ideas as we talk, share, work together and network, we will move forward together and achieve more on-ground success in caring for the coast!
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.
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 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.