COMMUNITY groups at Port Franklin and Walkerville are celebrating the news that their grant applications to the State Government’s Coastal Environments Program have been successful.
The Port Franklin Public Purpose and Recreational Reserves committee will receive $80,000 in funding under the 2015-16 Coastal Environments Program – Public Access and Risk.
Residents and visitors to Port Franklin will be able to admire the view, spot birds and watch the comings and goings of boats, with the money to be spent on the construction of a timber viewing platform to replace the old steel platform beside the water on the corner of Bowen and South streets.
The platform will have a gently sloping ramp to allow access for all, including people with walking sticks, walkers or wheelchairs.
“Hopefully, this will increase the number of people able to access the viewing platform,” said committee president Mal Heywood.
He said the committee was very grateful for the work done by committee secretary Pat Hopkins and Angie Gutowski from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to secure the grant. Ms Gutowski is the senior environmental planner at DELWP Yarram.
Mr Heywood said the platform will be constructed by local builders. Thrilled to receive the funding, he is hopeful of having the project completed by the end of next March.
Meanwhile, the Walkerville Foreshore Reserve committee of management is to receive $20,000 from the same program.
The money will be used to construct steps across the rock wall beside the beach at Walkerville North. This is part of a major project the committee is working on with the aim of beautifying the coastal strip from the hall to the boat launching area and improving access to the beach.
Margaret Robertson, treasurer of the Walkerville Foreshore Reserve committee, said the steps would be constructed next year.
She said that applying for grants was ongoing for the committee. Earlier this year the committee was successful with its application for a Local Landscape Enhancement Grant. In April it received $15,000 to revegetate the caravan park that it looks after at Walkerville.
Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien enthusiastically welcomed the injection of money into his electorate.
“Providing locals and visitors with safe and easy access to the area’s waterways and coastal locations is vital, and these projects will make it more enjoyable for people of all abilities to relax by the water,” he said.
“Locals know that it’s important to protect the natural environment and ensure that it’s accessible for all people, as many of these coastal communities rely on the tourist trade.
“In addition, residents in South Gippsland live in the best part of the state for a reason, and that is it’s magnificent, therefore it’s important that areas such as Walkerville and Port Franklin are protected for generations to come.”