THE Walkerville Foreshore Committee of Management will press on with plans to raise the sea wall and formalise parking in Bayside Drive in a project to render the Walkerville North foreshore safer and more attractive.
South Gippsland Shire Council voted in last week’s council meeting to issue a permit for the $600,000 project. As reported in last week’s Mirror (24/8/16), the vast majority of the project is being funded by the committee, with some assistance from government grants. Council, which has become responsible for the road in recent years, will contribute $130,000 towards the realignment and improvement of the roadway.
Councillors voted unanimously to proceed with the development, subject to a raft of conditions. This was only after some discussion, however, during which Cr Don Hill suggested there had been insufficient public consultation and Cr Andrew McEwen expressed concern that there were objectors in the community who might be tempted to take the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Cr Jim Fawcett said it was farcical to make a decision on the basis of whether someone was threatening to do something, especially since the rumoured VCAT appeal centred not on a planning issue but on the level of public consultation.
The mayor, Cr Bob Newton, acknowledged there had been some disquiet in the community, but reminded councillors that he had suggested the disputing parties get together and sort out any remaining differences and they had done just that during the week.
“Let’s hope common sense prevails,” he said. We need to move on,” he told Council.
The president of the foreshore committee, Bill Bray, reported back to Council on the morning of the meeting that stakeholders had indeed got together and had, he believed, ironed out their differences. There was agreement, he said, that strengthening and raising the rock wall was a priority, along with more parking.
“Storm surges are getting worse and the wall needs substantial work soon,” he told Council. “I believe there’s some urgency.” He acknowledged that the committee could perhaps do better when it came to consultation, adding that it had given a firm commitment to continuing to consult widely as the project went forward.
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