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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lake Lorne pathway

On 4 February, DCSCA Committee members attended a briefing about the proposed pathway around Lake Lorne, convened by Bruce Humphries, of the Environmental Planning Department of the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG). The briefing took place at the Drysdale railway station and was attended by people from a wide variety of organizations, including the Bellarine Peninsula Railway, Vic Track (owners of the railway line), the local Pony Club, local schools and the Geelong Field Naturalists Society.

The pathway was suggested initially by DCSCA some time ago and it has taken quite a while to get to the stage of having a draft plan. However, this is public (Crown) land in which a wide variety of people have an interest, so getting to this stage was always likely to be a lengthy and complicated process. Also, as you'll see below, CoGG is proposing not just to install a pathway, but also to improve and upgrade aspects of the site overall.

The focus of the briefing was a draft plan, commissioned by CoGG from Thompson-Birrell, a firm of landscape architects. Thompson-Birrell has done other work for CoGG, including the Griggs Creek Rehabilitation Plan. Thompson-Birrell's Matt Bolton presented the draft plan and answered questions about it. In broad terms, the present proposals are:
  • to create a low-key, low-impact gravel path around the lake at the high-water mark of 2001
  • to create a parkland environment between the path and the boundary of the land
  • to retain thick grass between the path and the lake's edge, to deter dogs from attacking the waterfowl
  • to replace some of the non-native vegetation with local native plants
  • to upgrade aspects of the railway station's physical infrastructure
  • to ensure stakeholder support at each subsequent stage of the planning process.
There was significant concern about the present and future threat by dogs to waterfowl on the Lake, especially as some of these birds are rare or endangered species. DCSCA shares those concerns. DCSCA has also suggested that future drafts should highlight and celebrate the area's Indigenous heritage as a site used by the Wathaurong people.

The next stage is for Thompson-Birrell to produce a revised draft plan, drawing on comments at this briefing and at a 'walk and talk' around the Lake by various stakeholders that will happen in the next few weeks. CoGG will invite a broader range of stakeholders (including people living near the Lake) to comment on the revised plan; then a final plan, together with a budget to implement it, will be presented to a formal meeting of the Council, probably in mid-2010.

If you'd like to have your say about the Lake Lorne pathway project, you can do one or more of the following:
  • contact your local CoGG Councillor (John Doull or Rod Macdonald)
  • leave a comment below
  • contact DCSCA direct:
We'll post another report on this project after the 'walk and talk' around the Lake. In the meantime ...
for more about the Bellarine Peninsula Railway:

and for more more about the Wathaurong people:

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