Rock barriers scheme concerns beach user

PARKS Victoria was taking a “heavy handed” approach with a plan to install a line of boulders on the sand at The Basin, east of Killarney beach, a regular user of the coastline says.

Jenny Fawcett, a former Killarney resident now of Warrnambool, said Parks Victoria planned to install the line of boulders from the dunes to the low tide mark to deter four-wheel-drive vehicles from using the beach and protect the nests of endangered hooded plovers.

Mrs Fawcett said while she agreed with keeping 4WD vehicles off the beach, she had written to the state government to call for the project to be halted until more community consultation was undertaken.

She is concerned that signs have been placed at the beach saying that work on the rock barrier is to start this month when people have not been given enough chance to comment.

“People are being presented with a fait accompli,” Mrs Fawcett said.

She is also concerned that no scientific study appears to have been done on the effect of creating the line of boulders.

The rocks could also disadvantage legitimate beach users, such as fishermen and  horse riders, she said.

“They (Parks Victoria) are changing the landscape of the area without understanding of the impact on the shared space.”

A Parks Victoria spokesman said it was talking to beach users and interested groups about the plans and the reaction so far had been positive.

The spokesman said the rock barrier was the latest effort to stop vehicles driving illegally on beaches between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

Parks Victoria, in consultation with Moyne Shire and Victoria Police, will use the rock barrier to separate an area of beach used legitimately by vehicles launching boats, from the longer expanse of beach where driving was not allowed. 

Parks Victoria ranger Ben Hammond said it received persistent reports of vehicles joyriding for several kilometres along The Basin beach, which was illegal and causing community concern.

“It risks injury to beach users from collisions and detracts from people’s enjoyment of the quiet outdoors, including surf anglers and tourists on local horse riding tours. 

“It is also environmentally unsustainable as it interrupts beach-nesting birds, which are protected.

“The 10 large rocks we are sourcing are basalt, which will match the stone in the local environment as much as possible.

“They will be spaced across the beach so that walkers and horse riders can pass freely through the gaps, but cars cannot,” Mr Hammond said. 

Installation of the rocks is planned for late October. 

Parks Victoria said it wanted to talk to interested people or groups that might be affected by the rock barrier. 

People interested should call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 for further information.

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