Plan seeks a balance on coastal development

FEEDBACK  on a proposed western Victorian coastal management plan has given a clear indication that people don’t want it loved to death.

Instead, they want a balance between access and protecting the environment.

The Western Coastal Board has gleaned a wide range  of views after meetings in Warrnambool, Portland, Colac, Apollo Bay and Anglesea to gather information for a draft coastal plan expected to be released later this year.

Another round of public consultation is scheduled before the final plan is released early 2015.

“The one issue identified by most submissions is that the coast is valuable and a balance is needed between providing more access for people and managing natural values,”  board chairman Jill Parker said.

 “Submissions also identified the importance of  protecting environmental values of the coast to make sure it isn’t loved to death and the need to plan for climate impacts on the coast.”

Other issues put forward included: the need to make sure local community values and needs are covered by the plan; working across boundaries, protecting inputs into estuaries, inlets and wetlands on a regional scale;  environmental laws need to  be enforced (eg. jet skis, dogs, migratory birds); rules and limits for further commercial development of the coast.

“We have also undertaken cultural awareness training and formed an Aboriginal advisory group and are looking to improve our interaction with traditional owners who have a strong connection with coastal areas,” Ms Parker said.

Submissions came  from local government, catchment management authorities, VicRoads, water corporations and various community and environment groups.

Work has also been undertaken to produce similar plans for the central and east coasts of Victoria.

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