A bold plan to remove traffic and parking from the foreshore area to make way for a pedestrian promenade, amphitheatre and “dunescape” is among the ideas for a multi-million dollar redevelopment of Port Campbell’s town centre.
The town centre draft concept plan was unveiled at a packed community meeting on Tuesday night.
The pedestrian-friendly foreshore is one of the major changes. The town would lose 42 parking spaces under that plan, but gain them back in other areas of the town.
Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard said removing vehicle access was a worry for many at the meeting.
“There is going to be that concern that people want to park at the foreshore,” she said.
Cr Beard said the town overhaul, which would cost about $10 million to complete, would encourage visitors to explore.
“We want people to take their time, get out of their cars and enjoy the place,” she said.
“The focus is on the foreshore and that’s the heart of Port Campbell.
“It’s a sympathetic design that really blends in well with the natural environment.”
Cr Beard emphasised it was a draft plan, and the community’s views would help shape its future.
“This is the first impression. We need to get the look and the feel and the practicality right,” she said.
“We need the community’s help on this.”
Port Campbell resident Jon McLeod said he was pleased with some design elements, such as a jetty-style path up Lord Street, while remaining undecided on others.
“I was happy to see that they took a fairly bold approach in making changes in Port Campbell,” he said.
“If they left it pretty much the way it was it wouldn’t create discussion.
“The main issue on the night was parking and people worried about the loss of parking on the foreshore area.
“Personally, I want to think about it further, there are pros and cons, I’d want to see more work on that, it’s early days.”
Mr McLeod said if a pedestrianised foreshore went ahead, a future option could be annexing some of the caravan park land near the surf lifesaving club to use as a car park and park area.
The proposal for a bus arrival centre on Lord Street also raised some concerns, Mr McLeod said, as businesses were worried about the impact on trade.
Port Campbell businesswoman Sue Younis, who has called the town home for 36 years, said the bus parking was also a concern because it was planned for an area the community had transformed into a market and community space.
Ms Younis said combining the needs of locals and tourists in Port Campbell was “a mighty challenge”. While the growing number of Great Ocean Road tourists had to be catered for, so too did the needs of those who lived there year round, she said.
Ms Younis put forward the idea of creating a new petrol station, car park, museum and information centre at the eastern edge of the town where the transfer station is located, which would allow visitors to walk into the CBD, or for the development of a park and ride service.
“When the town is really, really busy you can have a bit of control… and it will have minimal impact on the rest of the town,” she said.
Ms Younis said removing carparking from the main street, where locals parked for the supermarket, post office and other essentials, was a concern. Having a pedestrian-friendly town was good in theory, Ms Younis said, but Port Campbell’s weather would not always make it practical.
“Understanding how the town works is really important,” she said.
The design highlights in brief:
- No vehicle access, except for emergency services and deliveries.
- Paved pedestrian promenade with outdoor dining areas.
- Shade pergolas and outdoor seating.
- Lawn “dunescape” formed by grassed mounds to create areas of shelter and sitting.
- Town plaza area for markets and events.
- Amphitheatre gathering space for events and performances.
- New footpath on west side of street.
- Additional parking bays.
- Vehicle turn-around space for longer vehicles.
- Opportunity to re-orientate holiday park cabins.
- Timber, pier-style footpath from public reserve to the headland to encourage exploration of the headland and surrounding area.
- Pedestrian priority and slow traffic speeds.
- Native street trees and planting.
- Decks at different levels within the street to be used as seating.
- Angle parking replaced with parallel parking, allowing for wider footpaths.
- Proposed bus/visitor park and ride arrival deck.
Old Ocean Road and Upper Cairns Street:
- Two options: Retention of access to Old Great Ocean Road. Option two: Alternative access to Old Great Ocean Road car park, opportunity for long-stay parking on upper Cairns Street.
The full plans can be viewed at www.corangamite.vic.gov.au or in person at the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre, Parks Victoria office and Port Campbell General Store until February 12. Feedback forms are also available for people to have their say.