Killarney resident Shane Howard said saving the Belfast Reserve was now a personal undertaking.
“I played at Killarney Beach as a boy,” he said. “This thing goes way back for me.
“I’ll fight for those dunes till the day I die.
“It’s ironic Purcell is calling for an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) on the impacts of any alteration to the Lady Bay, yet Levys is one of the most biodiverse areas along our coast and there is no call for an EIS on the impact of 120 horses a day.
“He can put the horse before the cart when it’s in his interests.
“Where is due process?”
Plovers, dunes, tides, dogs and horses were among the concerns raised by community members at the first Belfast Coastal Reserve Management Plan information session on Tuesday night.
The gathering at Port Fairy’s Community Services Centre was the first of two to be held in the south-west.
More than 50 Moyne residents met with staff from Parks Victoria and DELWP for an informal session regarding planned changes to future uses of the stretch of beach between Port Fairy and Warrnambool.
Parks Victoria’s Ben Hammond said the plan was about trying to please an array of reserve users including dog-walkers, beach-goers, recreational horse-riders and commercial horse trainers.
“It’s a reserve for conservation and recreation and we are trying to find a balance between the two.”
Community members said off-leash dog walking at the beach was “dull”, called for specific signage moving forward and questioned who would oversee regulations and fines.
Purcell is calling for an EIS on the impacts of any alteration to the Lady Bay yet Levys is one of the most bio diverse areas along our coastline and there is no call for an EIS on the impact of 120 horses a day.Shane Howard
Greens candidate for South-West Coast Thomas Campbell said while it was encouraging many community members had attended the event, questions still remained.
“I’m pleased the community attended and had a chance to ask their various questions but for me there are still so many questions I’d like answered.”