Update June 2017: The construction of the new pedestrian refuge at the Bottom Shops is due to be completed by the end of June.
The Surf Coast Shire consulted the community about the plans, and the extent of the works was altered in response to the feedback it received.
We are pleased that the plans to widen the entrance to Inlet Crescent were dropped after AIDA raised its concerns with the shire. These works were not related to the new crossing and would have been an unnecessary suburbanisation of the area.
The shire has had a detailed landscape plan developed with assistance from ANGAIR and it is seeking feedback. The plan can be found on the
Surf Coast Conversations web page: http://www.surfcoastconversations.com.au/aireys-inlet-pedestrian- crossing People are welcome to leave comments there.
Update March 30th 2017: The final design for the Inlet Bottom Shops pedestrian refuge is now locked in. At the Surf Coast Shire Council meeting on March 28th councillors approved final amendments to the plan for the refuge, adding to earlier changes requested by the community and AIDA over a lengthy feedback period. In all the changes included removing painted bicycle lanes, decreasing the amount of concrete kerbing, reducing the extent of removal of native vegetation to accomodate the works*, deleting the proposed enlargement and realignment of the entrance to Inlet Crescent* (except for some rounding of the corners), and VicRoads agreeing to reduce glare the night sky by installing a directional 198-watt light on an 8.5-metre pole instead of the 250-watt light on an 11-metre pole. A landscape plan for the area will be developed in consultation with ANGAIR, AIDA and the wider community.
* these features are unchanged on the next to final plan shown above.
Update February 2017: AIDA supports the concept of a pedestrian refuge to provide a safer crossing of the Great Ocean Road at the Bottom Shops but we remain concerned about the significant, and unrelated, works to the Inlet Crescent entry.
It is the committee’s view that widening the entrance to Inlet Crescent will encourage drivers to enter the area at greater speed and we asked the shire to review this aspect of the works.
The grassed and treed verge at Inlet Crescent acts as an informal chicane, forcing traffic coming off the Great Ocean Road to reduce their turning speed into an area where young children are playing and tourists and locals alike walk on the road.
In addition to the safety concerns, this proposal would result in the loss of screening vegetation and introduce a more suburban face to the area. This is against council’s Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Structure Plans, to ‘protect and enhance the small, low key, informal, non-suburban, vegetated coastal village character of the towns’.
AIDA is not persuaded about the need for bright lighting for the new refuge. Unfortunately, the requirement for a new light by the was not included with the information provided for community comment. Since early January we have been in discussion with council officers to reduce the height of the new pole and to change the type of light to achieve minimum light spill.
Update January 16th 2017: AIDA agrees that a pedestrian refuge is needed for crossing the Great Ocean Road between the Skate Park car park and the western end of the Bottom Shops. AIDA provided feedback on the original plans in late 2015 and early 2016 (see summary below) and it is pleasing to see some of our suggestions have been accepted although in the committee’s view they could have been resolved more simply.
The current schematic plan of the proposed pedestrian refuge at the Bottom Shops (see above) is on the Shire’s website for comment. The link is below:-
The AIDA committee will provide feedback to the Shire and we encourage members to review the plans and provide comment, which can be made via the link above, either directly on the web page, or by uploading a file containing your comments. Comments are due by February 10.
AIDA noted that throughout 2015 AIDA has been working with the Shire to develop the Eastern View to Aireys Inlet Structure Plan (which was adopted at the Shire’s November meeting). AIDA was concerned that two of the key directions to:
- Protect and enhance the environmental assets within and surrounding the towns to maintain the area’s natural beauty and attractive setting
- Protect and enhance the small scale, low-key, informal, non-suburban, vegetated coastal village character of the towns
were not well supported by the proposed plans for the refuge and that the draft plan was an over-engineered and suburban response to the issue, especially when compared to similar to the existing refuges in Aireys Inlet and Moggs Creek. Furthermore, when the Shire previously planned the additions to car parking along Inlet Crescent and surfaced the car park itself, there was every attempt to ensure the outcome was as natural as possible and did not scar the area.
Specific concerns raised were:
The proposal to widen the Great Ocean Road. AIDA was concerned at the impact this will have on the boobialla and moona – both fire retardent bushes – currently acting as a screen to the car park and play area which both softens the ugliness of the car park and provides a continuation of the “greenness” of this area. The widening of the road and the provision of additional laneways will increase the speed at which vehicles pass throught the area, thus making it more dangerous for pedestrians using the refuge.
The proposed widening of the entrance to Inlet Crescent. The current car parking entrance has been designed to be recessive with treed screening which adds to the naturalness of the area. This and the proposed widening of the west side of Inlet Crescent with a painted splitter island (that has unnecessary kerb and channel drainage) would throw up safety concerns as cars would be able to enter the car park and Inlet Crescent at greater speed in an area where young children are playing and tourists and locals alike use the road as a walkway.
The proposal to have painted bicycle lanes. AIDA noted that this would be a visual pollutant and unecessary. Again, this is a suburban, if not inner Melbourne, addition to bicycle lanes and we are not aware of painted bicycle lanes being used elsewhere along the Great Ocean Road. AIDA also noted that there is no bike lane along the Great Ocean Road through Aireys Inlet from Hopkins Street. Given this AIDA asked why a bike lane should be included in this draft proposal and whether or not Council would intend to widen the road through Aireys to accommodate a bike lane.
Original report on pedestrian refuge: In 2015, the Surf Coast Shire, with input from VicRoads, developed a draft plan to install a pedestrian refuge between the Bottom Shops and the playground, skate park and car park, due to be installed after Easter 2016.
The AIDA committee wrote to the shire to express significant concerns about the draft plan and to request an on-site meeting.
The proposed site for the refuge, which is well to the western end of the Bottom Shops, will mean many people will choose not to use it to cross the Great Ocean Road. It also requires a huge intrusion into the grassed area beside the car park and the loss of a lot of screening vegetation. It also includes lengths of curb and channel, a new light pole, green bike lanes and a loss of vegetation.
The entry to Inlet Crescent is to be widened so that it forms a more direct cross road over the Great Ocean Road into the Bottom Shops car park. This is unrelated to the works needed for the pedestrian refuge and was first raised during the Lighthouse Precinct traffic-planning discussions some years ago.
Representatives from the AIDA committee, the shire and VicRoads met on-site in late November to discuss the plans. It was a constructive meeting and AIDA was able to share its local knowledge and suggested moving the refuge about 12 metres to the east to the existing informal access point off the car park. This would remove the need for any impact to the grassy area and for the new light pole. We also asked for the curb and channel to be removed from the plan and any vegetation lost to be replaced. AIDA also argued that the green painted bike lanes are a suburban response, are not in use in any other places along the Great Ocean Road and should be removed.
There was a long discussion about the proposal to widen the entry to Inlet Crescent. It was acknowledged that these works are not related to the pedestrian refuge but a desire by VicRoads to avoid conflict between cars turning into the shop car park at the same time as a car turning into Inlet Crescent. AIDA’s position was that this is unnecessary and would make the entry more dangerous by increasing the speeds at which vehicles enter the area. AIDA also reported that they had never seen the conflict in vehicle movement.
The shire and VicRoads undertook to review the draft plan to investigate AIDA’s proposed improvements and get back to AIDA in the new year.
The shire contacted AIDA in early February 2016 with the revised plans. The only major change is the removal of the green painted bike lanes and two minor changes to reduce some concrete curbing and amount of new seal at Inlet Crescent.
The AIDA committee then wrote to the shire’s CEO with its continuing concerns about the impact of the pedestrian refuge, its placement and efficacy, the works to Inlet Crescent and our view that they are a suburban response that conflicts with the local character.
The shire has committed to providing the community with opportunities to comment on the plans before any final decisions are made. We will email AIDA members with details of the community consultation details once we have them.