AIDA’s policy with regard to pathways is to to support an environmentally and aesthetically sensitive policy for pathway construction.
Surf Coast Shire Pathway Strategy review 2011
In 2011 the Shire reviewed the pathway strategy that was adopted in 2006 with the intention of setting out priorities until 2022. Meetings were held at Aireys Inlet in June and July 2011, with advertisements placed in local press, but individual ratepayers were unfortunately not notified.
AIDA supports walking as the preferred way of getting around and enjoying our coastal townships and our natural surroundings. It was AIDA’s proposal early in 2004, for the development of an Aireys Inlet Pedestrian Strategy, which ultimately led Council to develop the current Pathways Strategy for the Shire in 2006. We supported the 2006 Pathways Strategy because it included only gravel paths in Aireys Inlet to Eastern View and our endorsement of the strategy was based on that specification. AIDA’s current viewpoint remains largely unchanged. We now understand that – so long as the pathway system is designed to be safe and convenient – opposition to concrete pathways has become even firmer in the local community since 2006.
Regarding the current review, we recommended that the key priorities for the design and implementation of the Pathways Strategy in our area should be:
- Protection of our informal local coastal village character by constructing any pathways in compacted gravel of a suitable standard, rather than of concrete, and employing an informal curved design rather than straight alignments;
- Retaining wherever possible the shared use of residential roads for both pedestrians and vehicles;
- Completing the establishment of a strategic framework of main pedestrian links between the key parts of our townships and also the key surrounding environmental attractions;
- Establishing additional pedestrian crossings over the Great Ocean Road;
- Where appropriate and required within residential areas, creating a limited number of pedestrian cross connections with the main strategic pathway framework;
- Establishing strategic linkages with the pathway systems of GORCC and DSE;
- Enhancing pedestrian connections with beaches, cliff tops and surrounding bushland, so as to provide improved recreational opportunities and reduced need for local car use and car parking.
Ian Godfrey – adapted from AIDA Newsletter article August 2011
Which Path? (Update December 2011)
At recent meetings about the shire’s pathway strategy review, it was clearly expressed that Aireys Inlet and district wanted curvilinear pathways made of gravel or granular sand. Concrete or exposed aggregate surfaces were not wanted, although it was agreed that sometimes these surfaces would be necessary – especially on steep slopes.
In a subsequent meeting with council officers, the shire’s viewpoint was expressed to AIDA. Director of Infrastructure, Sunil Bhalla, pointed out that the shire was guided by the Road Management Act. He said that the Act requires that roads be inspected at least once a year, and this is the frequency also used by the shire for paths. Sunil felt that, with a once a year inspection, the shire could not guarantee that all paths would be safe and the shire free of risk due to inadequate maintenance.
So we have a conflict between the desires of ratepayers and what the council sees as both responsible use of infrastructure funds and a ‘policy defence against litigants’. As stated in the August newsletter, AIDA remains convinced that our original proposal for gravel paths in our region is the correct solution.
AIDA notes that GORCC has not used concrete for the pathways it is constructing in Aireys Inlet (see photo below of the portion of the Surf Coast Walk between the Painkalac Bridge and the Aireys Inlet Reserve). The shire and GORCC therefore seem to have reached quite different conclusions with respect to the maintenance costs and risks of non-concrete pathways.
Gary Johnson AIDA Newsletter December 2011
Which Path to Follow? (Update April 2012)
The Surfcoast Shire’s draft 2012 Pathway Strategy Review – updating the 2006 version – was released in early 2012. However, at their 22 February meeting Surfcoast Shire councillors decided to confer on whether to amend its Pathways Strategy, or to drop it altogether and consider new ways of planning and funding pathways. The strategy has been controversial, especially since last year residents in Jan Juc rejected levies for footpaths, which many had opposed. As noted above, in recent years AIDA has made detailed submissions to the shire, supporting pathways which are either gravel or ‘natural’ (mown grass) and necessary to facilitate pedestrian access. We have consistently opposed other surfaces as out of keeping with the preferred rural character of our communities.
A noteworthy quote from the draft strategy, when referring to town paths, indicates that the message from the community got through. ‘Other less urbanized towns such as Aireys Inlet and Moriac have been identified with gravel town paths’. Our near neighbour, Anglesea, will get sealed town paths.
Although the fate of the draft strategy is yet to be decided, members of AIDA may be interested to see the relevant documents on the shire website: search under ‘Pathways Strategy’ for the 2012 Review, especially Part B, which has the full list of the shire’s desired pathways. There are 86 paths listed for consideration for construction in Aireys Inlet and district. Only four of these were scheduled for completion by the shire in the ten-year period of the strategy. The priority paths, giving path code, location and surface type, are:
PP1538 From 21 Inlet Crescent to 89 Great Ocean Road, concrete.
PP1198 Near Skate Park to Painkalac Bridge, gravel
PP1162 From Great Ocean Road to Bambra Road along eastern side of Painkalac Creek, gravel
PP1207 Aireys Street to Eagle Rock Parade beside Sandy Gully, surface not specified but probably gravel
The full list of 86 paths for Aireys and Fairhaven also includes pathways to be funded by other land managers including VicRoads, DSE and GORCC. We note that work has begun on the extension of the Surf Coast Walk between the end of the Painkalac Wetland Trail and Fairhaven Beach, near the Surf Life Saving Club’s beach access road. This development, reported in GORCC’s Coast News (for March 2012), will enable people to walk from Aireys Inlet to Fairhaven without using the Great Ocean Road. There is no indication when the other land managers will do their work but we hope some of the VicRoads crossings will be coordinated with other works like the Skate Park car park.
Peter McPhee and Gary Johnson AIDA Newsletter April 2012
Fairhaven to Aireys Inlet Pathway (update July 2012)
Final plans for a second pathway along the GOR between Fairhaven and Aireys Inlet were presented to AIDA at a meeting with the Surf Coast Shire’s Director of Infrastructure, Sunil Bhalla. This pathway, which has been funded by VicRoads to facilitate the movement of school children by foot and bicycle is to run alongside the north side of Great Ocean Road from the Bottom Shops to Fairhaven, will include a separate foot bridge alongside the main bridge over the Painkalac Creek. Unlike the gravel Surf Coast Walk which runs in parallel along the south side of the GOR, the new pathway is to be constructed in concrete, despite AIDA’s objections. Work is to begin before the end of the year. Mr Bhalla also presented preliminary plans for plantings and possible placement of bollards or rocks to deter dangerous parking on the verges of the GOR in the vicinity of the Food Store.
The Surf Coast Walk (update November 2012)
GORCC has officially launched the 44 km Surf Coast Walk, which is finished except for a section above Sunnymead and Urquhart Bluff that is due for completion in mid-December 2012.