Ocean Grove Nature Reserve upgrades
The Ocean Grove Nature Reserve has been identified as an area of outstanding environmental and cultural significance to be protected under the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Program. The reserve protects a unique environment, with scenic landscapes, which is under increasing pressure from urban encroachment and growing visitor numbers.
The $245,000 funding has been allocated to deliver upgrades at the reserve.
Parks Victoria has been consulting with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the Friends of the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve and prior to public consultation.
The Ocean Grove Nature Reserve facilities upgrade consultation ran from 1 December 2021 through to 16 January 2022, with drop-in sessions held on 10, 18 and 19 December 2021.
Feedback was received through a variety of methods, including an online survey, three onsite listening posts and encouraging written submissions via email.
Consultation was promoted through local media, on-site signage displaying the design options and social media posts on the Ocean Grove Community Noticeboard. There was also an on-site meeting with the Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve and targeted engagement with pre-schools, who use the reserve for Bush Kinder Programs.
Parks Victoria has re-assessed the scope of the proposed upgrade and discussed options with the Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, who have agreed to an amended proposal for the upgrades.
“The Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve have been working with Parks Victoria to revise the plans for facilities at the entrance to the reserve following the period of community consultation through December and January. The new plans complement the existing facilities across the reserve and will assist people from the Bellarine and beyond to enjoy the Reserve and connect with nature” said Peter Sullivan, President of the Friend of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve.
‘We’re really grateful to everyone who provided feedback on the options for the upgrades and especially to the Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, who continue to do amazing work in the reserve. We think we’ve ended up with a great design as a result!” said Stuart Lardner, Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger.
What we heard
Overall, 102 people responded to the consultation process, which sought feedback on two options. Two options were presented for comment. Option 1 was a long narrow parking area that goes further along Info Road; Option 2 was a compact design at the entrance to the park.
- 55 people responded that they objected to either option (50 in the survey, 5 written). Of these, when asked to explain their response, most people cited their preference to upgrade the existing picnic area and carparks and objected to the concept of a new toilet at the reserve entrance. Some people cited the removal of vegetation as the main reason for their objection, while a minority of people cited both infrastructure and vegetation removal for their objections.
- 15 people supported option 1
- 21 people supported option 2
- 11 people were happy with any improvement
- The final plans no longer include a toilet at the entrance of the reserve. Investigations into viability of the current toilet will continue.
- The number of car parks at the front of the reserve will be reduced to around 14, depending on revised designs with a bus turn around circle to be included in the final design.
- The bus turn around circle will remain following safety concerns and feedback from Bush Kinders and other park user observations.
- To allow for the bus drop off area, car parking, information and welcome signage, there will still be some vegetation removal, done in partnerships with the Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve. The friends group will assist in removing specimen ground cover plants, with conservation value, for further propagation and reuse within the project area and elsewhere at the reserve. To make room for these facilities around 100m of the Wallaby Fence will be moved to the south side of North Track.
- The proposed picnic area at the front of the reserve will progress with bush kinders and others expressing interest in having an area near the bus drop off. Parks Victoria will be careful to delineate the picnic area with bollards.
- Parks Victoria will also provide the new linkage from the front of the reserve to the existing all-abilities track network.
Over the next few weeks there will be some tree removal ahead of civil works to set out and establish the new bus drop off area, car park, realignment of the road, round-about, pedestrian paths and drainage structures. In order to complete these works safely there will be some short periods of interruption to access to the reserve.
Updated 28 April 2022