Work to turn Port Campbell into a world-class destination is a step closer to starting.
At its August meeting, Corangamite Shire Council adopted the Port Campbell Township Revitalisation Design Development Report.
Drawing on previously completed community consultation and feedback, the thorough report spans strategic issues such as traffic management and pedestrian access, down to fine details about street furniture, paving, lighting and plantings. It will provide the basis for construction plans.
Coastal Ward Councillor Simon Illingworth said he was “absolutely chuffed” to move the recommendation. “I’d like to thank all the locals for their input. It’s been really good. I’d also like to say a special thanks to the committee,” he said.
Cr Illingworth said the plan incorporated a long list of features the community had requested.
“There’s al fresco dining on the foreshore, which was asked for by some of the restaurants. There’s the use of timber, and better use of the foreshore pines to get out of the sun and to view the ocean,” he said.
“The fishos’ and surfers’ car park has remained the same, which was requested. There’s also a fishos’ and surfers’ lookout up the top which is retained and upgraded. It will not be sealed and the idea behind that is to keep it relatively local.
“The streetscape will be pedestrian-friendly and much safer for people to move around. The 90-degree car parking on the foreshore is retained as per the petition that we received previously, and I thank the people who put that together.
“We have a wider main road than was first planned. That will cater for professional fishermen. The foreshore road will remain open and two-way as it relieves the congestion in the main road.”
The project will link together other strategic projects currently being completed, including the Twelve Apostles Trail, the new pedestrian bridge over Campbells Creek and future trails to the 12 Apostles and Great Ocean Walk.
“We have a well-renowned artist who will work with us and her role will be to put a spotlight on Port Campbell – that raw and harsh environment we have – the flora and fauna. And I dare say she will touch on the courage that Port Campbell is well known for, since indigenous people were hunting there right through the shipwrecks and in recent years with the surf club heroes.”
Cr Illingworth said the design would change the way Port Campbell does business, encouraging visitors to stay longer rather than stopping for small purchases and moving on.
“The pace of tourism will slow down, and Port Campbell will cater for a higher yield and lower numbers. People will be staying in Port Campbell and not only buying a souvenir, but they’ll be buying accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“This design positions Port Campbell as a booming food and beverage town. The design itself is extremely high quality. It’s high expense. Over $15 million is not small change. This is without a doubt the greatest investment Port Campbell has ever had.”
Cr Illingworth said the time was right for the project with businesses quiet because of the coronavirus tourism downturn.
“I’ve heard time and again from the locals: ‘While it’s quiet, please get this done’,” he said.
“Now I’m happy to say it’s time we hand this to the experts to finish it off. It’s also time for the State and Federal governments to listen to the people and fund this important project for both the locals and the region.”
There will be further community consultation about the integrated artwork and street trees before the tender construction plans are put out to tender.