Parks Victoria (PV) are currently in the process of creating a “Master Plan and Business Case for future Government investment in the You Yangs and Serendip Sanctuary”.
Submission deadline is 16 October.
The public has not been formally invited to make submissions, but instead a survey has been created. We (Echidna Walkabout & Koala Clancy Foundation) have not seen any paid advertising* of the process, and PV has relied on their web and stakeholders to distribute the survey. “Input” and “feedback” is sought from the public online through the survey, which is leading, poorly-explained at times and leaves little room for comment.
There will be two Public Drop-In Sessions on 10 October and 12 October (which, to our knowledge, have not been advertised* in any local or regional media yet). Late-in-the-process meetings leave little time for the community to make an informed submission. Not advertising* these meetings in the media almost ensures a poor turnout.
PUBLIC DROP-IN SESSIONS:
- Little River, Mechanic’s Institute Hall, Thursday, 10 October 2019, 4:30 – 6:30pm
- Lara, Lara Hall Saturday, 12 October 2019, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Parks Victoria are required and expected to consult with the community. In fact their own Statement of Obligation between the Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change and Parks Victoria states on page 2:
4. GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
4.1 (c) “the community should be placed at the centre of park planning and management”
We are concerned that this process does not put the community at the centre of park planning.
In addition, the Terms of Reference of the project have not been publicly disclosed.
So we asked for the Terms of Reference and received these answers: (our questions in bold)
1. What are the Terms of Reference for your contract?
Consultants at GHD have been engaged to:
- review the current visitor experience at the You Yangs and Serendip Sanctuary
recommend improvements to facilities and the visitor experience
- investigate opportunities to protect and enhance the history of Traditional Owners, including developing cultural tourism concepts
- consider the wildlife and environmental aspects of the site
- analyse opportunities to diversify the current popular mountain bike offering
- consider how visitation could be dispersed across the region to balance the expected increase in visitation to the area with growing nearby populations and the commencement of international arrivals at Avalon airport
- develop a master plan to inform the business case
2. What are the Business Case objectives of the project?
This project will produce a Masterplan and Business Case for potential options to revitalise You Yangs Regional Park and Serendip Sanctuary.
The Business Case will examine the economic feasibility of identified options and ideas, and will be submitted to the state government for consideration.
Given that Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine are closely associated with the project:
- what are the specific tourism based objectives that you are considering?
- have you been asked to consider a business model for international wildlife tourism into the region?
The Business Case will explore the feasibility of options to revitalise the area, increasing visitation and contribution to the local economy.
Options will be identified through stakeholder engagement and input, however upgrades to the park’s existing trail network; creation of new connections to nearby towns; capitalising on proximity to Geelong, Avalon Airport and Melbourne; and enhancing the area’s significant Aboriginal cultural values are all important aspects that will be considered.
At this early stage in the process there are no specific business models being proposed or considered.
3. Can you tell me who the Project Control Group comprises of?
To make a submission or fill out the survey click here. DEADLINE 16 October.
Echidna Walkabout & Koala Clancy Foundation
4 October 2019
NOTES, LINKS & REFERENCES:
*advertising: there appears to have been no paid advertising in the media as yet. Like for planning applications, we would expect to see paid ads in local papers for a public meeting of this importance. We have found one mention on a Bay FM blog, which may have come about from a press release from PV, or from an alert from a member of the public.
Parks Victoria Statement of Obligation: https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/729419/Special-gazette-SOO.pdf