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Fort Queenscliff

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Community Solar Bulk-buy Initiative

The local Community Environment Alliance has launched a solar bulk-by initiative.  Details can be found on the Borough of Queenscliffe’s website at this link here:  http://www.queenscliffe.vic.gov.au/cea/projects/current-projects/item/solar-bulk-buy-project-ready-to-go

Now closed. BoQ may re-open Bulk Buy in the future. Please see above URL for more information.

Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve

Status of Council Deliberations

On 22 October the Borough Council approved the preparation of a detailed feasibility and financial analysis of Option 2 (Landscape Improvements) in its Discussion Paper but expanded to include a list of suggestions made by the community based Project Reference Group.  The Council also decided that this should include a financial assessment of possible sources of both capital funds and recurrent costs.

Details of Option 2 being assessed can be found here:

Pt Lons Lighthouse Reserve Option2 (BoQ&Ref Group) 2014

For more information about the Council decision, see the latest PLCA Newsletter (link on home page)

Project Reference Group Meeting

The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve Project Reference Group met on 5 September to consider the results of the community consultation process and to develop a recommendation on which of the four options should be subject to further consideration. The Reference Group consists of 10 community members with one being a PLCA representative.  Also participating in the meeting were the Mayor, Cr Helene Cameron, Cr Sue Wasterval, Council officers and consultants from Planisphere.  The Reference Group had been provided with a report on the outcomes of the community consultation, which was subsequently published on the Borough website.  A copy of report can be found here:

http://www.queenscliffe.vic.gov.au/images/PLLR_Community_Consultation_Outcomes.pdf

The following categories of survey responses were covered in the report:

  • Survey responses (842 surveys)
  • Submissions (43 submissions)
  • Newspaper cut-out slip (77 received)
  • Petitions (1,084 signatures)
  • Friends of the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve Facebook Page (no details of analytics data provided)

The report noted that multiple forms of response were provided by some. It states that “in total, feedback was received from 1,641 individual people/organisations, either in one or multiple forms, with 256 people/organisations providing feedback in more than one form”. The Planisphere consultants observed that the response was extraordinarily high for a community survey of this nature.It was clear from all categories of survey response that Option 3 (eco-accommodation) and Option 4 (spa and boutique accommodation) are not supported and that Option 2 (landscape improvements) is the preferred option. This conclusion is supported by the following outcomes:

  • 68% of complete survey responses nominated Option 2 as the 1st preference
  • 58% of submissions stated “no commercial development” and 51% stated “landscape improvements only”
  • The newspaper cut-out published by PLCA rejected Options 3 and 4
  • The petition was in support of Option 2 with environmental enhancements
  • A huge number of likes and supporting comments were posted on the Facebook page which is “Dedicated to keeping the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve in public hands, stopping all commercial development and enhancing environmental attributes of the site”
  • 12.5% of complete survey responses nominated Option 1 (no change) as the 1st preference, 11.5% nominated Option 3 and 8.0% nominated Option 4

The community members of the Reference Group were asked to vote confidentially for one of the following “to progress to detailed planning and feasibility analysis”:

  • Option 1 (no change)
  • Option 2 (landscape improvements)
  • Option 3 (eco-accommodation)
  • Option 4 (thermal spa and boutique accommodation)
  • None of the Options should progress to detailed planning and feasibility analysis

It was announced that all votes were in favour of Option 2.  At the same time the Reference Group members strongly urged the Council to consider a refined version of Option 2 and proposed a process to ensure community engagement and support for the final plan.  The Reference Group members subsequently provided more details in writing to the Council about the general process proposed plus both short term and medium term improvements to the Reserve.  The Reference Group also recommended starting a community engagement process to determine the appropriateness of National Park status for the Reserve and the surrounding area (see more on this below).  The full text of the communication from the Reference Group to the Council can be found here:http://www.lonsdalelighthousereserve.org/a-new-vision.html

As well as the details provided by the Reference Group, PLCA provided additional input to the Council on an enhanced version of Option 2 based on resolutions passed by members and feedback at meetings. The PLCA President wrote:

It is our belief that our members wish to see the site preserved and maintained for future generations and in this context wish to see interpretive works undertaken to highlight the unique qualities of such a significant site. As part of this thinking research as to protections under historic sites, national park status and management should also be investigated.  The historical, environmental, maritime, indigenous, military, social and navigational need to be celebrated.  Interpretive signage, improved roads and pathways, a more orderly parking area, picnic and BBQ facilities, improved access to the lighthouse, a ship viewing area and information, weed management, toilet upgrade (a new toilet and shower block) and maintenance, removal and /or maintenance of Toc H buildings and graffiti removal are all high on the agenda. The community is emphatic in its view that new building works are not part of the project.

Finally, the Reference Group recommended to the Council that it continue to operate in order to provide input to the Council on the future of the Reserve, but also suggested other similar process options. The Borough subsequently has confirmed that the Reference Group has concluded in accordance with its Terms of Reference but also advised that it up to the Council to determine the future process for the Lighthouse Reserve project.

National Park Option

One option under discussion in the community is the declaration of the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve and surrounding area as a National Park. PLCA has met with the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) to understand the pros and cons of declaration as a National Park.  VNPA has demonstrated particular interest in the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve and concern was expressed about potential Council developments in the reserve in its comprehensive review of coastal development published earlier this year (The Coast is Unclear – the uncertain future for nature along the Victoria coast).

A National Park option is described in the submission made by Andrew Sutherland to the Historic Places Investigation discussed in the next section of this newsletter. Andrew is a member of the Lighthouse Reference Group and has been active in various efforts to protect the future of the Reserve.  Andrew also participated in the PLCA meeting with VNPA.  A copy of his Historical Places submission can be found here:  http://www.veac.vic.gov.au/submissions/published/8648-HP_Subs_NOI_0021_Andrew_Sutherland.pdf

VNPA has made a statement on the Lighthouse Reserve which includes the following: Deciding the most appropriate type of protection under the National Park Act is complex and would require considerable amount of community and expert input.

The VNPA statement can be found here and includes a link to the “Coast is Unclear” study: http://vnpa.org.au/page/publications/nature-news-hub/point-lonsdale-lighthouse-reserve

The PLCA Committee supports the recommendation to the Council made by the Reference Group to start a community engagement process to determine the appropriateness of National Park status for the Reserve and surrounding area. PLCA will seek input from members on the National Park option as appropriate and in the light of the Council’s decisions regarding the Reserve at its October meeting.

Historic Places Investigation by VEAC

Earlier this year the Victorian Government requested the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) to undertake an investigation into Historic Places on public land in Victoria. The role of the VEAC is to conduct investigations that are requested by the Victorian Government relating to the protection and ecologically sustainable management of the environment and natural resources of public land. By co-incidence, this includes investigations regarding whether a particular area should be declared a National Park.  VEAC must provide a report on the Historic Places Investigation to the Minister for Environment and Climate Change by March 2016.  The deadline for public submissions in the first stage of the investigation was 8 September.

PLCA has made a submission to VEAC regarding the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve and surrounding areas which PLCA considers to be an historic place in terms of the Investigation. The submission urged (1) greater controls to prevent large scale commercial development in historic places, (2) greater enforcement of the requirements of management authorities responsible for historic places such as the Borough, and (3) greater scrutiny of the expenditure of income generated from historic sites.

The key submission by PLCA was made under the heading “Halt Inappropriate Development on Historic Place”. PLCA submitted in relation to the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve that a development such as a boutique accommodation and thermal spa, or indeed any form of accommodation or restaurant, should not be allowed to proceed on the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve until after the Historic Places Investigation has been completed and recommendations considered by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change”.

A copy of the PLCA submission can be found here on the VEAC website: http://www.veac.vic.gov.au/submissions/published/8644-HP_Subs_NOI_0017_Point_Lonsdale_Civic_Association_Inc.pdf

PLCA sent a copy of its submission to the Council and asked whether it had made a submission to the Historic Places Investigation. We have been advised that no submission was made after consideration of the Terms of Reference of the Investigation.  However, the Borough has provided PLCA a copy of a letter it wrote to VEAC “the purpose of which was to clarify some of the information provided in the PLCA submission”.  The Borough outlined the various planning considerations applicable to the Reserve and provided details of the process it is undertaking to determine the future of the Reserve.

As mentioned in the item above regarding the National Park Option, Andrew Sutherland also made a submission to VEAC (see copy of submission via link in previous item). Andrew’s extensive submission contains a very interesting and detailed description of the historical nature of the area including a large number of photos and graphics.  His submission outlines site management options for the Point Lonsdale site and highlights deficiencies in the roles of Committees of Management of such sites.