A few statements have been made around the recently announced the $5.2 million allocated to the 30km foreshore walking trail. The first by Andrew Constance on November 12th, 2020 "The funding will help with the construction of a 30km accessible walking track, starting at Observation Point in Batehaven - where a new lookout will be built - and stretching south along the headlands to Pretty Point near Mackenzies Beach" From the above statement the term WILL HELP indicates that the project will need further funding. Council also have used the word 'WILL' saying on their project webpage "Council will deliver a coastal walking trail to further enhance the area as a nature-based holiday destination." Council also says: -The trail is forecast to attract around 26,000 visitors a year.
- The direct spending associated with these visitors is approximately $0.4 million per year. We know that part of the $5.2 million is destined to upgrading Observation Point where the walk is to begin. Council, on its webpage states: Project: a coastal walking trail linking the headlands and beaches of Batemans Bay's southern shoreline, including construction of a lookout at Observation Point in Batehaven. Next comes the 30km track - but it isn't just a normal walking track but WILL BE a 30km ACCESSIBLE walking track Council say of the project: The Batemans Bay coastal headlands walking trail will be a 33km continuous walking track linking headlands and beaches, starting from a new lookout at Observation Point in Batehaven and stretching to Pretty Point at McKenzies Beach. The trail will also connect the retail centres of Batehaven, Surf Beach and Malua Bay with the broader network of walking and cycling trails at Batehaven and Batemans Bay.
The trail will be easy to navigate and feature interpretive signage, Aboriginal and European cultural and historical referencing, and viewing spots. It can be experienced as a single day walk or short walks over multiple days, linking into the popular National Parks four-day signature Murramarang walk. So we now know that it will be: 33km of continuous walking track It will link headlands and beaches It will start at Observation Point and finish at McKenzies Beach Lindsay Usher, Director of Planning advised the Member for Bega on November 12nd that : "There's a lot of informal walking tracks but this will enable us, enable the public, our visitors and locals to access public land on our coast and be able to walk from Observation Point all the way through to McKenzies Beach. A fantastic opportunity." From the above we learn that the Council have scoped out the walking track and it will be: 33km long, linking headlands and beaches and will provide access via public lands. How far is it from Observation Point to McKenzies if you trace the beaches and headlands? 13.59kms - so how did Council measure 33km?
Above: While Council says 33km of walking track and the local member says 30km we can only measure 14km at best along hostile clifftops and in front of the many prestigious clifftop properties that line the coast, unaware that Council wants to open their views and lawns to pedestrians by way of building accessible paths along clifftop public reserves. Possibly they were confused by the following taken from the Great South Coast Walk
OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS - November 2019 prepared by TRC Tourism. The Great South Coast Walk Opportunity Analysis was prepared by TRC Tourism to support the development of a Business Case and Action Plan for the development Great South Coast Walk. It is not in any detail and certainly does not have any elements that might be construed as an application for $5.2 million in funding.
Eurobodalla Council's Director of Planning,Lindsay Usher, advised on November 12th that the walking track will access public land and will connect beaches and headlands. For those not familiar with the headlands, the public reserves that act as a buffer between properties and the cliffs and the fact that there are many prestigious properties that are presently unknowing of the scheme to locate a accessible pedestrian pathway in their very expensive views without any consultation:
The above images might offer an idea that the proposed coastal walk will be encountering some very serious shrubbery and terrain. But Council must have a plan as they clearly state on their website: "The trail will be easy to navigate and feature interpretive signage, Aboriginal and European cultural and historical referencing, and viewing spots. It can be experienced as a single day walk or short walks over multiple days, linking into the popular National Parks four-day signature Murramarang walk." From Council's perspective it appears to be a done and dusted decision. The project has been announced on their website and the funding for it has been announced by the Member for Bega. But where is the consultation? There has been little to nothing at all of this project by way of detail brought before the Council or the community. Council did adopt the Eurobodalla Nature-Based Tourism Feasibility Study: Summary Report in December 2019 however it was simply a feasibility study. The report of December 2019 did state that "Grant funding has been applied for to deliver this project, and is awaiting the result from the relevant funding body." It now appears as thought the revelevent body is the Bushfire Economic Recovery (BLER) Fund The big question now is around the Bushfire Economic Recovery (BLER) Fund application from Eurobodalla Council.
Remarkably the BLER Fund applications opened on 27 October 2020 and just two weeks later, on November the 12th, 2020, Andrew Constance announced Eurobodalla was a successful applicant, even before applications close on 11th December 2020
Was there an application lodged by Eurobodalla Council ? If so did it meet the assessment criteria? All applications meeting the eligibility criteria must also meet the assessment criteria to receive funding, including: 1. Alignment with regional objectives 2. Local support and participation 3. Need for project 4. Feasibility 5. Enduring benefit And did it demonstrate that the project will support: the economic or social recovery of the LGA or region and the strengthening of community resilience. Successful applications must provide evidence the community supports the project. Evidence could include: • letters of support • minutes or reports from community meetings • community led funding proposals. The application must also demonstrate the project will optimise local and or indigenous employment and procurement opportunities. This could include work for local trades, services or other input businesses as well as potential for direct community employment on the project. Applications must also demonstrate the community has a need for the proposed project and its outcomes. This need can either be demonstrated through data analysis or through community driven interest in the project and its outcome. Applications must provide evidence the project has been adequately planned, costed and appropriate mitigation strategies are in place for identified risks. Applicants must provide: • a detailed and realistic project management plan • evidence that the project can be delivered by 30 June 2022 • confirmation that no serious planning, construction, zoning or other impediments exist for the delivery of the project • evidence the applicant has the necessary expertise to deliver the project or can access experienced and qualified personnel to support the project delivery • confirmation that all construction work delivered through the project would be delivered by builders accredited under the Australian Government Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme. In a Joint media release (Monday, 02 November 2020) with The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management and the Hon John Barilaro MP – $177 Million for 71 bushfire recovery projects in NSW the pair said: "Overall, more than $500 million has been set aside by the Australian and New South Wales governments to support projects that drive local economic, community and industry recovery in parts of New South Wales hit hard by the 2019-20 bushfires. This joint funding is being delivered in two ways:
Known priority, community and industry recovery projects such as the 71 projects identified by the NSW Government and agreed to by the Commonwealth Government, following local and industry consultation
Applications opened 27 October for project funding under the $250 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. Communities are encouraged to apply for grants of between $200,000 and $20 million. Grants are open to organisations such as councils, Joint Organisations of Councils, not-for-profit organisations, business chambers, industry associations and charities, research or academic organisations, State Government Corporations and Local Aboriginal Land Councils to deliver successful projects. For more information, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund
Project details for most of the 71 projects referred to above and announced on 2 November 2020 were posted HERE. The $5.2 million Eurobodalla Coastal Walk is not among those listed. Councillors, unaware it seems about the project must now ask themselves: "Who will be responsible for the depreciation and maintenance obligations, costs once completed ? Will it be the Council or the State Government?" "Has council made provisions in budgets, management and delivery plans for any associated costs ? And what will the provisions, as required, amount to on an annual basis in dollars?