Over the next few years we will be considering the ways many elements of the Nature Parks are enhanced and presented. We will also be undertaking extensive work to identify the best possible ways to manage the unique natural and cultural assets in our care.
In parallel, we are also at a critical stage in our normal five-year planning cycle, during which time we must complete a number of key plans including our Strategic and Environment Management Plans.
- South and North Coast Key Area Plan
- Churchill Island Key Area Plan
- Environment Plan 2012-2017
- Strategic Plan 2012-2017
- Summerland Peninsula Conceptual Framework
South and North Coast Key Area Plan
Phillip Island Nature Parks presented the final draft of their South and North Coast Beaches Key Area Plan to stakeholders and community members in a series of information sessions held this week. The plan was well received and will now be presented to Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Board for approval.
Over 60 people attended the sessions held at the Newhaven Hall representing Bass Coast Shire Councillors, representatives of key community groups along with interested community members.
The session began with a summary of findings of the ‘Coastal Processes Study’ recently commissioned by the Nature Parks. The extensive study, undertaken by leading experts in the field, provides a comprehensive understanding of Phillip Island’s geology and geomorphology and the coastal processes affecting the coastline. It was well received by participants with one community member describing it as: “very important work for Phillip Island”.
“This comprehensive study provides the evidence we need to make informed decisions about managing our coastline,” said Matthew Jackson, Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Chief Executive Officer.
Participants were then provided with a summary of the final draft ‘South and North Coast Key Area Plan’.
“It is important to note that nature conservation is the key guiding principle for this plan,” said Mr Jackson. “Along with the premise that people should be able to enjoy reasonable and safe access to the coast.”
The plan identifies key guiding principles and a high level strategic framework for managing the beaches along the south coast of Phillip Island from Woolamai to Summerland Peninsula, and in the north from Ventnor to Summerland Peninsula.
It includes a site-by-site analysis of issues and opportunities for each location such as Cape Woolamai, Forrest Caves, Smiths Beach, YCW and Summerland Beach. It also focuses on more strategic actions including the need for reviewing management jurisdiction and focussing on improved connections between areas for visitors and locals.
The community engaged in lively discussion about the presentations asking many questions and offering their ideas and input. Topics of discussion included meeting the demands of increased visitors to the island, changing coastal weather patterns and walking paths.
The Key Area Plan will now be presented to the Phillip Island Nature Parks Board at the October meeting where it is expected that it will be endorsed.
Once the plan is approved, the Nature Parks will commence implementation of the strategies including more detailed assessments of each site in line with the overall guiding principles.
“The community will remain informed throughout the implementation process and have the opportunity to be involved as we work through the actions outlined in the plan. We thank everyone for attending and their support for this important planning work for Phillip Island Nature Parks,” said Mr Jackson.
Copies of the presentations given at the sessions, along with ongoing updates can now be found at www.penguins.org.au/local-community with a final summary of the South and North Coast Beaches Key Area Plan estimated by the end of October.
If you require further information, contact Hayley Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 5951 2804.
Sally O’Neill - Community and Communications, Phillip Island Nature Parks
Call 0408 101 976
Churchill Island Key Area Plan
Phillip Island Nature Parks recently held a Community Information Session about the exciting future plans for Churchill Island.
“The session completed over seven months of work including extensive development with a wide range of key stakeholders,” said Matthew Jackson, Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Chief Executive Officer.
“This Plan details a positive future for Churchill Island which maximises Churchill Island’s potential and where each user group is catered for and the Island’s values are not compromised.”
The Plan was received positively by the small gathering of community members. It was explained that it is not a Master Plan, but a 15-year strategic overview that outlines the exciting ‘big picture’ for Churchill Island.
As well as identifying Churchill Island’s key attributes and their value to the community, the Plan offers the concept of unique ‘precincts’ to showcase these special attributes including heritage, environment, events and functions.
This will be achieved through working with partners such as Bass Coast Shire Council to create a ‘hub’ for the Bass Coast community and a place for people to discover the region’s history, beauty, produce and talents. The Plan outlines a modest, sensible investment strategy using high quality infrastructure.
“It is important to note that, once the Plan is finalised, we are committed to developing a detailed Conservation Management Plan” said Mr Jackson.
As per existing conditions, no permanent accommodation will be created on the Island.
The group agreed that one of the main challenges is the entry to Churchill Island from Phillip Island Tourist Road. The Nature Parks intends to work with community, Bass Coast Shire Council and Vic Roads towards a future solution.
Environment Plan 2012-2017
What is the Environment Plan
As a Committee of Management under Victoria’s Crown Land Reserves Act 1978, our Board is required to set out its intentions for the management of Phillip Island Nature Parks. The main ways we do this are through our five year Strategic Plan, which has just been completed for the period 2012-2017, and our five year Environment Plan, which is in the final draft stages after extensive community and stakeholder engagement.
The Environment Plan will establish our key goals and priority actions for the protection and enhancement of the natural and cultural assets in our care within the Nature Parks, including:
- Vegetation management
- Fauna conservation
- Pest animal and plant management
- Tracks, trails and pathways
- Public access
- Risk management
How was the Environment Plan 2012-2017 be developed?
Our Environment Department is responsible for the development of the Environment Plan. Because some of the areas addressed in the plan are of significant public and stakeholder interest, extensive consultation has taken place with the general community, local groups and organisations, and experts in the area of conservation and environmental management.
The Environment Plan draws on the ‘Asset Based Environmental Management’ approach currently being introduced by the Department of Sustainability and Environment and other key natural resource managers in Victoria.
Environment Plan 2012-2017 (5MB)
Strategic Plan 2012-2017
The Strategic Plan 2012-2017 is the Nature Parks’ road map for the future. It sets out the main directions we will take in the next five years, and establishes our long-term goals.
Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Strategic Plan 2012-2017 was developed over a six month period in 2011. Its development involved significant consultation with our staff, local community and interest groups, and key Nature Parks stakeholders.
A draft plan was released in September 2011 with five weeks for public comment. A total of 40 responses were received from a broad range of individuals and organisations in response to the first draft plan. Significant amendments were made as a result of our community’s suggestions and input.
The Environment Plan has been approved by the Minster for Environment and Climate Change, and released to our staff, community and stakeholders.
Summerland Peninsula Conceptual Framework
What is happening at the Summerland Peninsula?
In 2010, a 25 year program by successive Victorian governments was completed with the buyback of the Summerland Estate - a residential development which impacted significantly on the Summerland Peninsula’s little penguin colony to the point that the birds risked extinction. The former estate is now incorporated into Phillip Island Nature Parks.
We now have an extraordinary opportunity to enhance the unique mix of landscape, seascape, flora and fauna that the Summerland Peninsula represents, and to create a world-class destination for conservation, recreation and ecotourism.
One of the most pressing priorities is to obtain funding for a new Penguin Parade Visitor Centre. However, to be able to request funding support from the State Government, it is a requirement to develop an overall future vision for the Nature Parks and specifically the Summerland Peninsula. To commence this process, in 2011 we engaged a consultancy firm to develop a 20 year ‘Conceptual Framework for the Summerland Peninsula’.
This framework provides a precinct-wide vision for more diverse and layered ecotourism experiences, and better integration of environmental management, education and research in the visitor experience. It includes recommendations regarding the Penguin Parade building, Nobbies building, walkways, viewing areas, visitor experiences and road systems – including consideration of the long-term management of the South Coast Road.
The next step is to meet key government funding cycles. The Nature Parks is now moving towards the development of a Master Plan which will include key costings, and the development of a submission to government for consideration.