Victorians are being encouraged to have their say on a draft plan to protect the Belfast Coastal Reserve while maintaining recreational activities.
The draft coastal management plan proposes two zones within the Belfast Coastal Reserve to ensure conservation of its unique environment as well as low-impact recreational use.
A ‘Conservation Zone’ would cover a central area of the reserve, to protect highly significant environment and cultural heritage, while allowing for visitor activities.
Large-scale and unlicensed horse training as well as dog-walking would be prohibited from this area.
The plan proposes permitting a small amount of horses to train within the Conservation Zone at Rutledges Cutting and Killarney Beach – to provide for local trainers that have historically used the Reserve.
A ‘Conservation & Recreation Zone’ at each end of the reserve – including Levys Beach at the eastern end and Killarney Beach at the western end – would allow for a wide range of recreational activities that do not significantly impact the reserve’s environment and cultural heritage.
Commercial horse training and recreational horse riding would be permitted during set times, within a designated area inside the Conservation & Recreation Zone and monitored with licence conditions.
The final coastal management plan will assist in managing the reserve – a stretch of shoreline between Port Fairy and Warrnambool that has significant cultural value for Eastern Maar and Gunditjmara Traditional Owners.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“This draft plan is about getting the balance right – recognising the strong connection local Traditional Owner groups, neighbours, community groups, local businesses and all Victorians have to the area.”
“We want to ensure the Belfast Coastal Reserve is maintained for future generations – but also allow recreational use so that Victorians get the most out of this incredible reserve.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula
“We’re encouraging people to put forward their views so we can deliver a plan that ensures racing remains a vital part of the south-west, while also protecting the environment and cultural heritage.”
Quote attributable to acting Aboriginal Affairs Minister Luke Donnellan
“The Traditional Owners have a strong connection to the land, built over thousands of years. It’s essential they are part of the future management of the Reserve.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020