Last week the National Trust made a submission to Barwon Water regarding a proposal to establish a 66-hectare park around the heritage-listed Barwon River Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct in Breakwater. The Geelong & Region Branch of the National Trust has been instrumental in advocating for the protection and conservation of the Aqueduct for 20 years, working to see local community action on this issue. Recently the Branch had success bring together many local heritage and environmental groups, including the Victoria Chair of Engineers Australia, and key Barwon Water staff to discuss solutions to the conservation of spans which are proposed for removal.
Barwon Water’s initial proposal for the Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct forms part of community and stakeholder consultation (late-Jan to February 2017), leading up to an application to Heritage Victoria for a heritage permit to undertake works to the Aqueduct itself. The proposal aims to conserve and promote the historically significant Aqueduct structure (while improving public safety); restore public access along the Barwon River and northern bank; provide for a range of low-impact recreational activities; and staged-development of visitor facilities and protection of the biodiversity, cultural heritage and floodplain values of the park. Overall, while the National Trust supports the increase in public access to the Aqueduct Park via the use of walking trails and lookout points which would facilitate greater visitor engagement with the natural and cultural values of the Aqueduct Park, we do have some specific concerns relating to additional strategies and consultation, and proposed demolition.
Parks Victoria is currently undertaking a review of the Point Nepean National Park Master Plan ‘to reflect government policy and community views.’ As taken from the Parks Victoria website:
‘The renewal seeks to validate the information and strategic intent of the draft master plan released in 2010 and build on knowledge gathered during engagement in 2010-2016.’
After reviewing the extensive report, the National Trust is generally supportive of the Master Plan, which includes discussion of site context, themes, vision, interpretation strategies, activation strategies for the Quarantine Station and an implementation strategy. The adaptive re-use of the Quarantine Station in particular is essential for ensuring the protection and conservation of Point Nepean’s natural and cultural values for the enjoyment of future generations. Continue Reading →
This week we met with The University of Melbourne to discuss concerns regarding the historically and scientifically significant System Garden, following a media report in late-2016 that the proposed expansion of the neighbouring Veterinary and Agricultural Science building could result the loss of more than 10% of the 160 year old garden. Responding to these concerns, University representatives this week provided the National Trust of Australia (NTAV) with an indication of the footprint of the building and its impact on the System Garden, and we understand that less than 1% of the garden bed space will be permanently impacted, with no loss of heritage plants. We are generally comfortable with the proposed works, and understand that the University is working to conserve and protect the System Garden into the future. The University of Melbourne will continue to keep us informed as plans progress. The System Garden also has been nominated to the Victorian Heritage Register, and we understand that the assessment is due to be advertised in the coming months.