The Bass Park Trust has a somewhat more cautious and less enthusiastic response to the DELWP’s Future Foreshores Project article recently published on the Flinders Community Association website. We believe the intended rationalisation of a number of hitherto largely volunteer managed Western Port coastal precincts into a large single managed body will inevitably result in increased costs which will be paid for by users of the coastal areas such as camping grounds, yacht clubs, etc. This centralised authority will have professional management and administrative support, thus incurring costs which will surely be passed on.
At this point in time The Bass Park Trust has been deemed “out of scope” by DELWP because of the somewhat unique circumstances of being protected to a degree by a Queens Caveat and requiring an act of parliament to change it. We remain cautious about this protection remaining long term especially given the attractiveness our two tenants, the Flinders Yacht Club and the Flinders Golf Club would present as potential income sources for the new central body.
The Future Foreshores Project has already been rolled out on the Bellarine Peninsula and already our fears of cost escalation for users has occurred. The recently installed Barwon Heads and Portarlington Foreshore Administrations, previously run by local shires charging affordable fees, have seen increased user pay costs on things like camping sites $100 per night, beachside business rental hikes, etc. The Bellarine central management body costs $2.4 million annually. This is for administrative costs only; capital costs are on top and need to be applied for from grants. The Western Port central costs are estimated at only $1.4 million but given this side of the bay has far less recreational facilities it tends to support our nervousness of where the money comes from.
The Future Foreshores project on this side of the bay is focussed on three coastal regions:
Stage 1 – Western Port Bay in the Mornington Peninsula Shire
Stage 2 – Port Phillip Bay in the Mornington Peninsula Shire
Stage 3 – Western Port Bay in the City of Casey
Whilst Bass Park and our tenants are at this point deemed “out of scope” in stage 1 we remain cautious that once the funding potential is realised this position could well be reviewed rendering our golf and yacht clubs financially exposed. Our legal advice is to wait until this position is challenged, at which point one of our options is to embark on a massive public campaign to help protect our 117 year old golf club. We will be calling on support from all Flinders residents should DELWP’s position change and challenge our heritage and our future.