Bullock Island needs upgrade

Bullock Island needs upgrade

Lakes Entrance Action and Development Association (LEADA) has called for an immediate upgrade of Bullock Island saying that the neglect of the popular prime recreational site needs to end.

The surveys and feedback received by LEADA have given top priority to improvements to Bullock Island. LEADA considers this together with the Esplanade/foreshore to be the town’s top priority.

“The potential for Bullock Island to be optimised for tourists and the community is self-evident, with its excellent water views, wildlife and waterways with boating activity and the frequent movement of seals and dolphins,” LEADA president, Bruce Hurley, said.

“It is already a favourite fishing and crabbing spot for visitors. The island holds great potential to create exceptional walks and bike rides as well as plenty of space for passive recreation.

“Not yet fully exploited is the opportunity to see the fishing industry in action, buy fish off the trawlers, have a seafood restaurant and establish a marine education facility.

“At holiday times there are frequently more than 100 people on the south west corner of Bullock Island, despite the pot holed gravel road, lack of toilets and the appearance of a dump site.”

Mr Hurley said Bullock Island has been the focus of many studies over the past 30 years, all recognising the potential that the island has as a tourist destination and a place for recreation for residents and visitors. These studies have detailed courses of action for its development and include: the Master Plan for Bullock Island adopted by the council in August 2015; the 2015 Rotary’s Lakes Entrance Interpretive Study; the 2012 Lakes Entrance Foreshore Management Plan; the 2007 Lakes Entrance Urban Design Framework; the 1997 Lakes Entrance foreshore plan; the 1990s the Gondwanaland Project developed detailed plans; and the 1987 Lakes Entrance Foreshore strategy.

“LEADA understands that, in the past, improvements to Bullock Island have been deferred because of complex issues associated with responsibility and funding of elements of the island,” Mr Hurley said.

“LEADA understands that overall agreements will shortly be reached whereby the shire will have overall responsibility for the management of the island, with other authorities having specific responsibilities; in particular, DELWP will be responsible for the seawall’s repair and maintenance.

“LEADA is concerned that there is no budget allocation for Bullock Island development in the shire’s draft budget, despite aspects of its development being low cost, and a high priority with immediate benefit for residents and tourists.”

LEADA suggests the 2015 Master Plan for Bullock Island, which was endorsed by the council, is an excellent starting point and should be updated, taking into account new management responsibilities, state funding available for a seafood restaurant, Gippsland Ports commitment to expand the jetty and Fishing Co-op plans.

LEADA president, Bruce Hurley, commented that this would provide the basis for funding applications to be made to state and federal governments for the development of passive recreation on Bullock Island. LEADA understands that the shire and Gippsland Ports are discussing ways to fund improvements to the hazardous Bullock Island Road.

LEADA is holding its annual general meeting on Tuesday, July 2, at 6pm at the Central Hotel.

“The annual general meeting of LEADA is an important meeting because the LEADA committee for 2019-20 will be elected by members and views on the priorities for 2019-20 year will be sought,” Mr Hurley said.

“It is important for LEADA to stay in touch with its members and the Lakes Entrance community and to continue to increase its membership base.

“LEADA needs the community’ s support and involvement in meetings like this year’s annual general meeting for the momentum for change and the revitalisation of Lakes Entrance to continue.

“LEADA’s membership has reached 440. LEADA’s aim is to be close to 500 members by the annual general meeting. Residents can join LEADA at the annual general meeting.

“Much has been achieved during the last year and the last four months in particular. Commitments have been made for a range of projects during 2019-20 by the shire, state and federal governments. However, much more needs to be done to give Lakes Entrance a facelift that it urgently requires.”

PICTURED: Lakes Entrance Action and Development Association (LEADA) has called for an immediate upgrade of Bullock Island saying that the neglect of the popular prime recreational site needs to end.