Current and future planned works, and more detailed planning around some of the public areas of one of Lakes Entrance’s most recognisable landmarks, have been captured in a refreshed Bullock Island Master Plan.
The plan refresh, led by East Gippsland Shire Council and with significant reference group input, will guide the investment into upgrades on the island. The work follows council taking control of a large portion of the management of Bullock Island in late 2019.
The reference group comprises representatives from the local community, including Lakes Entrance Action and Development Association (LEADA), Lakes Entrance Fishing Limited (LEFL), Gippsland Ports, TAFE Gippsland, Regional Development Victoria, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC), Destination Gippsland, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), local Members of parliament and council.
Council’s general manager assets and environment, Fiona Weigall, said the reference group recognised that much of the original master plan was sound and needed updating rather than replacing.
“We are pleased to be able to release the refreshed Bullock Island Master Plan to the community,” Ms Weigall said.
“The master plan confirms that the vision for Bullock Island and any upgrade to the island should be to enhance the visitor experience, maximise visitation, and contribute to the visitor economy of Lakes Entrance and the broader region.
“The intention to develop a passive recreational area for public use by locals and visitors to Lakes Entrance alike remains. Development will be sensitively undertaken befitting the Ramsar-listed Gippsland Lakes, entrance to Bass Strait, and scenic surroundings.”
The draft Bullock Island Master Plan Addendum is available to view on Council’s website and feedback is welcome. Council will formally consider the refreshed master plan in September.
In 2015, the Bullock Island Master Plan was jointly developed by council, Gippsland Ports and the DELWP, and adopted by council. The plan was extensive and involved significant consultation with other landowners, island users and the community.
“This community input has been honoured as much as possible. As part of drafting this refresh tourism operators, visitors, fishing industry representatives, community members and reference group representatives have been engaged for their input,” Ms Weigall said.
Ms Weigall said it was an appropriate time to refresh the master plan to progress improvements on Bullock Island, with recent changes including:
* The transfer of management of a large portion of the island to council in late 2019;
* The advancement of plans and funding for a fish café by Lakes Entrance Fishing Limited (LEFL);
* The growth of fishing and crabbing on the island;
* Planned extension of Reeves Jetty by Gippsland Ports;
* Identified need to replace the Bullock Island Bridge;
* Funding for other improvements to Bullock Island by both the Victorian and Australian governments.
“Approximately $9 million is currently committed to the projects detailed in the refreshed master plan. These projects will be implemented over the next two years. We will also continue to seek additional funds to implement the unfunded aspects,” Ms Weigall said.
The maintenance and replacement of the seawalls remains the responsibility of DELWP and will be incrementally addressed over time.
Amenities to be provided on Bullock Island include:
• Fishing platforms and boardwalks;
• Picnic and barbecue facilities, including facilities for cooking freshly caught crab and fish;
• Shared pathways for use by pedestrians and cyclists;
• Two ablution facilities;
• Artful interpretation of a parkland area in a natural setting reflecting the island’s heritage and environment;
• Parking and access roads;
• interpretive elements.
Changes from the original master plan include:
* Passive recreation area to the north-east corner of the island has increased car parking capacity from 10 to 20 car parks, including two accessible car parks.
* The entrance from Bullock Island Road supports a shared path network, providing connectivity to Lakes Entrance and recently upgraded pathways along the Esplanade.
* Car parking nearest LEFL and Gippsland TAFE/SEAMEC has been removed.
* Upgraded landing and new fish café on the water frontages of the LEFL managed area.
* The need for movement and access to separate commercial and recreational activities revised due to service location constraints and the LEFL new fish café and upgraded landing providing a destination for visitors. Bullock Island Road now continues clockwise, providing access along the south to the west, removing the requirement for the emergency vehicle access. The northern loop road has been discontinued due to the service constraints and substituted for a shared use path.
* Two coach spaces are included on Bullock Island Road nearest the central car park, south of the Gippsland Ports Works. The upgrade to this area also includes an ablution block.
* The upgraded Reeves Landing has been amended and the associated car park has increased capacity from 20 to 26 car parks, including two accessible car parks.
* Car parking west of Gippsland Ports Works and Boat Yard Extension, has decreased capacity from 34 to 28 car parks, including four accessible car parks. This car park also includes a second ablution block. The car park provides a turn-around area for vehicles and coaches and allows Port Maintenance Vehicles to access the existing jetty from a Single Road Access.
* The berthing jetty has been removed in the north-west and notated as Future Marine Berthing Area in line with Gippsland Ports’ aspiration for additional vessel moorings in the long-term for Lakes Entrance.
* The promenade and boardwalk areas have been refined to reduce areas of deck and provide a shared user path to the edge of the island. The deck areas to the western and southern tips of the island have been rationalised.
* The Bullock Island parkland has been revised to provide a focus towards the island’s natural setting with views towards the water. As such the heavily programmed design of the shelter, kiosk, playground and kick-about lawn areas have been removed to retain existing vegetation. The barbecue and picnic settings have been located nearer to the water’s edge. The path network has been rationalised, providing organic forms to allow for the retention and protection of existing native vegetation.