The Waratah Way

The Sandy Point Community Group has been campaigning for several years for a shared trail to be constructed for walkers, cyclists and horse riders linking Sandy Point with Waratah, along the inland side of the sand dunes, to be known as the Waratah Way.

Waratah Way Shared Trail Update – June 2018

Following the recent South Gippsland Shire Council’s Meeting on 30 May, the Waratah Way Shared Trail is now included in the Shire’s 2018 Paths & Trails Strategy and the 2018 Project List (construction projects) as a Future Unfunded Project. This is a very positive result which the Sandy Point Community Group has worked towards for several years now. It gives recognition and validation to this project which enables our community to pursue it with vigour, albeit that it will still be a lengthy process as there are considerable challenges to address.

At the council meeting on the 30 May, presentations were made regarding the Waratah Way reinforcing the community’s desire to see this project be given the opportunity to progress. We thank the community members who took the time and effort to address the council in relation to this project. Each made personal and diverse presentations of support for the Waratah Way and  their valued contributions played a significant part in getting the project re-included in the Paths & Trails Strategy 2018 Project List.

Five Councillors supported the motion to reinstate the Waratah Way back onto the Project List, Cr Alyson Skinner, Cr Jeremy Rich, Cr Ray Argento, Cr Andrew McEwen and Cr Don Hill. Each had clearly done considerable research and put much thought into their presentations, as they were insightful and showed a thorough knowledge of the subject. We sincerely thank all 5 councillors for backing the trail at this critical time, for giving credibility to the consultation process and for their vote of confidence in our community by ensuring that we can further explore and hopefully progress this project in time.

As a condition of the Waratah Way Shared Trail’s inclusion on the Project List, Council acknowledged “That there will be no compulsory acquisition of farm land for the project, to give surety to property owners”. This is intended to allay any concerns that the 2 landholders objecting to the proposed project have in terms of their land being bought by the Shire.

Waratah Way Shared Trail update: September 2018

Following the well attended SPCG AGM on Saturday 29th September, an update on the progress of the proposed Waratah Way Shared Tail was given.

With the trail now included in the Council’s 2018 Paths and Trails Strategy and on the 2018 Project List as a future unfunded project, this discussion proved ideal timing to plan the way ahead.

A report commissioned by Council in 2016 from Ethos NRM environmental consultants was tabled and its findings highlighted with respect to two possible trail alignments. This study provides a geomorphological and ecological assessment of those routes, estimated costs for both options, identifies potential ‘risks’ to Council for ongoing maintenance and construction, details the further assessments/studies/permits that would be required and provides advice on the potential construction impact.

The two potential trail alignments considered in the report are:

Path Option 1, which generally follows along a former fire access track that is now partly overgrown. This track is located partly on Crown Land (1.9km) and partly on private property (2.5km).

Path Option 2, which would be located entirely on Crown Land, partly running along the former access track but with a new alignment within the dunes to avoid private property.

The study has assumed a 2.5m width, crushed rock surface and depending on the final route chosen, will require varying degrees of excavation, levelling and stabilization.

While some risks were identified with the disturbance of areas of the dune during construction, the opportunities for better coastal management of weeds and feral animals is recognized.

A range of pre-construction studies, permits and approvals will need to be undertaken for this project to progress, these would be the next logical step in this process.

A summary of all construction cost estimates for both pathway options was also provided, which include the pre-construction studies and approvals, the actual construction costs and Vegetation Offset Credit purchase cost estimates. These come to an estimated total of:

Option 1: $525, 540

Option 2: $752,254

The consideration of Option 2 has been necessitated by 2 neighbouring landholders who have been outspoken in their objection to the community trail. With compulsory acquisition of land for the project not supported by council, a trail entirely on Crown Land is likely to be the most realistic way forward.

By the end of the presentation, 12 enthusiastic individuals expressed their interest in forming a working group to progress the trail on behalf of the communities of Sandy Point and Waratah Bay.

There is no doubt that creative solutions will need to be thoroughly explored for this project to come to fruition, but the resounding message is “full steam ahead”.

Thank you to those individuals who have rallied together to work on this and we encourage other community members to get involved if they have some expertise or particular interest they can contribute.

Please call Cath Giles on 0417 307 843 or via email: if you feel you could make a difference by getting involved, using your skills and by sharing information with your networks.