A tribute to the WWI servicemen who built our iconic Great Ocean Road
Memorial Arch Precinct Master Plan
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is preparing a master plan for the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch Precinct.
We are currently working toward a draft master plan which will go out for further consultation. The draft is being done following further discussion with our community and agency working groups and taking into consideration the great feedback we received during the Options Paper consultation process in 2017.
Interim measures are being implemented on site, including reduction in speed limit, traffic barrier changes, and legacy projects identified, including driver education programs across government, identification and communication of existing toilet blocks to inform trip itineraries, and new photo opportunities to alleviate the congestion at the site, among others. We are continuing to work with key stakeholders, including bus companies, to address the issues as practically as possible.
The Vision: To preserve and recognise the Memorial Arch as an integral part of the Great Ocean Road experience, which: 1. Celebrates a key marker on one of the world’s most scenic touring drives; 2.Respectfully commemorates the service of World War 1 veterans; 3. Enhances the precincts’ natural environmental values; 4. Ensures collaborative and sustainable management of the site both now and in the future.
Following community consultation on the Draft Fairhaven to Eastern View Master Plan in 2014-15, and in response to feedback received, it was determined that a separate master plan for the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch Precinct was required to fully explore and respond to the issues and opportunities affecting the iconic area. An issues and opportunities paper was released in January 2016 and outlined several significant issues associated with the current use of the Memorial Arch precinct, including:
- Overcrowding during peak visitation times
- Safety concerns associated with undefined parking areas
- Unsafe pedestrian practices including standing on road to take photos
- Toileting in the nearby dunes and residential areas.
- Inappropriate beach access and damage to native ecosystems.
The aim of the planning process is to produce a document that provides a vision and plan for the management of this highly valued site into the future. The plan will identify actions that respond to the issues and opportunities currently affecting the site and incorporate community and stakeholder feedback. The planning process commenced to address critical visitor safety and amenity issues on the much-loved site. Between 9.30am and 11.00 on any given day, the carpark is overflowing with tourists, with many spilling onto the Great Ocean Road to capture a “selfie” in front of the Great Ocean Road sign, and creating numerous safety issues. The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Great Ocean Road Tourism, Surf Coast Shire, DELWP, VicRoads, Regional Development Victoria and Parks Victoria have been working with a Community Reference Group to develop a plan for the future of the site. Through extensive community consultation and in discussion with the tourism industry and bus operators, we found:
- There is support for creating alternative photo opportunities in coastal towns to relieve pressure on the Memorial Arch site and direct tourists to spend money in townships
- The heritage of the site is paramount
- There appears to be limited support for building public toilets on the already over-stretched site.
The Options Paper to date proposed a few scenarios for the future management of the site: Snap Shot. The key change from the existing arrangement is the removal of parking for large tourist buses and large vehicles from the precinct. Rest Point. Extension of the Snap Shot arrangement but with the addition of bus parking further to the east of the current car park (situated on an already disturbed area, subject to weed removal). Drive Thru. Based upon the premise that the current site is unsuitable as a stopping point and should be limited to a marker along the Great Ocean Road rather than a stop. Other. This is to ensure we capture any other management ideas the community may have for the site.
Media Release: Make your selfie a safe one: Feedback sought on options for the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch Memorial Arch Options Paper Fact Sheet Radio interview – discussing options with Pulse FM’s Mitchell Dye
Previous project documents
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What is the Memorial Arch & Precinct?
The Memorial Arch was erected in 1932 as a tribute to World War One servicemen who built the Great Ocean Road. It is located at Eastern View, on the Great Ocean Road, and is one of the areas most recognised historic landmarks. The current Arch is the third iteration, replaced twice after it was destroyed by bushfires. It is constructed of timber logs, cement and stone to span either side of the Great Ocean Road.
The Arch precinct is a popular tourist destination. Many tourist coaches (small and large) and private tourist vehicles access the site each day, particularly during a compressed period during mid-morning, when many are passing through the area from Melbourne and on their way to the Twelve Apostles. The coaches generally stop for around 10 minutes for a photo opportunity for their passengers, then move on quickly to Apollo Bay for lunch. At times, private vehicles overflow from the car park and line the road, particularly in the ‘unofficial’ pullover area south of the Arch. Sometimes vehicles park on the landward side of the Arch, impeding driveway access and impacting local residents.
A sizeable population of local residents, both permanent and part time, reside on the landward side of the Arch. The area experiences significant beach use and access over summer months, creating issues for roadside and residential street parking.
Who is the responsible land manager at the Arch?
Several organisations are responsible for various components of the precinct:
- Memorial Arch, 5 plaques and one sculpture – Surf Coast Shire
- Memorial Arch land – VicRoads
- Car park and ‘Diggers memorial’/viewing platform – GORCC
- Beach access paths and adjoining vegetation – GORCC
- Vegetation within one metre of the Arch – VicRoads
- Pullover area south of the Arch – VicRoads
Why is a plan required for this site?
Consultation in 2014-15 on GORCC’s Fairhaven to Eastern View Master Plan revealed ongoing, strong community concern for issues related to one particular part of the masterplan area – the Memorial Arch at Eastern View. Concerns centred on provision of public amenities, a need for better multi-agency cooperation and parking/pedestrian/traffic safety and circulation.
GORCC then committed to undertake a separate master planning process for the Memorial Arch to properly address these issues through a strategic, long term approach. As well as considering the issues affecting the site, and options to mitigate these, the masterplan requires input and collaboration from all relevant land managers and stakeholders to develop a viable, long term management strategy.
The purpose of the Memorial Arch masterplan process is to:
- Provide a vision and plan for the future of the site
- Improve use and management of the Arch precinct
- Address competing site uses that currently create significant issues – including popularity, car parking capacity, climate change/coastal processes and expanded visitation over summer at this narrow stretch of the Great Ocean Road.
What is the vision for this masterplan?
Each design scenario presented in the Options Paper are underpinned by the Vision and Guiding Principles for the Masterplan, established earlier in the project. The Vision is:
To preserve and recognise the Memorial Arch as an integral part of the great ocean road experience, which:
- Celebrates a key marker on one of the world’s most iconic touring drives
- Respectfully commemorates the service of WW1 veterans
- Enhances the precincts’ natural environmental values
- Ensures collaborative and sustainable management of the site both now and in the future.
The detailed Vision and Guiding Principles are provided on Page 3 of the Options Paper.
What was the process undertaken to produce the Options Paper?
Over 2016, community consultation was conducted to assist development of the project’s first output – an ‘Issues and Opportunities’ paper. This consultation included appointment of a Community Reference Group (CRG), and an Agency Working Group (AWG). Stakeholders on the AWG have a responsibility in either directly managing the Arch or adjacent land, and/or a keen interest in its management and future.
AWG and CRG meetings were conducted to gain initial input on the issues and opportunities associated with the Arch. Outputs and material from these meetings were collated and used to form the Issues and Opportunities paper. These groups were also consulted to formalize a united Vision and Guiding Principles for the site.
GORCC commissioned surveys to obtain data on traffic and pedestrian behaviour within the precinct, and following targeted consultation, also gathered feedback from licensed tour operators and their patrons as to how the site is utilised by tour groups. These surveys have provided valuable insights into activity at the Arch precinct.
In late 2016, the reference groups brainstormed possible solutions for the Memorial Arch precinct. It was evident that that there was no one agreed and preferred option for the future of this site. As such, it was decided that project consultants would prepare an Options Paper for further community consultation.
What is the rationale behind the Options Paper?
The paper presents three design scenarios for the future of the Memorial Arch precinct, based on issues and opportunities identified, traffic surveys, and considering the broader context of the Great Ocean Road. The principal aim of the Options Paper is to generate valuable feedback from the community on scenarios for the future of this site, which will inform a preferred design option and direction for the draft Master Plan.
The three scenarios (Drive Thru, Snap Shot and Rest Stop) cover a broad spectrum of options discussed with our reference groups, and key themes from the issues and opportunities paper are presented to outline the benefits and limitations of each proposed option.
A fourth option – ‘other’ – has been included should the public have any other design ideas or options they would like to put forward for consideration.
Why are there no public toilets included in the options presented?
We acknowledge that issues exist at the Memorial Arch with dune and roadside areas being used for toileting, leading to obvious problems with litter and hygiene.
A review of the broader context and prevailing feedback from consultation undertaken has been that the site does not have the environmental capacity to support toilets, and that existing toilets close to the site can be better utilised and promoted.
Feedback from community and agencies suggests there is little support for installing public toilets at the site.
As such, none of the options presented within this paper include toilet facilities. There are many public toilet amenities in the coastal towns and visitor information centres along the Great Ocean Road and the strategic direction taken for this project is that it would be better to direct visitors and tour companies to existing public toilets instead.
Where can I view the Options paper?
You can view a copy of the Options Paper:
- Online at www.gorcc.com.au
- At the GORCC office (35 Bell Street, Torquay)
- Request a print or email copy by contacting GORCC Environment and Education Manager, Katie Dolling at the GORCC office on (03) 5220 5055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I provide feedback on the Options Paper?
GORCC invites you to have your say and provide feedback on the Memorial Arch Options Paper.
You can make a submission through our survey online at www.gorcc.com.au or a hard copy submission form can be collected from the GORCC office 35 Bell Street Torquay.
You can also request a print or email copy of the feedback form by contacting GORCC Environment and Education Manager, Katie Dolling at the GORCC office on (03) 5220 5055 or email@example.com
Who can I speak to if I have any questions?
For further information please contact GORCC Environment and Education Manager, Katie Dolling at the GORCC office on (03) 5220 5055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When do submissions close?
The closing date for submissions is Friday 25 August 2017.
What is the process after submissions have closed?
All feedback received on the design scenarios in this Options Paper will be collated, and considered by GORCC and the project consultants in establishing a design direction for the draft master plan. An appendix will be provided in the draft masterplan outlining all feedback received and how this has been considered in the plan’s development.
When will the draft master plan be available for comment?
Once approved by the reference groups and GORCC Board, the draft masterplan will then be released for public comment. Comments and feedback provided will inform the final master plan.
When will the final master plan be implemented?
The final Memorial Arch master plan will require several levels of approval. This includes GORCC Board approval, approval of the Agency Working Group and approval under the Coastal Management Act 1995 from the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning. The final plan is expected to be developed and undergo this approval process in 2018. Depending on the level of change from existing conditions under the master plan, implementation is expected to be stages and will likely being following peak season in 2018 (i.e. May 2018 onwards), subject to planning and approval processes.