A 20-year plan to open up a
large new wetlands park for nature-based activities in Geelong’s south has been
adopted by Council.
The Sparrovale Wetlands
Master Plan will guide protection and enhancement measures for a 500-hectare
site in Charlemont, adjacent to the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve.
The Master Plan
aims to ensure environmental protection, a staged opening of the wetlands park
and the creation of a regional gateway to the Lake Connewarre area.
acquired the land in 2019 to provide an end-of-drainage solution for the
stormwater from the Armstrong Creek and Horseshoe Bend development precincts.
areas of flood-prone open space, diverse native vegetation and natural wetland,
the City is also aiming to support a sustainable wetland and waterway wildlife
Asher said the 20-year
Master Plan provided clear short-term and long-term objectives and actions for
“This is one of
our most exciting and innovative environmental sustainability projects,” Mayor
“We have a rare
opportunity to create a unique parkland ecosystem that will protect the area’s
biodiversity and cater to a range of passive recreational and educational activities.
“It will also increase
access for water-based activities, such as fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
“Having been a
private farm for many decades, Sparrovale’s environmental and cultural values
are largely unknown.
“The site has
the potential to provide a gateway to the internationally-significant Lake
Connewarre Ramsar Area and become another of our high-class nature-based
contains three distinct phases.
Until 2022 – complete
major drainage infrastructure works, pest plant and animal control, protect
threatened species and prepare a revegetation plan;
2022 to 2030: establish
public parkland and facilities; continue pest plant and animal control and
revegetation; provide public walking access through to the Barwon River and
informal access around the wetlands; and
2030 to 2040: connect
the Barwon River Trail to Geelong, upgrade walking tracks, complete
revegetation, and promote Sparrovale Wetlands as a key tourism, environmental,
cultural and recreational site.
Cr Jim Mason,
Chair of the Environment portfolio said the ultimate vision for the area would
allow the community to enjoy a variety of light recreational uses.
connections to walking and cycling links, including the popular Barwon River
Trail, is a key priority,” he said.
“You’ll be able
to enjoy the relatively short walk to the river or take a one-hour return
journey around the wetlands.
nature-based tourism and recreational activities will also be available, such
as bird watching and fishing.
birds travelling from as far afield as Alaska and Siberia to feed and rest on
the wetlands, these plans for the area will allow more people to view and
appreciate these species and their amazing resilience.”
The Master Plan
also identifies the potential to build a regional wetland interpretation centre
and lookout structure, to promote the wetlands and Lake Connewarre Ramsar area.
The adoption of
the Master Plan follows an allocation of $582,366 in the 2021-22 Budget to
complete the stormwater infrastructure and a range of site management works.
starting construction on a shared trail at the western end of the site.