CIVIC leaders want to re-route the Great Ocean Road around Apollo Bay but their plans have hit a roadblock.
Colac Otway Shire officials say Victoria’s roads authority has rejected their idea to re-route the Great Ocean Road around Apollo Bay, and protect the road from rising seas levels.
Council chief executive officer Rob Small said the council had spoken to VicRoads about moving the iconic road due to the impacts of climate change.
Councillor Chris Smith raised the re-routing issue at the council’s latest monthly meeting when councillors approved a report of Apollo Bay’s settlement boundary and urban design review.
Mr Small said the council regularly brought up the issue of moving the Great Ocean Road.
“As the sea level changes and weather pattern changes, more frequent storm surges are likely – so they’ll be closer together and with greater intensity,” he said.
“We’ve been assured by the current minister that we don’t have to worry about it until the end of the century.”
Mr Small said raising the Great Ocean Road’s height might be a cheaper alternative to re-routing the road.
“It might create a natural barrier from the ocean,” he said.
Otway Coast Committee executive officer Gary McPike said sections of Apollo Bay’s community thought authorities should take the issue more seriously.
“Erosion is getting very close to some parts of the Great Ocean Road,” Mr McPike said.
“The really vulnerable parts are right in the centre of Apollo Bay – the bay of Apollo Bay, Joyce Street, Tuxion Road, and down the Marengo end,” he said.
“It’s not only climate change but also the construction of the Apollo Bay Harbour, which has changed the coastal processes along Apollo Bay and you’ve ended up with a lot of build up of sand down the harbour end and coastal recession in Apollo Bay.”
Mr McPike said the coast committee would receive a report from the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Barwon Water this month about ways to manage the erosion.
VicRoads regional director William Tieppo provided a statement to the Colac Herald but failed to address questions about re-routing of the Great Ocean Road, instead focusing on a $62-million strategy which has improved in-land routes and placed warning signs for drivers heading to the ocean road.
Cr Frank Buchanan of Apollo Bay said he thought there was no immediate threat to the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Apollo Bay.
“In terms of the Apollo Bay to Marengo area, there’s only one small spit or land there that could be impacted if there’s some serious easterly tide surges,” he said.
“There is an opportunity perhaps to look at the back of Apollo Bay to link up from the town area to Marengo via the Barham River Road through Conns Lane, and link up again on the outside of Marengo.”