Demand to care for waterfall

Apollo Bay’s Cr Frank Buchanan, left, and resident John Di Cecco say Parks Victoria has neglected Marriner’s Falls picnic area.

Apollo Bay’s Cr Frank Buchanan, left, and resident John Di Cecco say Parks Victoria has neglected Marriner’s Falls picnic area.

APOLLO Bay residents say they want Parks Victoria to maintain a waterfall picnic area or “hand it over to someone who will”.

Parks Victoria closed the entrance to Marriner’s Falls walking track after a falling tree branch injured a tourist in 2008.

The falls are a popular tourist destination.

Apollo Bay’s John DiCecco, who lives near the track’s entrance, said visitors continued to use the carpark, picnic area and “swimming holes” at the site.

But he said access to these facilities was becoming more difficult since the track’s closure.

“Now I go out there, I see grass up to your elbows with picnic tables in the middle,” Mr DiCecco said.

“Parks Victoria doesn’t want to look after it – I’m a little bit disappointed,” he said.

“Is that going to happen to every park of theirs that this happens in, if a tree branch falls?

“It is a natural set of waterfalls, they didn’t create it, they can’t just lock it away.”

He said he hoped Parks Victoria found enough funding “to keep it alive”.

“We still get tourists coming up here every day, asking if the falls are open, and I have to explain, technically no,” Mr DiCecco said.

Colac Otway Shire councillor Frank Buchanan, an Apollo Bay resident, supported fellow residents’ appeals to Parks Victoria.

“As a councillor is disturbs me, I’m embarrassed by it – I think Parks should be, too,” Cr Buchanan said.

“It’s one of the things we should not let go, we just want to see this open and operating,” he said.

“They need to give it up and let someone else take over.

“Council has used $400,000 of state money for a bridge up there.”

Colac Otway Shire Council chief executive Rob Small said he had written to Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith and Parks Victoria chief executive to “express our concern about the planned closure of the Marriner’s Falls car park and walk”.

“We want to understand what needs to be done to make the site safe for users, and whether all avenues to re-open the attraction have been examined,” Mr Small said.

Parks Victoria was not able to respond before deadline.

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