Call to back proposal for Lake Colac path

Cororooke’s Andrew Beale hopes community members and community groups will show their support for a shared path proposal around Lake Colac.

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20 Responses to “Call to back proposal for Lake Colac path”

  1. Bill McCarthy


    First off, I think you and me can bat this around for ever and never agree. I’m not sure what you feel your role with the LCCC is, but I would have thought it would be to facilitate and aide community backed ideas. Instead it feels like you are just objections, and now trying to piggyback onto this a suggestion for another path. I think in the time you have been concerned about the lake and a member of the LCCC you have had ample opportunity to put forward your own suggestions, and by all means do so if you feel so strongly about it.

    Clearly there is enough support from your own admissions for the path as proposed by Mr Beale. This does warrant further investigation, and should be taken to the next stage which would include feasability and costing.

    Your want for a path on the East, should not stand in the way. In fact you need to start down the track as Mr Beale has done if you want to take your idea further.

    I think we should be congratulatign and thanking Mr Beale for the effort he has put in and helping this get to the next stage.

    Now John, should you put forward a detailed proposal for a path on the Eastern side, such as Mr Beale has done, I look forward to discussing that then with you.

    Regarding your comments about land buy backs, farmers refusing to sell, I provided you a link to the CCMA Community Consultation report that idenitified some of the landholder concerns. See pages 32,33,34 .



  2. If given the choice between an east or west path… Sorry, but I’d pick the east.

  3. E John Martin

    You say that a pathway on the eastern side of Lake Colac does not address tourism like the western side.
    No i cannot agree with you there Bill.
    The eastern side offers a more user friendly pathway (less distance, and easier going) than the western side, so therefore you would expect more people from a wider demographic to use it.
    Then at the opposite end (from Colac) of the eastern pathway, you have the most popular free camping area in the whole Colac Otway shire. Quite possibly the most popular free campsite in south western Victoria. Far more tourists use Meredith Park than Corrorooke.
    Now with regards to cultural heritage, yes the western side has more aboriginal cultural heritage than the eastern side. But the eastern side has its fair share of aboriginal cultural just the same.
    But when you add the cultural heritage of the modern era (the 180 years or so since European settlement) the western pathway i feel surpasses the west option.
    Now Bill whilst tourism is good, no matter were it happens on or around the Lake, its not the be all and end all of this debate, in particular when it comes to which option (west side or east side) returns the best bang for the taxpayers buck.
    Now in my previous post i outlined in basic detail, my thoughts on why the east side gives better value than the west side. And i stand by my comments.
    Because the east side delivers both immediate, and long term benefit’s for the Lake and the community, on the three main levels that i mentioned, that is the social , environmental , and economic. And also the eastern option delivers far better returns from a tourism perspective, compared to the west, Simply because it address’s the single biggest and most costly environmental problem, identified in the Lake Colac Management plan, and that is the erosion. Which has wide and varied implications to tourism and many other issues pertaining to the Lake and the community as i outlined in my previous post. Now not taking anything away from the western pathway idea, but the west option does not come within a bulls roar so to speak, in overall returns to the community on all the levels that i have stated.

    Bill you also go on to say the eastern side has a number of issues with private land. Could you be more specific, you say a lot of public money has been spent on private land on the eastern side. Once again please explain (where about’s and how much money has been spent) You also say that this infrastructure could have been designed as dual purpose. Like wise Bill, what infrastructure could have been designed as dual purpose.
    You are lacking specifics and detail on these issues Bill. Provide these very important details and then i can respond more accurately. I do have a very good knowledge of these issues on the eastern side.

    Bill you go on to say that after the floods of the 1950’s, that thousands of hectares of land was bought back by the government around Lake Colac and lake Corangamite, and you say some farmers refused to sell.
    Now for the sake of the argument forget Lake coragamite (it has nothing to do with what we are talking about)
    What land was bought and when, around lake Colac and the lough Calvert system, and what farmers refused to sell their land.
    Once again i have a very good knowledge of this, and i am interested in where you are going with your comments.
    In particular could you name who refused to sell their land to the government around the whole lake. In particular the western and eastern sides. Once again lacking very important detail Bill.
    I look forward to your response Bill.
    all the best E John Martin Irrewarra

  4. Bill McCarthy


    A path on the Eastern side would be good, but does not address the tourism like the Western side and does not include the cultural heritage significance and general interest as the Western side.

    Regarding your previous objections:
    1. Duck hunting. It has been suggested to you that hunting is only 11 weeks a year, so for the other 41 is no conflict. During the hunting season opening the path between 10 AM and 4 PM through the hunting areas works as has been documented by Tower Hill.
    2. Pest and weed control on private land. Until you can substantiate your claim so as it can be qualified and quantified the only solution anyone can give you is tell you based on all the trails across the state the problem can be addressed by normal farm operations.

    Regarding the Eastern side of the lake there are a number of issues with private land. In fact a lot of public money has been spent on building infrastructure on private land, infrastructure that could have been designed as dual purpose. After the floods in the 50’s thousands of hectares of land was bought back from farmers and often leased back to them, around lakes Colac and Corrangamite, and the drainage schemes put it. Some farmers refused to sell:

  5. E John Martin

    G’day Bill and Juggy
    Just reading across both of your posts.
    Firstly Bill i must pull you up, were you say if John Martin objects to the path on public land.
    Well as i have said before my objections are as outlined previously, and they stand until such time it can be proven that no one will be disadvantaged, restricted or stopped from what they are currently doing legally now.
    Now at this stage of the debate Bill, neither you nor anybody else has been able to come up with any suggestions or solutions, as to how my concerns can be alleviated.
    If you had put forward constructive ideas and suggestions that may work, then you would be well on the way to seeing my objections lifted.
    Because at the end of the day, any Lake user group whoever they maybe, do not have the right to come in and stop another lake user groups legal activity’s (in this case the duck shooters) legal activity’s.
    Now Bill with regards to your comments about me and the path and private land.
    My response to that is simple, any private landholder is free to allow the path to cross their private property if they so desire. Because they no doubt would have considered all the pro’s and con’s that go with granting such access. Just as equally a private landholder has every right to not allow the path to go across their private land. Like wise adjoining private landholders to this pathway, have every right to express their concerns if they think that this path will affect them. What i am doing is simply raising the points, and as i said before some agree and some disagree, what we must do is work through the issues.

    Moving on to the cost benefit analysis of this pathway.
    Has anybody actually costed this pathway out, i certainly haven’t.
    But conservatively it would be well in excess of one million dollars, how much in excess who knows at this stage, but quite possible could be around 3 to 5 million dollars.
    Some of the costs likely to be incurred would be 1 cultural heritage study: hundreds of thousands of dollars, going by past lake Colac examples. 2 First section of path between Stoddart street and Deans Creek, $600000 to $800000 could go into this section .This section would have to withstand the effects of erosion from high Lake water level.
    Foot bridge over Deans Creek at least $250 to $300000.
    Then as you go around the lake all sorts of difficulty’s would be encountered, like building the pathway up over the flat country, then making the pathway stable so it wouldn’t wash away, also significant culverts and pipes to allow water to pass through unhindered.
    Then we come to the barrier country, huge cost to put a path through there, and keeping in mind also, that this pathway must be disabled access as well, big problems through the rocks. Because you could not simply doze a path, that would not be allowed.
    So all in all three to five million dollars could easly be spent on this pathway.
    Now that’s a lot of money.
    So now you have to weigh up the benefit’s. Difficult to do, but could be done, but to keep it simple, i would expect it would take decades to recover this money, so is it worth it.
    Now in order to put all this into some sort of perspective, you have to have something to compare it to. Simple you have to look no further than the other side of the Lake, the Eastern side if you like. Say you start the path at the treatment works and head around to Meredith Park. Approx 6.5 kilometers build it completely on crown land, easy access for everyone, no difficult terrain, and a comfortable distance and grade for most people travel, in comparison to the western path proposal.
    Now some people may or may not be aware, that the eastern side of Lake Colac has an extremely bad erosion problem, when water levels get to a normal level and above.
    Its been identified in the Lake Colac management plan, that this could cost approx 3 to 5 million dollars to fix (dependent on the design) Guess what about the same cost as the proposed western pathway.
    So in simple terms for arguments sake, if a pathway is built as part of a rock erosion control barrier the full length, all the way to Meredith Park, think of the direct benefits associated immediately with that.
    So once again, assume the western pathway would cost the same as the eastern pathway, but with these immediate direct benefits.
    Erosion would be stopped, private land would no longer be washed away, conservatively valued at $100000 per year ( in the high water level years) so an immediate net benefit there. Then due to stopping the erosion, 100’s of thousands of cubic meters of earth immediately cease entering the lake. That in turn stops the lake getting shallower, hence that lets the lake hold more water, lessens evaporation, improves water quality, and all that makes it a better lake for all to use. Very difficult to put a net value on that, other than to say that the outcomes achieved by this erosion control wall, pathway, could well be in the order of millions of dollars annually, yes annually, when all things are considered equally. And that is even before you take into consideration the benefits of the eastern pathway link itself.
    So when you look at a western pathway versus an eastern pathway, from an economic, social and environmental perspective, the eastern proposal wins hands down. With all of the direct benefits happening immediately upon completion, no waiting period, and huge benefits for the lake and the community they are as well.
    Simply the western proposal can not deliver these benefits like the eastern pathway could.

    So now just for a moment, put yourself in the decision makers seats. Starting from the Local Lake Colac Consultative Committee, then the local Colac Otway shire Council, then all of the government authorities associated with the lake, then the state and federal governments, then any private or corporate investors that may wish to invest in the path.
    Which pathway would you expect the majority of these to support, my money would be on the eastern pathway, for all of the benefits i have briefly outlined.

    Now i must also state here and now, that all of the problems associated with the western pathway, would also apply to the eastern pathway, no difference there.

    In conclusion, food for thought this eastern proposal over the western proposal, and if i was forced to choose one over the other, to receive increasingly hard to get funding, i would have to go for the eastern pathway every time, it’s a no brainer for all the reasons previously mentioned.
    All the best E John Martin Irrewarra

  6. Bill McCarthy

    Hi Juggy,

    I believe this map is pretty close to where the Colac to Alvie section use to go:

    A lot of that goes through farm land now. If John Martin objects to a path on public land claiming it interferes with farming, I guess that’d go double for it being down the middle of a farm 😉 But in all seriousness, a lot of the old trail is missing, some of it bull dozed, and on some farms it forms part of their farm management stock moving, dairy paths etc.

    That said, there are parts that remain on reserves, and I think from a cultural heritage perspective it would be great to include information on the old “onion line”.
    I think Andrew Beale’s proposed path does that (yet to see an actual map), and includes areas of conservation values, and early settler and aboriginal cultural heritage. A really great asset for our community , making a lot of this accessible, and includes some really great history and magnificent areas we all should be enjoying!

    1. Thanks, I’ll take a look at that. ?

      I like the idea of a path between A & B, and for it to have historical info would be great, it may also encourage more people to visit and stay.

      All the technical stuff is beyond me I must admit, but it’s interesting to read.

  7. How about where the rail track used to run??? I can’t remember exactly where it was and can’t find the map I had. Just a thought though.

  8. Bill McCarthy

    John, The roles of GMA and DEWLPI, Parks et al is clearly written for you in black and white on GMA’s web site:
    n.b it clearly says GMA is “Not responsible for public land management, game species management, water management, habitat management or game and wildlife policy”
    There are regulated areas under schedule 8 such as Lake Martin, Lake Colac is not one. There are SGR such as Thurrumbong, Lake Colac is not a SGR either. The prescribed areas available
    on Lake Colac are set aside by Parks in conjunction with DEWLPI.
    I know the law can seme complicated John, but look at it this way. The GMA takes your $50 a year and says you can hunt ducks during duck season. That permit extends to private land. But where and when you are actually allowed to hunt on private land is ultimately up to the land owner and it’s managers: that is not GMA.

    RE spraying: you need to provide evidence John if you want to be taken seriously. You’ve been presented with reports that show the net economic gain, reports based on the culmination of site specific reports and analysis. Where-as your claims are totally unable to be substantiated, qualified or quantified

    Re alternative paths: I strongly urge you to put them forward to Mr Beale and the red rock association if you want them included.

  9. E John Marrin

    G’day Bill
    With regards to the Tower Hill example, one size does not fit all.
    The whole purpose of this debate is to work through the issues, and try and find solutions if we can.
    The Tower Hill example may have some good ideas, but Tower Hill is significantly different to Lake Colac.
    But hey it’s a start, you never know there may just be a couple of good ideas there, who knows. Get Andrew and the crew from the Red Rock Progress association onto it, and provide me written copies of what they find.

    Catch ya John

  10. E John Martin

    G’day Bill
    I stand by my comments, they are real, they are not unfounded ( naturally i am not going to name, names etc on spraying issues, that is private business) These comments come from my experiences as a community member, as well as an agricultural professional operating in this district for many years, as well as across Victoria and interstate as well.
    My duck shooting comments come from being a duck shooter in this area of the Lake for 32 years, as well as being a member of the Colac Field and game for 32 years also.
    One other thing Bill, you go on about Parks Victoria, and DEPI being responsible for duck shooting on Lake Colac. No Bill once again it is the Game Management Authority that has control over duck shooting, also state game reserves have nothing to do with lake Colac.
    Bill why should a totally legal recreational activity such as duck shooting, that has occurred since European settlement (180 years) be altered in any way to accommodate any other user group, along this proposed pathway. Build the pathway well away from the area of duck shooting activity, the duck shooters are here before the pathway, not the other way around.
    The pathway and duck shooting cannot co-exist, without compromising safety, and or the duck shooters existing rights.

    Bill you wont find examples of the spray related issues that i talk about, in the reports/strategies plans report that you refer to. I along with others, such as spray contractors etc operate in the real world, and have to deal with public, private interface type situations like i have mentioned, quite frequently. No matter what you say these concerns are real, not unfounded.
    Also for your information Bill i am not a lone warrior on this pathway issue.
    I am as i have said before, a community member that has a pretty good understanding of the issues pertaining to the local community as well as lake Colac.
    I am also as i have said before a Colac Otway Shire appointed, Lake Colac Consultative Committee of Management member. So it is my duty to communicate with the community through forums such as this one.
    I can also say that many people have spoken to me about this proposed pathway, both in favour and against. So we just have to keep on working away through all issues, some i have not even mentioned yet, then we can all be better informed.

    I haven’t even mentioned the cost benefit analyses of such a pathway yet, other than to say the cost would be significant, with many a barrier to cross, before it comes to fruition. Because just stop and think for a moment were most of this pathway is to go, nothing is impossible if you throw enough money at it. But is the cost worth it, but we will go into that later.
    In conclusion, as i said before i am not against this proposal if it can be clearly demonstrated that no one will be disadvantaged in any way through its development.
    Yep and i can see the advantages as put forward by Andrew Beale, the Red Rock Progress association and yourself, and i can see the attraction, but you have to take into careful consideration the disadvantages as well.

    All the best E John Martin Irrewarra

  11. E John Martin

    Back again Bill
    Thanks for the healthy debate on this proposed shared pathway, for the western side of Lake Colac.
    Because like most issues there are nearly always two sides to every story, and a least the observers to this debate, can sort the ” Wheat from the Chaff ” so to speak, on this issue, and become more informed one way or the other.

    Now i guess we will have to agree to disagree on most of these issues, but i will respond anyway.
    Firstly your comments on my ” perceived issues ” and that statistics don’t back them up etc.
    Well yes they do, in the real world, across this State and even recently right here next to Lake Colac, examples of what i have mentioned have occurred.
    The development of local trails, and trails across the region, do benefit some in the community, but equally so they do hinder others as well, as they go about they day to day business, as previously mentioned. And you cannot just simply say well this is progress, suck it up, adapt and move on, these issues have to be worked through.
    Now to your response about who was here first, i said farmers and duck hunters were here first, and you said they weren’t the first people. Bill we all know that the Aboriginal People were here first, but in the context of the issues i raised, and the conflict between farmers, duck hunters and path users. The farmers, and duck hunters were here, before this proposed path, and most importantly before the expected increased numbers of people that i expect will use the path. Oh yes and one other thing, prior to European settlement in this area down at the lake about 180 years ago. The aboriginal people didn’t use guns, didn’t spray, they hunted ducks and other things, but they didn’t have to contend with large numbers of people, using an artificial pathway that meandered across there hunting grounds either. Nor did the First Aboriginal people have to contend with the bureaucracy and legal system we have today, if they had confrontations with pathway users.
    Yes Bill on the western side of the Lake, most of the proposed pathway will be on public land. And no Bill i have never said the lake foreshore is the property of the Private landholders who abut it. So Bill ” i think you might be missing the point here”

    Now with regards to your comments that we live in a changing world, yep i couldn’t agree more with the bulk of your comments.
    Yes and i do agree that this path may have potential from a recreational and tourism based perspective. In fact if you go back to the very start of my first post, i commended Andrew Beale and the Red Rock Progress association, for their work on this so far. And i did actually say that i supported in principle this proposal, for further discussion and development, but with concerns. So Bill i categorically reject your assertions that i am opposed to this idea, on the grounds of what i have previously mentioned. The process is we all work together, to sort out all of our concerns, and at the end of the day the pathway will either get the go ahead, or it won’t. I am always very careful to look at issues like this from everyone’s perspective.

    Now to your comments Bill on Duck Shooting.
    Where do i start on this, so many inaccuracies and attacks on a legitimate legal recreational activity. You say you doubt any duck shooter would suggest it is ever safe to be shooting from the water towards the shore. Well for a start it is totally legal and safe to do that, and of course the shooter takes into account the fallout zone of the shot, but it is legal and safe. And yes as this proposed pathway meanders through prime duck shooting territory, shooting will take place on both sides of the path. Which is totally unacceptable.
    You go on to say that it is ridiculous to lock the lake up for the 12 weeks duration of the duck season. As i said before duck shooting has occurred along there for at least 180 years (except the years that shooting was banned) and it is legal, so i totally reject your reasons for having it stopped, in favour of the path users.
    I am not sure of were you are going with your comment, saying ” The lake is not and never has been a state game reserve ” Ummm what has that got to do with duck shooting on Lake Colac. Once again it is totally legal to shoot ducks, and vermin for that matter on Lake Colac and or its foreshore.
    You claim i said the ducks aren’t there, so there should be no conflict. No Bill, what i did say is that no duck will come within coo-wee of anybody walking along the path.
    You say duck shooting is contentious enough already, that’s totally irrelevant to this pathway debate.
    For your information Bill, duck shooting is managed and controlled by a Game Management Authority, not by Parks/dewlpi as you have stated. I take it from your comments your are against duck shooting, but that should be irrelevant in this debate, it is legal after all.

    Moving on to deal with your comments on spraying.
    By the tone of your comments Bill, you come across as anti spraying, i don’t know if you are or not.
    But to insinuate that i am ” fear mongering ” and say that if i am aerial spraying near the lake and don’t have proper buffer zones and haven’t kept proper records , and that i shouldn’t be spraying there. Just because i think i can get away with it, because no one see’s ” Bill just hang on a minute, were is your justification in making these outrageous comments. Where do you see in any of my posts, that i suggest people spraying break the law. Spraying is a highly regulated industry, in particular Aerial Spraying, and to suggest what you have is just not on, and deserves a retraction. Bill you must stick to the facts, because when you make inaccurate comments like what you have done in relation to spraying, it may affect peoples business’s.

    Nearly finished.
    Bill you say in your second last paragraph, that quote ” John, i get you are worried that a path may put pressure on you and your property, should people say extend the path around the lake, and i get your opposed to it. But you haven’t backed up your claims with facts, just ” perceived” problems ” end quote.

    Ummm Bill, i suggest you are the one that needs to check your facts. Because for your information, and for the information of others ” I own NO LAND ” or have no interest in any land around the entire Lake Colac. And have not done so for about 16 years.
    Bill you also say that i am ” OPPOSED ” to the path. Go back and have a read at all my posts, i have never said that i am opposed to the path, i just want all of my concerns and the concerns of others addressed, and if it so happens that these concerns cannot be dealt with adequately, then the status quoe must prevail. If that means no path, well that’s the way it must be.
    In your last comment Bill, you say among other things, that i should adapt to changes in farming and foster new opportunities.
    Once again for your information Bill, i can safely say without any fear of contradiction from my peers in the industry or the community. That i have not adapted to changes in farming and i do foster new opportunities.
    In fact i consider myself to be a leader in both fields.
    I tell you what Bill, don’t take my word for it, jump on your computer, do a standard Google search, and type in these search engine words: John Martin Irrewarra, John Martin Dairy Farmer Irrewarra, John Martin Irrewarra Sustainable farming systems. Edward Martin Irrewarra and so on and so on it goes.
    Then come back and tell me i haven’t adapted to change or fostered new opportunities.

    Well finally finished, that’s been like writing another version of ” War and Peace ”
    But i had to go to these lengths to highlight your inaccuracies Bill.

    But at the end of the day all is good, both you and i are passionate about all of this. We don’t agree all the time, nor should we just for the sake of it.
    But at the end of the day, people watching this debate from the sidelines, will be better informed one way or the other, through our exchanges on this site.

    Thanks for your time once again Bill.
    All the best E John Martin Irrewarra

    1. Bill McCarthy

      Hi John,

      Before we completely agree to disagree, how about we focus on what we do agree on? As you said, “Yes and i do agree that this path may have potential from a recreational and tourism based perspective.” I urge you to read the Victoria Trails strategy on council’s web site, and you’ll see the documented evidence as to just how large that potential is:
      An as I stated previously we have seen the tremendous gains for townships locally such as Forrest. This is the guts of the issue John, addressing the changing needs of Colac and Cororooke: to encourage job and opportunity growth.

      Now although you said you agree on this you then immediately went on to say you objected because you felt landholders wouldn’t be able to do pest and weed management, and you also said the path could not go ahead because of duck hunting claiming the two could no co-exist. So first off, I think we’ve already debunked your claim that pest and weed management could not occur, and if you are still uncertain, refer to the aforementioned document and look at the breadth and scope and number of trails across the state. If there was any substance to your claims there’d be thousands of reports of farmer hardships caused by these trails: that simply is not the case. I noted I seemed to have ruffled your feathers so to speak in regard to this, but you have yet to put forward any facts to support your “perceived” claims. Like I said to you John, we have many organisations that engage in pest and plant management in and around public spaces.

      In regard to duck hunting, no John I’m not against duck hunting just because I’m part of the 99.6% of Victorians who don’t have a game licence. My dad use to go duck hunting, although mum would often refuse to cook those “smelly birds” because they were ridden with lead shot. And I doubt you’ll ever get me to be totally against duck hunting, but I can assure you that when you present irrational arguments saying a path can’t go ahead because of duck shooters, then I will eventually stand with those pressuring spring street to ban the practice from Lake Colac. If you as self-appointed spokesperson for duck hunters say the two can’t co-exist, then the result will be more people saying duck hunting has to go. I think that’s a real shame and totally un-necessary.

      First off, let me re-iterate to you the facts I’ve already said: Duck hunting is only about 12 weeks a year (I think the season is actually 11 weekends). So there’s 40 other weeks a year the path could be open. And even during duck season in prescribed hunting areas, they are open to the public from 10 AM to a couple of hours before sunset. So there’s scope to allow for partial closures even during the season. Really, this should be seen as an opportunity by FGA to work with the community and increase awareness of how duck hunting is managed and change the negative image duck hunting currently has. Work together, put up identification signs, community education around management etc etc.

      This is an opportunity for our community John, a great one. It shouldn’t be one group versus another, and I don’t think your statements are correct.

      Your last post was lengthy, and you made various accusations (unfounded). I was going to respond in detail, but really don’t see the need If you feel you don’t understand the difference between Lake Colac being managed by Parks versus a State Game Reserve managed by GMA, I think someone else can probably talk you through it more where you are willing to listen to what is being said. One thing though, in regard to shooting at the shore, I stand by what I said. It is a dangerous practice and should not occur. You risk not only shooting walkers, but other hunters, their dogs, and non target wildlife that may be in the scrub. I’m pretty sure I was taught never to shoot at the water because of ricochet, or when you do so because of an inured animal needs to be put out of its misery, you do so with **extreme** caution.

      But I think these side arguments are a distraction to the important aspects, and that’s getting us working together to make this happen.



  12. Andrew Beale
    An example of what can be achieved. Winton Wet Lands was also a rural shallow ephemeral lake that was affected by industry and carp.. It is now well on its way to attracting well over 100,000 visitors a year to enjoy the crystal clear waters wonderful biodiversity and most of all public access via walking tracks. It has created a vast amount of employment and pleasure. Something we in Colac and district can aspire to for the Colac Lake.

  13. Bill McCarthy

    Like the idea of the path. Don’t think the issues John Martin raised should be any significant hindrance.
    Re spraying: Farmers have to be sure drift isn’t onto the lake in the first place. Their farming practices are no different as per any road or boundary. If they are currently spraying and letting it drift onto the lake then they need to stop such practices regardless of any path or not.
    Re shooting: Again, the lake is a public area. There could be other duck shooters, or fishers or people on canoes etc. It is, and always has been the shooters responsibility to ensure safety. The attitude of saying there “probably isn’t anyone” is not good enough, it is a tragedy waiting to happen.
    I do agree there should be a slash zone adjacent to the path.
    If horses are permitted on the path, then having an adjacent slash zone for horses would help minimize damage to path surfaces.
    Fire, safety and security issues are no different from any farming area that has road access, or any of our other great assets like the Beechy Line, Tiger Rail Trail, Great Ocean Walk.

    I also believe there is plenty of evidence that such a trail would provide real economic benefit to the community, increased tourism and quality of living.

    1. E John Martin

      G’day Bill
      Good to see you have entered the pathway debate.
      Just to clarify a few points.
      With regards to spray drift, I should have phrased it as ” Percieved Spray Drift” not actual spray drift, onto the Lake forshore.
      Because the actual physical implications of spraying anywhere nere a frequently used pathway such as this, is very real.
      For example a farmer, or spray contractor (aerial or ground) would not even attempt to spray anywhere near this pathway, even with the wind blowing away from the path/ Lake.
      Because they (the farmers and or contractors) know that in the main, non agricultural people don’t like spraying. They also know that there have been many reported cases around Victoria, of people reporting smelling spray drift, when it was actually physically impossible for them the to smell it.
      This is what is called ” Percieved ” spray drift. People see the spraying, they don’t like the spraying, so they report the farmer or the contractor to the Ag Department. Then the farmer or the contractor has to go to great lengths to satisfy the Ag Department that their spray did not actually ho in the opposite direction, across the path and put onto the Lake.
      So the implications of what would actully happen, if this path did actually go ahead, would be that virtually no spray contractor would go anywhere nere this path for fear of litigation. Then it would be left to the poor farmer, to run Russian rulet if you like, and try and spray his weeds himself near the path, and hope that no one kicks up a fuss.
      So this ” Percieved ” spray drift thing is very real indeed.
      Moving onto Fires other incidents, vandalism and security.
      Your analogy of farms already being near roads, public spaces etc and so farmers and other landholders should just deal with this situation in the same way.
      I don’t agree, simply because the area of this proposed pathway, although already a public space, is in the main not very frequented by most people.
      By opening up the path, you increase people movements, the more people the more chances of things happening like I have already suggested.
      So in my opinion it is wrong to suggest that landholders must put up with the increased activity, and all that can go wrong with it.
      The landholders are here first, and in the main things like I have just remarked on, don’t happen along there now. But will defiantly happen more often than now, if this path gets the go ahead, that’s the law of averages.
      No to the shooting part of this argument.
      Probably the most important part.
      I will break it down to two parts, 1 the farmers perspective 2 the duck shooters perspective.
      1 You are correct it is the licenced firearm holders responsibility, to ensure that they do not shoot onto or across public land, in this case the Lake foreshore, including the path, and the Lake. But once again I draw your attention to my perceived spray drift anallagy. A farmer is down near the path conducting vermin control with a firearm. They shoot near the path, but away from the path, whilst people of any age are passing by.
      Now just stop and think for a moment what would happen, more than likely the people on the path would be on their mobile phone dialing the police on 000 saying they have just been shot at. That is the practical reality of what would happen, then it’s up to the poor unfortunate shooter to defend themselves to the police.
      But like I said before, very few people travel along there now, open the path up, naturally it will become very popular. The consequence being no one will conduct vermin control by shooting near the path. And therefore vermin populations will expand, in particular foxs and rabbits.

      Now to duck shooting near the path.
      This is an absolute no brainier, if this path gets the go ahead, in no way should duck shooting be allowed anywhere near the path, simple as that.
      Bill what I think you have failed to realise, is this proposed pathway in the main, meanders through prime duck shooting territory. And when the lakes water level rises again, and it will, duck shooting will occur on both sides of the path, like what it has done since European Settlement 180 years or so.
      Duckshooting and massively increased people numbers ( if the path gets the go ahead) into an area that has very few people by comparison now. Will not mix.
      Once again the poor unfortunate duckshooter will have to defend himself to the police, like the farmer in the advent of letting off a shot near a pedestrian, even in the opposite direction. Not to mention no duck will come within coo- wee of anybody walking along the path.
      So the duckshooter misses out again.
      But as duck shooting is still legal on the Lake, and the duck shooters are here first, they should have priority over the path, end of story.

      Anyhow thanks for entering the great pathway debate Bill.
      As always I look forward to your response.
      All the best E John Martin

      1. Bill McCarthy

        G’day John,

        I hear you when you talk about “perceived” issues, and I assure you they are just that. The statistics don’t back up your claims, as can be observed by the local trails and trails across the region.
        I also note you said a couple of times the farmers or duck hunters are here first: well putting aside the fact no they weren’t the “first people”, you seem to be missing the point this is public land not the property of those people whose land abuts the private land. Reality is John, we live in a changing world, farming is changing, our communities are changing. We’ve seen small townships basically cease to exist as mills move out, as factories close. We’ve seem farms amalgamate, jobs disappearing. Tourism and alternative bespoke or micro manufacturing brings back life to these communities. We’ve seen it locally at Forrest, and to some extent Gellibrand, and there are many examples of towns coming back to life due to tourism and infrastructure such as the path Mr Beale suggests.
        We need to be addressing the very bleak future Cororooke faces since the factory closure , and this path would be a key component of part of a recreational and tourism based industry.

        Regarding duck shooting, as if duck shooting is not contentious enough already, I doubt any duck shooter would suggest it is ever safe to be shooting from the water towards the shore. And if the ducks aren’t there as you claim will be the case, then there should be no conflict. Duck shooting on the Lake is managed by parks/dewlpi, and has been closed for the past couple of years. Even when open the season is at best 12 weeks long. That we should lock up the lake for that is ridiculous. The Lake is not and has never been a State Game Reserve: try Lake Thurrumbong for that 🙂

        Regarding spraying, again this is just nonsense: “perceived” fear mongering. If you are areal spraying near the lake and don’t have proper buffer zones and haven’t kept proper records, then you shouldn’t be spraying there. Just because you think you can get away with it because no-one sees, doesn’t make it right, and certainly is not a reason to vote against the path. There are many qualified spraying contractors that work with council, parks, dewlpi, ccma, barwon water etc, and can work safely in public areas near waterways. It happens every day (weather permitting)

        John, I get you are worried that a path may put pressure on you and your property should people say extend the path around the lake, and I get your are opposed to it. But you haven’t backed up your claims with facts, just “perceived” problems.

        If you are worried about unemployment or crime, best thing is to create opportunities: build, not lock things up. Create opportunities for families, businesses in Colac and Cororooke. Adapt to the changes in farming and foster new opportunities.

  14. What if someone has a fall or is bitten by a snake?….how would Ambulances gain access?

  15. E John Martin

    I commend Andrew Beale and the Red Rock Progress association, for their work on a proposed shared walking trail, for the western side of Lake Colac.
    In principal I support the proposal, for further discussion a development, but with a number of concerns.
    With a proposal such as this, areas around the Lake will be opened up, making access far more easier, for greater numbers of people, than what currently happens.
    In turn this generates the possibility and greater risk, associated with a number of things, due to increased activity.
    Some of these things would be, the increased risk of fires starting, and or other incidents, as well as access issues in combating these fires and or incidents.
    Landholder sercurity would be another concern that I would have, because at the moment the proposed area of the pathway, is relatively inaccessible. But when the pathway is opened up, the chances of theft and vandalism will increase.
    One other very important concern that I have, is the inability of existing farming practices and sports, not being able to co-exist with pathway users.
    For example: Farmers may be hampered from effectively spraying their weeds and crops, for fear that pathway users may encounter spray drift.
    Farmers may not be able to effectively control vermin, by way of shooting. Either by day or under spotlight at night, because of the risk of shooting a pathway user.
    Likewise I don’t know how a shared pathway, could co-exist with the current legal sport of Duch Shooting.
    Because the pathway would be in most instances, in the same location as the duck shooters.
    So the two could not co-exist.
    So at this present point in time, duck shooting is legal around Lake Colac ( except Meredith Park and the City of Colac limits) and I would not be in favour of any bans put in place, along the length of the proposed pathway.
    I would like to hear the Colac Field and Game Association’s opinion on this issue as well.
    In closing it’s good to see that people are being proactive, in coming up with idea’s for the use of Lake Colac and it’s surrounds.
    But equally important are the current interests of peoples livelyhoods ( like farmers) as well as the interests of other current recreational users, such as the duck shooters.
    I would not like to see these people disadvantaged or restricted in anyway as a result of this proposed shared pathway being given the go ahead.

    Thanks for your time E John Martin. Irrewarra
    I am also the Colac Otway Shires community representative on the Lake Colac Consultitive Committee of management.

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