Lack of infrastructure a headache for coast

Tourists and their vehicles block the streets of Kennett River to see koalas and birds, which is having a detrimental impact on wildlife and residents.

Kennett River’s permanent residents say they have tourists parking and gathering in the middle of their streets, throwing rocks at koalas, and even occasionally using their yards as toilets.

Kennett River Association member Corrina Dichiera says the group understands the lack of tourism infrastructure and associated problems are a widespread issue along the Great Ocean Road, but the increasing influx of buses and visitors is making tourism unsustainable.

Ms Dichiera presented the association’s concerns to Colac Otway Shire councillors this week, painting a clear picture of the massive challenge for authorities to ensure infrastructure and planning meets the needs of current and future tourism and a small community.

The presentation was one of three verbal submissions to the council’s proposed four-year plan and budget, with the association asking the council to “make Kennett River a priority project” and allocate funds to the town in the 2017-18 council budget.

She said the town had about 150 houses and 50 permanent residents but with more than five million visitors travelling on the Great Ocean Road annually, tourism was degrading existing infrastructure and the local community.

Ms Dichiera said the town lacked the basic tourism infrastructure to cope with visitor numbers including parking, public toilets and an area where visitors could see wildlife away from houses and off public roads.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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