Call for community input on Forest Park, Orbost upgrade

Plans are being developed for a $1.82 million upgrade of Forest Park, the picturesque gateway to Orbost, and community members are being invited to share their thoughts on the draft design with East Gippsland Shire Council.

Forest Park is a much-loved passive recreation area and rest stop for locals and visitors. The upgrade will revitalise and modernise the park by providing a place for community members of all ages to gather, connect and enjoy the location and facilities.

Community members can view the design and give feedback at Council’s website, customer service centres and face-to-face at a number of drop-in sessions over the next few weeks.

Mayor Cr Mendy Urie said the park is a beautiful space and focus for Orbost residents and has been the site of many important community activities.

“No doubt this will continue in the future as the park’s facilities are enhanced,” Cr Urie said.

“It is also envisaged that the upgraded park will provide a destination point for people passing through Orbost along the highway, potentially providing an economic advantage to the town with increased visitor stopovers.”

The works will include:

  • a new toilet and amenities block
  • more parking
  • an extensive adventure playground
  • a picnic area
  • refreshing the interpretation of the gateway to the East Gippsland Rail Trail.

The detail of the playground area is being co-designed with students from Orbost Secondary College. Their brief is to “design, plan and pitch a proposal for the new Forest Park playground; playground should have elements suitable for ages 1-15”. This exciting initiative is being facilitated through the Broadening Horizons Program.

The community is invited to view the plans online at Council’s Your Say East Gippsland page, or at the Orbost Service Centre. Council’s project planner will also be at the Orbost Service Centre, 1 Ruskin Street to meet community members and discuss the draft design on:

  • Wednesday, May 12 from 11am to 1pm
  • Wednesday, May 19 from 10am to 1pm
  • Friday, May 21 from 10am to 2pm
  • Wednesday, June 2 from 10am to 2pm

“This project will stimulate the local economy and provide significant community benefits to a town in transition. The project will also assist to enhance the town’s status as an ‘age-friendly town’ and attract retirees and ‘tree changers’ to live in Orbost,” Cr Urie said.

While it is a large area, Forest Park is flood prone so this will limit which areas can be developed. Council will consult with East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority on this matter.

To help prepare the draft plan, Council has worked collaboratively with: Orbost District Community Recovery and Transition Committee (ODCRTC), The Orbost Development Group, the Orbost Chamber of Commerce, the Orbost Exhibition Centre and the Orbost Historical Society. This has involved multiple site walkthroughs and online meetings. Engagement of these groups will continue through the development of the project.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications via the Regional Recovery Partnerships program is contributing $1.3 million to the project, with Council providing $520,000.

Feedback closes Monday, June 7.

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