Council paves way for major path upgrade

Council has resolved to progress a shared funding model that would help build a series of footpaths in Ocean Grove.

At its meeting last night, Council resolved to give notice of its intention to declare a Special Charge Scheme to deliver an expanded Principal Pedestrian Network (PPN) in the town.

Special Charge Schemes are used to help the City provide a range of public infrastructure, with the charge placed on the property owners who will benefit from the works.

The City would invest $3.65 million towards the project, which includes $440,000 for width upgrades to new shared paths and $45,000 for the City’s own property charges.

Under an equal share model – which was supported by a majority of property owners who participated in community engagement – property owners would each contribute $507.

The network of walking paths is considered to have broad community benefit, and will improve accessibility, pedestrian safety, encourage healthier lifestyles and reduce car dependence.

The total project includes 25.2km of new paths, with new sections added to the network’s original 22.8km, following requests from the community.

The additional footpath sections include:

  • Wallington Road;
  • Presidents Avenue (in front of park);
  • Tuckfield Street East Side;
  • Shell Road West;
  • Orton Street South (Sweetman Parade to Presidents Avenue);
  • Field Street South;
  • The Parade (Wallington Road to Field Street South);
  • The Parade;
  • Begola Wetlands; and
  • Collendina Reserve.

The network also includes a 1.4km shared walking/cycling path along the length of Tuckfield St from Shell Road to Ocean Throughway, and shared paths through Kingston Park, Begola Wetlands, Collendina Reserve and extensions to the Peers Crescent riverside shared path.

The PPN was developed following the adoption of theOcean Grove Town Centre Urban Design Framework, which recommended creating a network of paths connecting activity centres, sports facilities and schools.

The upgrade would allow Ocean Grove to become a more walkable community, with the connected network of footpaths to improve accessibility and safety.

Through providing notice of its intention to declare a Special Charge, the Council will now initiate a legislated engagement process which provides an opportunity for property owners to lodge a submission.

Affected property owners will be directly contacted with information on how and when they can provide their feedback.

Bellarine Ward councillor Jim Mason encouraged all affected property owners to provide their feedback on the proposed scheme.

Previous community consultation has shown there are a multitude of views about how this significant project should be rolled out.

We are keen to hear from everyone about how we can best deliver these public improvements in a fair manner.

Construction work on the project would likely start after July 2023 and would need to be completed within five years.

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