Otway Coast Committee

Committed to Sustainable Management

22nd Jan. 2015 - Apollo Bay Foreshore – Possible Contamination; Coastal Path to Wild Dog Creek

Apollo Bay Foreshore – Possible Contamination

As reported last week testing by the EPA has revealed all sites are not contaminated with asbestos and air quality testing has also revealed no contamination; however small fragments of asbestos cement sheeting have been found.

The Department of Health and Human Services, quoted in the Colac Herald last Friday, advised there was a "very low" risk to people.

They were further quoted as saying; "Asbestos only poses a risk to your health when asbestos fibres are breathed in; EPA testing found no asbestos fibres in the soil at Apollo Bay".

The OCC in partnership with the Golf Club has engaged an Occupational Hygienist, as part of the next step required by the EPA.  It is expected that the hygienist will have inspected all sites this Wednesday and shortly thereafter we are hopeful of receiving independent certification that all sites are clean.

The OCC will continue to work with the EPA and Golf Club to ensure the site 'Clean Up Notices' from the EPA are actioned as a high priority and that the sites are returned to public use as soon as possible.

At all times public safety will be the OCC's number one priority.

The OCC will continue to provide weekly updates as we work through the remediation of the sites.

Coastal Path to Wild Dog Creek

Throughout much of last year OCC staff have continued work on the coastal path that has involved regularly removing sand drifts caused by easterlies; improving sand fencing to limit the sand drifts, keeping the track clear of overgrowth and brush cutting weedy areas.  In November we engaged a specialist weed spraying contractor to spray all invasive species and they will be back to do follow up work in Feb-March.

We have begun mulching certain areas in preparation for planting of indigenous species with local provenance.  Replanting this section of coast and removal of weeds has been an ongoing action of the committee for many years and will continue well into the future.

For those interested there is very little 'Shiny Leaf', i.e. Coprosma repens but plenty of the native Boobialla - Myoporum insulare, along the length of the path with the two species often confused.

Similarly many confuse the two native types of Senecio; Fireweed Groundsel - Sencio linearifolius and Scented Groundsel - Scenecio odoratus with Ragwort Scencio Jacobaea.  They all have yellow flowers and to the untrained eye can look similar.  Over the last few years there have been only a very small number of ragwort found on this section of the foreshore and they are always removed immediately.  However there are many specimens of the native species present; in large clusters in some places.

As many will know sections of the coastal path were damaged in a storm surge event in mid-2011.  Much of the damage was repaired immediately after the event and sand harvesting from Wild Dog beach was used to 're-profile' the beach over most of eroded length; a section of about 500m.  This re-profiling prevented further damaging events.

However one section of the path near the Milford St / GOR intersections is more problematic.  Because of the erosion there is virtually nowhere to rebuild the path over a 60m section.

A detailed funding application in September 2014 to the Local Landscape Enhancement Grants for $44,000 to build a boardwalk was unsuccessful.  The OCC will continue to look at and apply for all funding opportunities to undertake this important work.

For more information contact the OCC on 0419 301 311.

Gary McPike: Executive Officer