MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is being urged to adopt “big picture thinking” and focus a larger proportion of its spending on the “rural hinterland” rather than built up areas.
The suggestion by Cr David Gill to put the peninsula on the “international tourism map” follows the shire’s rejection of an application for $50,000 to investigate a “multi-purpose track” alongside Cape Schanck Road.
The Friends of Cape Schanck group says no progress has been made on a reserve and playground at Cape Schanck in the four years since $100,000 was allocated by the shire.
“Over the nearly 30 years this shire has been in existence we have seen millions of dollars spent on sporting facilities, halls, tracks and horse trails in other communities,” the group stated in the submission rejected by the shire. “The Cape Schanck community has received over the same period two secondhand bus shelters.”
The group said the rejection of its request “confirms the attitude of the shire to the provision of facilities at Cape Schanck.”
The group says more than 300,000 people visit the lighthouse reserve each year and the 80kph road is the only access.
It says council is considering an application for a restaurant on private land at Cape Schanck which, if approved, would increase traffic along the road.
It says a multi-use track “is clearly a safety issue” and could be connected to existing tracks to provide several circuit walks “as a major tourist attraction”.
Cr Gill said the application by the friends group “is part of the much needed big picture thinking for putting the peninsula on the international tourism map”.
“People want the beauty and relative isolation of our rural hinterland, yet the money goes to built-up areas not suitable for long walking tracks, trail riding and camping or glamping.
“We could create a package with wineries and our talented arts sector instead of just plugging the gaps in the dated bay trails plan that puts our rural and isolated coastline last for funding.”
Cr Gill said making the Cape Schanck plan “shovel ready would tempt politicians as they look for COVID-19 projects that capture the imagination”.
The walking trails would create employment while protecting undeveloped parts of the peninsula and the green wedge.