A 20-year plan to open up a large new wetlands park for nature-based activities in Geelong’s south has been adopted by the City of Greater Geelong Council.
The Sparrovale Wetlands Master Plan will guide protection and enhancement measures for a 500-hectare site in Charlemont, adjacent to the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve.
The Master Plan aims to ensure environmental protection, a staged opening of the wetlands park and the creation of a regional gateway to the Lake Connewarre area.
With extensive areas of flood-prone open space, diverse native vegetation and natural wetland, it will support a sustainable wetland and waterway wildlife reserve.
It will also provide an end-of-drainage solution for stormwater in the Armstrong Creek growth area.
Development of infrastructure at the Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Area is a key ask under the G21 Regional Growth Areas Priority Project.
The site has the potential to provide a gateway to the internationally significant Lake Connewarre Ramsar Area and become another of high class, nature-based attraction.
It will also cater to a range of passive recreational and educational activities, including fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
The plan contains three distinct phases.
- Phase 1: Until 2022 – complete major drainage infrastructure works, pest plant and animal control, protect threatened species and prepare a revegetation plan
- Phase 2: 2022 to 2030: establish public parkland and facilities; continue pest plant and animal control and revegetation; provide public walking access through to the Barwon River and informal access around the wetlands
- Phase 3: 2030 to 2040: connect the Barwon River Trail to Geelong, upgrade walking tracks, complete revegetation, and promote Sparrovale Wetlands as a key tourism, environmental, cultural and recreational site.
The Master Plan also identifies the potential to build a regional wetland interpretation centre and lookout structure, to promote the wetlands and Lake Connewarre Ramsar area.
The adoption of the Master Plan follows an allocation of $582,366 in the City of Greater Geelong’s 2021-22 Budget to complete the stormwater infrastructure and a range of site management works.
This includes starting construction on a shared trail at the western end of the site.