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East Gippsland Shire Council has set itself an ambitious target of having stage one of the Jemmy’s Point Lookout development complete before Christmas, in time for the traditional busy Lakes Entrance summer holiday season.
The project will capitalise on the lookout area that provides spectacular 270-degree panoramic views of the Gippsland Lakes, the entrance, Bass Strait and 90 Mile Beach.
Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell said the new viewing and interpretive facilities will transform the precinct into a significant tourist destination.
To have a new lookout accessible by Christmas, Cr O’Connell said Council had decided to complete the project in two stages, defined as the Hotel Road site and the Lookout Road site. The two sites are about 400 metres apart and linked via roads and a walking track.
“The Hotel Road site is the first and more minor component of the two-stage development. It is immediately adjacent to the Princes Highway where there is an existing small timber lookout platform surrounded by bollards,” Cr O’Connell said.
“This will be demolished and replaced with a modern but modest all abilities accessible pedestrian viewing platform.
“Due to our tight timeframe, we have secured landscape architecture firm Land Design Partnership to develop design concepts for the viewing platform and associated surrounding landscaping, pavements and drainage at this site.
“The firm has experience with delivering high-profile metropolitan projects and has also worked for our council on the Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Centre and designs for the Paynesville and Cann River streetscapes. We are confident the architects will develop concept designs that are true to the iconic landscape.”
A project control group has been established and consists of representatives from Lakes Entrance Action and Development Association, Regional Roads Victoria, the Office of Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, Gippsland Ports, Marine Safety Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Council.
“Key work to date with this group has been around permitting and approval requirements and support, and discussions around existing access/egress/intersection and what may need to be done to address increased traffic to the Lookout Rd Site. This group will form a critical part of the project,” Cr O’Connell said.
The timeline for stage one will now include three concept designs being presented to Council by early September. These will be reviewed by Council and consultation with the project reference group undertaken. Council will confirm the selected concept before the end of September and make the design public.
“Council has indicated its preference to minimise site construction works by adopting an offsite assembly and modularisation approach where practicable. Works may not be visible until November, however the stage one lookout platform construction is anticipated to be complete in December,” Cr O’Connell said.
Stage two construction next year:
Stage two is the Lookout Road site and it’s intended to be the major tourist destination when complete in late 2020.
“An iconic new all abilities accessible pedestrian viewing platform will be constructed at this site, situated adjacent to an existing grassed park area (Rotary Park) with some existing infrastructure,” Cr O’Connell said.
The stage two design tendering process is expected to commence late this year.
Other works across both sites will include signage and interpretive facilities to provide a more comprehensive and informative experience for visitors. Signage will be installed on Princes Highway directing people to the viewing platforms from eastern and western approaches.
The project has a budget of $1.5 million, with equal contributions from Council and the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.