People living in Port Campbell and surrounds had a unique opportunity in October 2016 to provide input to the future of water and sewerage services for the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre.
Parks Victoria and Wannon Water formed a community panel to review initial options to better manage increasing water and sewage treatment needs at the popular site.
Located in the Port Campbell National Park, the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre is one of Victoria’s key tourist areas, attracting up to 10,000 visitors a day. This figure is predicted to increase to 14,000 people a day by 2034.
These rapidly growing numbers mean the existing onsite treatment plant, which treats flows from the café facilities and toilets, is no longer capable of consistently meeting Environmental Protection Authority discharge licence requirements.
The Victorian Government has allocated $4.4 million for an upgrade of the sewage treatment facilities at the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre. Parks Victoria has engaged Wannon Water to implement a sustainable solution in consultation with the local community. Wannon Water’s technical experts have identified a number of options to address the situation.
The community panel played an important role in gathering feedback and providing informed input.
The community panel process
The Servicing the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre Community Panel was an innovative approach to involving everyday people from the local area. Wannon Water and Parks Victoria mailed every property owner within the Port Campbell postcode, inviting them or members of their households to nominate as volunteers and be part of the panel. From those who have volunteered, a demographically representative group was selected to participate.
Over two days, the panel toured the existing treatment facilities and received detailed information about the current capacity problem so they could participate in an informed discussion on how best to meet water and sewerage needs for the growing numbers of visitors at the 12 Apostles, as well as considering the long-term needs in the district.