Bellarine Basin rehabilitation

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Image of Bellarine Basin vegetation

We’re embarking on a project to transform our former Bellarine Basin site into more than 30 hectares of environmental and public open space to be enjoyed by the community for years to come.

The Bellarine Basin, located on the corner of Grubb and Swan Bay Roads, Wallington, is no longer being used for operational purposes. This presents an exciting opportunity to work with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, the local community and key stakeholders to reimagine this space.

We have received $650,000 funding under the Victorian Government’s Distinctive Areas and Landscapes program and will contribute the same amount to the $1.3-million project to begin remediating and revegetating the site.

We want to transform the basin site into an area that enhances the unique and natural features of the Bellarine Peninsula so that it becomes a place people, birds and native animals can enjoy for generations to come.


Have your say and help us reimagine this space

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the proposed site uses and activities. The survey closed on Monday 14 March 2022. We will share a summary of the community feedback received via the web page once the report is finalised.

The next stage of consultation will include a concept plan, which shows the proposed layout and activities for the site in a map based form. We will seek feedback from the community on the concept plan before finalising a project plan and commencing implementation.


What does the project involve?

The first phase of the project focuses on rehabilitating the site and restoring the natural headwaters of Yarram Creek. This will include removing the old water basin, associated infrastructure, part of the pine plantation and security fencing. We will engage with Traditional Owners, key stakeholders, neighbouring land owners and the wider community to inform a plan for the site. Read more via the Latest News below.


Rehabilitation plan




Tree harvesting plan

The trees not highlighted show the areas of pine trees that will be retained in the short term to complement the regrowth of native vegetation and preserve and improve local wildlife habitats. Protecting native flora and fauna is a key priority for this project. Read more via the Latest News below.




We’re embarking on a project to transform our former Bellarine Basin site into more than 30 hectares of environmental and public open space to be enjoyed by the community for years to come.

The Bellarine Basin, located on the corner of Grubb and Swan Bay Roads, Wallington, is no longer being used for operational purposes. This presents an exciting opportunity to work with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, the local community and key stakeholders to reimagine this space.

We have received $650,000 funding under the Victorian Government’s Distinctive Areas and Landscapes program and will contribute the same amount to the $1.3-million project to begin remediating and revegetating the site.

We want to transform the basin site into an area that enhances the unique and natural features of the Bellarine Peninsula so that it becomes a place people, birds and native animals can enjoy for generations to come.


Have your say and help us reimagine this space

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the proposed site uses and activities. The survey closed on Monday 14 March 2022. We will share a summary of the community feedback received via the web page once the report is finalised.

The next stage of consultation will include a concept plan, which shows the proposed layout and activities for the site in a map based form. We will seek feedback from the community on the concept plan before finalising a project plan and commencing implementation.


What does the project involve?

The first phase of the project focuses on rehabilitating the site and restoring the natural headwaters of Yarram Creek. This will include removing the old water basin, associated infrastructure, part of the pine plantation and security fencing. We will engage with Traditional Owners, key stakeholders, neighbouring land owners and the wider community to inform a plan for the site. Read more via the Latest News below.


Rehabilitation plan




Tree harvesting plan

The trees not highlighted show the areas of pine trees that will be retained in the short term to complement the regrowth of native vegetation and preserve and improve local wildlife habitats. Protecting native flora and fauna is a key priority for this project. Read more via the Latest News below.




  • Traditional name for new community and environmental space

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    The environmental and community place planned for Barwon Water’s former Bellarine Basin at the corner of Grubb and Swan Bay roads has a new name – Murrk Ngubitj Yarram Yaluk, meaning ‘head waters of continuous flowing river’ in Wadawurrung language.

    The former basin, which is no longer used for operational purposes, sits at the headwaters of Yarram Creek - Yarram is a Wadawurrung word meaning continuously flowing.

    The name aligns with works, already underway, to remove the basin and restore the headwaters of Yarram Creek, and is a symbol of Barwon Water’s commitment to work closely with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners on the project.

    The earth works form a key part of the project to transform the site into more than 30 hectares of environmental and public open space for the community to enjoy.

    The name was recently agreed upon by the site’s agency advisory group, which includes Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, Barwon Water, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and City of Greater Geelong.

    Plans for the site support its cultural and environmental values, and Barwon Water’s commitment to open the land for public use and recreational purposes.

    The Victorian Government is supporting the project through its Distinctive Areas and Landscapes program for the Bellarine, from which Barwon Water received $650,000 matched funding for the $1.3 million project.

    Barwon Water will be undertaking further community engagement on the project over the next six months with a concept plan showing the proposed layout and activities for the site to become available soon. From early 2023, the site will be opened up and the community will be invited to help with ongoing revegetation activities.

    Murrk Ngubitj Yarram Yaluk will become a place for the public to experience the unique and natural features of the Bellarine Peninsula; a place that people, birds and native animals can enjoy for generations to come.

    Quotes attributable to Wadawurrung Traditional owners Aboriginal Corporation Language Officer Stephanie Skinner

    “We are pleased to see a name for this site that reflects Wadawurrung history of use by travellers going east to west to access fresh water.”

    Quotes attributable to Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter

    “Caring for country and protecting the natural assets we all depend upon is becoming increasingly crucial, and we are proud to be taking such responsibility with the Bellarine Basin rehabilitation project.

    “Works at Murrk Ngubitj Yarram Yaluk - a new space with benefits to the environment and local community - will be carried out progressively and will involve observing and responding to the environment, to ensure we protect and enhance the ecological values of the site at each stage.”

  • Next phase of works and realigning the creek

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    While we continue to work with the community to design a concept plan for the site, we will be undertaking works to rehabilitate the site and restore the natural alignment of Yarram Creek. This includes bulk earthworks to remove the old water basin and realign the creek, scheduled to occur from May until September 2022, subject to weather and contractor availability.

    The design work for restoring the creek will focus on protecting existing wetland areas and waterway health. An ecologist is working with our engineers to ensure the works achieve the best environmental outcomes, including the creation of habitats that best support birds and aquatic wildlife.

    What to expect during works

    • All works will take place on the Barwon Water site at the corner of Grubb and Swan Bay Roads, Wallington.
    • Work will take place between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday. If Saturday work is required, this will be between 7 am and 1 pm.
    • Earth moving will take place on site using an excavator and a truck.
    • There may be increased noise and dust from construction but we aim to minimise impacts to local residents.
    • There will be minimal traffic coming and going from site and we don’t anticipate any traffic impacts for surrounding roads.
    • In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our timelines for completing scheduled works may change. To help minimise the risk of the coronavirus spreading, we will follow the latest health advice. For more information, please visit www.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/covid19.
  • Have your say - site uses and activities

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    Have your say and help us reimagine this space

    Stage two – seeking your feedback on the site uses and activities.

    Working together with our agency advisory group – which includes Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and City of Greater Geelong – we have developed a list of proposed site uses and activities.

    The proposed site uses and activities have been informed by the draft vision, principles and objectives for the site, and the community feedback provided throughout August and September 2021. They align with the Victorian Government’s Distinctive Areas and Landscapes (DAL) program for the Bellarine, as well as support the site’s cultural and environmental values, and our commitment to open this land for public use and recreational purposes.


    Hard copies are available on request via projects@barwonwater.vic.gov.au or 1300 656 007.

    Closing date for feedback: Monday 14 March 2022

    Open Day

    We are aiming to host an open day on site in 2022. Please register your interest via projects@barwonwater.vic.gov.au

    Next steps

    We will share the community feedback we receive via this web page.

    The next stage of consultation will include a concept plan, which shows the proposed layout and activities for the site in a map based form. We will seek feedback from the community on the concept plan before finalising a project plan and commencing implementation.


  • Stage one - community feedback report

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    99 community members provided feedback throughout August and September 2021 on a draft vision statement, project principles and objectives that were developed by an agency advisory group (consisting of staff from Wadawurrung, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, City of Greater Geelong and Barwon Water).

    In general, the responses were very supportive of the draft vision statement, project principles and objectives.

    Read more about what our community had to say in the stage one community feedback report.

  • Ecological assessments

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    Protecting native flora and fauna is a key priority for this project. This underpins the draft vision and principles for the site renewal presented to the community.

    We’ve conducted detailed ecological assessments to ensure native plants and animals are protected throughout the rehabilitation process. This includes vegetation and wildlife ecology assessments, with a focus on birdlife studies – recognising the pine trees have become an important habitat for some bird species.

    Flora and fauna assessments identified a small number of active and inactive bird nesting sites and pine seeds being used as a food source. We have maintained all nest trees and buffer areas.

    Around two thirds of the pines have been retained to provide bird habitat until more native trees are established across the balance of the site. (No further tree removal will now be undertaken unless trees are considered a public safety hazard).

    Wedge-tailed eagle management plan

    We are excited that a wedge-tailed eagle nest was identified on the south boundary of the site. No pine tree removal has occurred in this area. We are in the process of engaging a specialist consultant to undertake a separate wedge-tailed eagle management plan for the site, to ensure these birds are protected during the basin removal phase.

    Next steps

    Existing wetland areas will also be protected, and waterway health will be at the centre of design work that will see the natural alignment of Yarram Creek restored. To this end, we have also engaged an ecologist to work with our engineers to ensure the basin removal and the creek form achieve the best environmental outcomes, including creating habitats that best support avian (bird) and aquatic wildlife.

    You can read more about the ecological assessments undertaken in the early stage of our planning via the reports in the Document Library on the right-hand side of this web page.

    We will keep the community updated as we learn more from the ecologists.

  • Have your say - draft vision, principles and objectives

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    Have your say and help us reimagine this space

    Stage one consultation – seeking your feedback on the draft vision, principles and objectives.

    Working together with our agency advisory group – Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and City of Greater Geelong – we have developed a draft vision, guiding principles and objectives for the site.

    These align with the Victorian Government’s Distinctive Areas and Landscapes (DAL) program for the Bellarine, as well as support the site’s cultural and environmental values, and our commitment to open this land for public use and recreational purposes.


    Hard copies are available on request via projects@barwonwater.vic.gov.au or 1300 656 007.

    Closing date for feedback: Monday 6 September 2021

    Next steps

    We will share the outcomes of the consultation with you via this web page.

    The next stage of consultation will focus on the activities you would like to see on the site.

    Using feedback from Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, the local community and key stakeholders, we will then develop a concept plan for the site and check back in with you before finalising the masterplan.


  • What does the project involve?

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    What does the project involve?


    Preliminary works

    As part of the planning for the project, we are currently conducting environmental and cultural heritage studies, including flora and fauna assessments, geotechnical and land surveys.

    We have established an agency advisory group to provide advice and oversee the project. This includes Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and City of Greater Geelong.

    We are sharing information with our key stakeholders, local environmental groups and the wider community about the project and future opportunities to be involved.


    Phase one – site rehabilitation and creek realignment – April 2021 to December 2022

    The first phase of the project focuses on rehabilitating the site and restoring the natural headwaters of Yarram Creek. This will include removing the old water basin, associated infrastructure, part of the pine plantation and security fencing.

    The pine tree plantation, which contains trees that are nearing the end of their natural life, will be replaced in stages (over the next 10 years) with Indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses. This work will be informed by ecological assessments to ensure wildlife is protected.

    As it will take time for some of the native vegetation to return and flourish, areas of pine trees will be retained in the short term to complement the regrowth of native vegetation and preserve and improve local wildlife habitats.

    The initial tree harvesting commenced in the first week of May 2021, and will take 6-8 weeks to be completed.

    This will be followed by bulk earthworks to re-establish the historic creek alignment.

    We will keep the community up to date during these works.



    Phase two – designing a masterplan with our community – late 2021 to mid-2022

    Following the tree harvesting works, we will engage with Traditional Owners, key stakeholders, neighbouring land owners and the wider community to inform a plan for the site.

    This will involve setting a vision and objectives, and agreeing a number of actions and initiatives for the new public open space.

    From here, we will develop a concept plan for the site, ensuring the plan recognises the cultural, environmental, social and budget requirements of the project.

    We will seek feedback from the community on the concept plan before finalising a masterplan and project plan for implementation. The project plan will provide the detail around anticipated timelines and budget.



    Phase three – implementation of project plan - late 2022 and beyond

    The final phase is to implement the project plan.

    This will include a range of short term actions that can be funded immediately, as well as longer term actions, which will be subject to further detailed design and securing additional funding.

    Transforming the site will be carried out progressively over a number of years, in consultation with Traditional Owners and the local community. This will involve observing and responding to the environment, to ensure we protect and enhance the ecological values of the site at each stage.

    The new public open space will enhance the scenic appeal of the Bellarine Peninsula, protect and enhance the unique habitats, ecosystems and biodiversity of the Bellarine, including native vegetation and native fauna.


    Tree harvesting map

    The trees not highlighted show the areas of pine trees that will be retained in the short term to complement the regrowth of native vegetation and preserve and improve local wildlife habitats.


Page last updated: 25 Oct 2022, 03:52 PM