23 July 2021

Council adds another plank to the Merimbula Boardwalk renewal project

| Lottie Twyford
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family stopped on a boardwalk

The Merimbula Boardwalk is popular with locals of all ages. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

The iconic Merimbula Boardwalk, which takes walkers on a meandering trail around the lake shore through mangrove forests, under canopies of eucalyptus and past thriving oyster farms, is set to get a facelift.

Bega Valley Shire Council has put in place a plan which will see the landmark renewed, ensuring it remains a key recreational and nature tourism feature of Merimbula and the Sapphire Coast.

The current boardwalk offers a return walk of just on 3.4 kilometres and takes around about one and a half hours to complete.

It’s also famed for its views, as well as Merimbula’s resident seal who often pops up.

It’s hoped that the completed boardwalk will deliver improved outcomes to visitor experience, the foreshore environment, environmental and Aboriginal heritage education, recreation opportunities, safety and accessibility.

It’s currently in its first phase which will allow a concept design to be developed. From there, Council will seek funding for the project.

Project Manager Amelia Souter said an important part of this phase will be community consultation as Council wants to know how the local community uses the boardwalk and what is important to them going forwards.

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The current boardwalk was constructed almost 25 years ago and according to Ms Souter, it provides a unique experience, connecting locals and visitors with the natural environment and providing important recreational activities such as walking, swimming, bird watching and recreational fishing.

She did acknowledged that the popular spot, which is rated as number one of 14 things to do in Merimbula on TripAdvisor, is well overdue for an upgrade.

It’s noted on the BVSC website that the boardwalk has reached the end of its serviceable life and is showing signs of decline along with disproportionately high maintenance costs.

“We’d like to hear from the community so we can understand what they love about it and how they’d like to use it in the future, to help inform the concept design,” she said.

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Council will be running two drop-in sessions for people to pop down and have a ‘COVID-safe’ chat over the coming weeks. These will be held at either end of the boardwalk on both Wednesday 28 and Saturday 31 July.

Anyone can attend at a time that is convenient to them between 9 am and noon on those days.

Otherwise, there is a survey on the BVSC website which is open now until 8 August.

Ms Souter added that Council will also “seek community feedback once the draft concept design is developed, which we hope will be around December this year.”

The timing of the upgrade work is dependent on Council being able to secure funding for the project.

More information about the Boardwalk project can also be found online.

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