Eyes on Eyre is a unique joint planning project that involves collaboration from Local, State and Federal Governments. The project is a mechanism for the Eyre Peninsula to move to the front of South Australia’s visitor economy growth and respond to the South Australian Regional Visitor Strategy in a proactive and vibrant manner. Not since the late eighties has the region seen catalyst investment of a scale that draws in visitors, offers sustainable interactions with natural resources and creates a standard of destination infrastructure that delivers on market expectations.
Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board, the eleven Local Governments that make up the Eyre Peninsula, and branches of the Department for Environment and Water relating to crown land management, coastal protection and native vegetation management collectively toured the region from Whyalla through to Ceduna to examine proposed locations for camping node developments. These are sites where campgrounds have historically and instinctively been created. They are mostly set in our beloved and dynamic coastal environments.
Generally speaking, the sites are showing signs of degradation, the numbers of campers during peak times have outgrown capacity and surrounding environs are being impacted. The existing sites are mostly unconsolidated with limited infrastructure to offer management of waste, beach access and protection of native vegetation. Land tenure is also mixed and clarity of roles and responsibilities will assist with future investments.
Nature based tourism underpins the Eyre Peninsula’s visitor economy. We know that the best way to engage people in the care and protection of the environment is to facilitate their sustainable access and interactions with it. This will build community stewardship which is more powerful than built protections. Eyes on Eyre is about finding where we need to do this on the Eyre Peninsula and how it could be master planned to deliver collectively on social, environmental and economic objectives.
From here, all parties will work on sourcing corporate and government investment in developing site master plans which can be tested against community and stakeholder expectations and desires for future investment and development. The master planning will look at how these sites could incorporate:
- Designated campsites with native plant screenings (from RVs to tents)
- Day use interactions
- Beach access walkways, boardwalks, steps, viewing platforms
- Bird watching structures
- Interpretative and cultural information
- Art installations
- Toilets and showers
- Fire pits
- Shelters, cooking facilities, table and seating infrastructure
There are successful models of this type of work elsewhere in South Australia and around the country. Eyes on Eyre wants to replicate these successful models but also build in smart technologies that put us in a leading space and make us a must visit world-class destination.