Cape Conran Coastal Park Roofed Accommodation

Project status

September 2022: We have received advice from First Peoples – State Relations (FP-SR) that works at Cape Conran may have impacted a registered Aboriginal place and that additional artifacts have been re-discovered during the construction. We have ceased works immediately and have received advice from FP-SR about options to recommence work at Cape Conran in compliance with our obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

  

Background

The Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 destroyed three cabins and all five wilderness retreats at Cape Conran Coastal Park. Parks Victoria is replacing and upgrading the lost accommodation to create enhanced accommodation options for visitors of diverse backgrounds and abilities at the park. Our aim is to help connect parks and people and to enhance visitors’ experiences of this gem on the Victorian coast.

 

Project benefits

Visitors

The existing accommodation at Cape Conran Coastal Park caters largely to visitors in the warmer months. The new accommodation will be a more comfortable offering, allowing visitors to enjoy the park right across the year. The new accommodation has also been built with improved accessibility to ensure people of diverse abilities can stay in this beautiful part of Victoria.

Environment

The accommodation incorporates sustainable design features. The cabins will be pre-fabricated offsite to minimise environmental impacts during construction before being brought to the park for assembly. Construction materials will be sustainable and bushfire resistant.

Community

The works at Cape Conran Coastal Park are part of the Victorian Government’s $18.5 million Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package, which aims to improve tourism infrastructure across Victoria’s east and support local jobs after the devastating effects of the Black Summer bushfires.

Economy

The accommodation is being built by a Bairnsdale-based company and materials for the project will be sourced from Gippsland suppliers wherever possible to maximise the economic benefit to local businesses. When it is complete the new accommodation will offer a more comfortable experience for visitors in all four seasons, delivering a year-round economic boost for the local region.

 

Artist's impression of new Cape Conran Coastal Park roofed accommodation unit

 

Project funding

The Victorian Government has invested $3.5 million as part of the Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package.

 

The Project

Cape Conran Coastal Park was extensively impacted by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20. The fires destroyed three cabins and all five wilderness retreats.

This project will deliver 10 brand new cabins with improved accessibility to enhance and diversify the visitor accommodation offerings at Cape Conran Coastal Park.

As part of the planning for this project, in 2021 Parks Victoria undertook consultation sessions with visitors and the local community. Their feedback was incorporated into the final designs of the accommodation.

The new accommodation will use sustainable, bushfire-compliant materials. They will be heated with environmentally friendly pellet heaters, keeping visitors comfortable throughout the year. The cabin designare in keeping with the surroundings and they make the most of the coastal environment.

The access and internal roads of the precinct will be changed to improve traffic flow and enhance accessibility to the cabins and old wilderness retreats area

A new office and activity centre will also be constructed onsite and will replace the old office and activity centre that were also lost to fire. The design of the activity centre is still underway. Learn more about these bushfire recovery works at Cape Conran Coastal Park here.

 

Project timeline

Works began offsite in late 2021.

During stage 1 of the project, three new cabins will be assembled and completed onsite in 2022.

During stage 2, seven more cabins will be assembled and completed onsite. This work will be complete by late 2022. Works on this project are subject to on-ground conditions and public health directions that may be in place. This timeline will be updated as the project progresses.

 

Cultural heritage management

Cape Conran Coastal Park is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape. Parks Victoria engaged Heritage Insight to conduct cultural heritage assessments at the site and to consult with Aboriginal Victoria. While there is no Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) for the park, there are several Traditional Owner groups that have a connection to the area. Throughout the project we have consulted with representatives from the Gunaikurnai, Monaro, Bidwell and Monaro/Ngarigo and Biduelli First Nations groups.

 

Environmental management

Cape Conran Coastal Park has 11 ecological vegetation communities and is home to 41 mammal species and 170 species of birds, including the White-Bellied Sea Eagle. Parks Victoria has carried out a fauna and flora assessment to ensure the project does not impact on any habitat protection zones. In order to achieve compliance with the bushfire assessment and to improve access, some trees have needed to be removed from the site.

 

Access changes

During the construction period, the existing cabins and lodge will be unavailable for bookings during short periods. The campground will remain open throughout the construction period.

 

FAQs

What is currently happening at Cape Conran Coastal Park?

Parks Victoria has received advice from First Peoples – State Relations (FP-SR) that the works at Cape Conran may have impacted on a registered Aboriginal place and that additional artefacts have been re-discovered during the construction. We have ceased works immediately to ensure that there is no further potential for harm to Aboriginal cultural values at this site. We have received advice from FP-SR about options available to recommence work at Cape Conran in compliance with our obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. We will work with FP-SR and Traditional Owner representative groups to understand the options available and to ensure we comply with the Act, and protect Aboriginal cultural values.

 

Where will the accommodation be built?

The new accommodation with be built at the same location as the accommodation that was lost during the bushfires at Banksia Bluff.

 

How were visitors and the local community consulted during the project?

Throughout 2021 we held community information sessions online (due to pandemic restrictions) to give Cape Conran visitors and stakeholders the opportunity to provide input into the design of the roofed accommodation. We have regularly communicated with Traditional Owner groups to ensure they are informed and involved in the project’s development.


How many cabins will there be?

There will be 10 new cabins in total.

 

How many people can each cabin accommodate?

Six of the cabins will have one bedroom and will accommodate up to four people per cabin (queen bed plus pull-out sofa). Four cabins will have three bedrooms each and will accommodate up to eight people per cabin (two queen beds plus two twin-single bunks).

 

What features will each cabin have? 

Each cabin will have a kitchen, bathroom with toilet and hot shower, bedrooms, living area, ceiling fans and outside decking and storage. They will also have an environmentally-friendly pellet heater to keep visitors cosy in the cooler months.

 

Why are the old cabins being decommissioned?

The old cabins are being decommissioned because they have reached the end of their serviceable life and they no longer meet safety, accessibility and bushfire compliance standards. They will be removed from the site during the construction works.

 

Is the roofed accommodation funding part of the bushfire recovery response?

The investment into building the roofed accommodation is a separate program to the bushfire recovery response funding package. Learn more about other bushfire recovery activities at Cape Conran Coastal Park.

 

 

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