Update from Climbing Victoria Advisory Council – August 2022
Since the release of the GGLMP, Parks Victoria has sought to engage with this group regarding aspects of the implementation of the plan that are associated with climbing. There is a need for the climbing community to work together to provide input on a range of issues including:
- Engaging respectfully with Traditional Owners
- Clarification of Designated Climbing Areas (DCAs), including improvements to PV maps so they are more detailed and less ambiguous, and clarification of PV policies.
- Planning and prioritisation of further climbing site assessments
- Restoration and maintenance requirements in the currently available DCAs
Climbing Victoria Advisory Council (CVAC, further background information below) has been working hard on a number of fronts over the last year, including seeking input from the climbing community, via the organisations and representatives listed below, and is able to provide the following updates:
50 additional climbing locations recommended to Parks Victoria for further assessment
Earlier this year CVAC agreed with PV to provide a list of approximately 50 additional potential climbing locations within the Gariwerd landscape that could be assessed with funding allocated this financial year. CVAC developed a list of 50 locations, then surveyed the climbing community to get feedback on this proposed list. The feedback was collated, the list finalised and submitted to Parks Victoria. Parks Victoria have accepted the list and are now working through the planning and resourcing needed to carry out these assessments. CVAC will continue to liaise with PV on progress and will keep the climbing community informed when updates are available.
Update on Gunigalg (Taipan Wall)
When Parks Victoria released the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan in November last year, Taipan Wall was listed as a ‘Designated Climbing Area’ pending the completion of site works. You will be pleased to hear that there has been significant progress made in that regard with Parks Victoria completing the necessary track realignments that will support climbers and recreational users to navigate the site easily and respectfully. While there are some smaller pieces of work still to be completed on site, the official opening is getting closer, we will be sure to keep you up to date with any further information.
There is no doubt things will change at the site. Not all of what we understand as greater Taipan Wall (including Spurt Wall) will reopen. Yes, there may be sadness, unfinished projects and no doubt some grief. Let’s not forget this will be the first time an area that was closed is reopened and it is a real privilege that we will be able to climb in this beautiful and culturally significant area.
This is a significant step and a great achievement that is testament to the generosity of time and willingness of the Gariwerd Traditional Owners to consider, and work towards, the coexistence of cultural values and recreational activities, where appropriate. Let’s do our bit and do the right thing.
Providing input and feedback to Parks Victoria on communications around where climbing can and cannot occur in the Gariwerd landscape
Input has been provided to PV to improve the information provided on their FAQ Rock Climbing in Gariwerd. We are also working with them to provide a more detailed listing of the open crags and bouldering areas so that climbers can have a better source of information to sort and filter by area within Gariwerd and be provided with additional information for the crags and bouldering areas where specific conditions exist. The purpose of providing this input is to help make it easier for climbers to do the right thing and respect the cultural and environmental values of Gariwerd by not inadvertently climbing in areas not open to climbing.
It is likely that further input will be provided around signage and other forms of communication.
Gariwerd Climbing Permit System Update
CVAC were also invited to provide input on the on-line Climbing Permit System being developed by PV for use in Gariwerd. This first meeting was to get our input on the different types of climbers and groups that the system will have to cater to. CVAC was able to highlight different user groups’ needs, particularly first-timers giving climbing a try under the direction of a club trip or an experienced climber. Further input will be sought from CVAC during system testing, expected in a few months’ time.
New Regulations impacting Mount Macedon (Camels Hump)
New regulations are being considered for a range of metropolitan and regional parks, including Mount Macedon. This work has been done by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning not Parks Victoria. These regulations have the potential to restrict where climbing can take place and also allow for the possible introduction of a permit system. CVAC will be making a submission in support of climbing continuing to be a permitted recreational activity with minimal regulatory constraint other than what is sound and sensible to protect cultural heritage and provide good management of environmental impacts. We will be asking the relevant authorities to consult carefully with the climbing community before any new implementation of the regulations and to consult with us on best practices for sustainable and practical management of climbing locations. We will be advising that a permit system will not be a good tool for managing climbing at Mount Macedon as it would be overly intrusive on this recreational activity and impede the number of informal climbers accessing this close-to-town location.
If you want to learn more about any of the above, please reach out to the most appropriate organisation connected to CVAC for you.
Further background on Climbing Victoria Advisory Council
Representatives from eight climbing organisations have been working together to address the need for a peak body that represents the diverse voices of the Victorian outdoor climbing community. With a working title of Climbing Victoria Advisory Council (CVAC), this group originated as an offshoot from the Founding Council that was originally formed to interact with Parks Victoria’s climbing round table, and to work on a future governance framework for the climbing community in Victoria. The need for CVAC to work towards a Peak Climbing Body has continued to be driven by the need for Parks Victoria and Traditional Owners to work with a single climbing body that is representative of the broad outdoor climbing community in Victoria in the development and execution of the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan (GGLMP), but we expect it to have benefits for the climbing community beyond that.
This group has been doing the groundwork over the past year to establish a framework for effective and meaningful representation of the outdoor community with clearly defined boundaries, objectives and values. There are still some formalities around the Association that we need to complete, but we hope this body will be incorporated with the title of Climbing Victoria.
As a peak body, Climbing Victoria will not take on the work or roles of existing climbing organisations or individuals. Rather, it will be focused on supporting the climbing community and collaboration within it as well as representing its work and points of view to government bodies, Traditional Owners, the public and media where that is of benefit. We hope that this will lead to better policy development outcomes, better relationships and better opportunities for resources.
The organisations that have been contributing to developing the framework for Climbing Victoria are:
- Western Victoria Climbing Club
- Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network
- Victorian Climbing Club
- RMIT Outdoors Club
- Crag Stewards Victoria
- Outdoors Victoria
- Sport Climbing Victoria
In addition, the group has included an independent climber representative. Other education and training providers and Licenced Tour Operators will also be approached and invited to participate.
Key to the success of this organisation will be the adherence, by all of its members, to the following set of values that supports constructive collaboration and fair and inclusive representation:
- Respectful partnerships – We agree to work in ways that foster trust and respect for one another. We make decisions through clear communication, collaboration, and we always aim to avoid surprises.
- Courage – We speak up about the things that matter to us in ways that are kind and constructive. We support one another in challenging conversations.
- Listening & Learning – We recognise when we don’t know and seek to learn. We value learning together and from one another. We make time to listen and learn before taking action.
- Diversity and Inclusivity – All voices matter and must be heard, respected and considered fairly. We commit to actively represent the diversity of the climbing community.
- Integrity – We are aware that our actions are visible to the community and we do our best to uphold trust and integrity in all that we do.