The Landscape Setting Types for the Victorian Coast together with the Siting and Design Guidelines for Structures on the Victorian Coast have been developed to assist the Victorian Coastal Council, coastal managers, Local Government and other stakeholders to implement the Victorian Coastal Strategy by encouraging sympathetic coastal development and promoting excellence in coastal design.
The Landscape Setting Types for the Victorian Coast aim to provide a better understanding of the landscape character of the coast by identifying significant features and characteristics of various sections of the coast. The identified landscape character should be considered and respected in the development of proposals for structures at specific locations in order to achieve an integrated development which is sympathetic to the surrounding landscape.
The identification of Landscape Setting Types was based on site investigations, aerial inspection of the entire coastline, analysis of a large range of maps, aerial photographs and reports.
The following criteria have been used to determine these zones:
- The importance of the landscape as viewed from a number of points. Aerial inspection of the entire Victorian coastline confirmed the complexity of coastal viewshed, as did visual analysis from the water and the hinterland (for example, views from points inland on the Bellarine Peninsula towards the Heads and Port Phillip Bay clearly show that these inland areas are a part of the coastal landscape).
- The nature and extent of the natural systems (landforms/geomorphology/land cover).
- The nature and extent of the cultural systems (settlements/structures).
- Exposure of landscape to winds/seas; that is the stability or energy level of the landscape.
- Capacity of the landscape to absorb change without creating visual impacts from prominent view points.
- Cultural influences and impacts (for example, urban development, heritage - both Aboriginal and European and land use).
- Landscape character - including climatic, experiential, visual and spiritual aspects of the coastal environment.
Using the above criteria thirty four setting types have been identified and defined (refer following map). These landscape setting types are broad and provide a useful framework for classification purposes. The development of Coastal Action Plans will further delineate and refine characteristics of the setting type at the site specific level.
While the entirety of the coast is visually significant, there are some areas that are particularly unique, such as Port Phillip Heads, Twelve Apostles at Port Campbell, Gippsland Lakes, the three Capes at Portland, the Great Ocean Road and the wilderness coast near Mallacoota Inlet to mention a few. These areas are particularly vulnerable to change in which values could suffer if subjected to intensive or inappropriate development.
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