Ever been to Bells Beach? Ever rocked up at 6am in the pre dawn and seen lines to the horizon, if not you don’t know what you’re missing. Bells has its own unique charm, as do so many surf spots around the world (but Bells especially).
About 5 years ago I got out of the water there and had a seriously weird photo session on the beach with 50 odd tourists who’d all piled off a bus, badly wanting their photo with the cliff behind them and apparently, I was the guy to do it. Well that’s fine, but the rubbish they left behind wasn’t. Over the coming months I noticed the increased number of tourist buses from Melbourne that’d stop in and ‘see the sights’. Besides the aesthetic impact of noisy buses and rubbish, I felt a bit like a koala would further down the road, getting changed in front of busloads of tourists all with their camera pointing straight ahead. For them it’s just another 5-minute stop as the bus cruises along the Great Ocean Road for the long day trip from Melbourne. Tick a few sights off the list.
The issue at hand here is significantly broader in its scope than a few buses, it’s even bigger than Bells in 81. Ha.
All around the coast behind Bells, back into Geelong and all the way to Melbourne there is development taking place at a rapid rate. Highways and housing projects are popping up everywhere and the long term planning for all of this seems to be pretty much non-existent. I could go on and on about Australia’s population, the lack of a long term water supply, drought, infrastructure etc…but the Bells story sums the whole situation up in a surf spot.
I reckon an icon needs to remain an icon. I also reckon that Bells needs some well-defined management and consultation with those that enjoy it now and care about it in the future, which is why I signed the petition below. I urge you dear reader, get informed and do what you can.