Frenchman Bay trail on the cards

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

A concept plan for a historical walking trail at Frenchman Bay is set to be endorsed by the Albany City Council and added to the city’s 10-year trails strategy at a council meeting later this month.

A feasibility study for the Frenchman Bay Heritage Trail was undertaken by H+H Architects for the Frenchman Bay Association with a cost estimate of $380,000.

The planned trail would loop along Whalers Beach and up through the surrounding bushland with a series of sheltered areas and viewing platforms, along with interpretive signage detailing cultural and historical landmarks.

The feasibility study outlined the aim of the planned trail.

“The project’s overall objective is to commemorate, preserve and share with visitors the rich heritage of this historic section of Frenchman Bay,” the report stated.

“In addition to the construction of the path, the intention is to provide two sheltered areas to view the expanse of Whalers Beach, plus interpretive signage that would explain the cultural and historical significance of the location.”

The signs will combine the area’s Aboriginal and European heritage and the study highlights the benefits the trail would provide for tourism.

“A world-class heritage trail at Frenchman Bay would add to the concentration of tourism attractions on Torndirrup Peninsula,” the study states.

“Its appeal to tourists would lay not only in the panoramic scenery but also in the rich and largely unknown history of the location.”

A back-up plan that includes stairs onto the beach from Vancouver dam will be used if consultation with the owners of private land, where a section of the trail currently runs, is unsuccessful.

Issues with the trail also came to light after a site visit with two local Noongar elders, according to a City officer’s report. “A number of concerns were raised about the underground water source that feeds the natural spring,” the report states.

“As a result, the initial plan was amended and a new map showing the works around the spring and dam were altered.”

The amended plan was then supported by the Noongar Consultative Committee.

The item will be considered at the City’s next ordinary council meeting on October 31.

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