The thin edge of the wedge.

8 March 2012


By now you are probably familiar with the new markings and signs in the Bells Reserve, but in case you have missed it, there are a whole lot of new yellow lines and signs.

The signs and line markings are there to cater for the tour company operators so they can safely use the Bells reserve as their first toilet stop on the way to the 12 Apostles. There is a separate post on this site explaining the flawed risk assessment process that has led to these changes, but that is another story. What is important for the rest of us is that these changes have two main side effects:

Firstly, they have transformed the atmosphere in the Bells car parks from a relatively natural ‘bushland’ setting to a suburban streetscape reminiscent of an Aldi car park (no disrespect intended to the good folk at Aldi…).

Secondly, they have drastically reduced car parking for people that choose to visit the Bells reserve in their own vehicles, that is, surfers and money spinning drive through tourists. The yellow lines mean that it is now illegal to park in areas that have been commonly used as car parks for years, particularly on days when the surf is average or better.

This has upset quite a lot of people, to put it mildly. Here at the BBPS, we see it as the thin edge of the wedge. The council has plans to develop the Winki car park as well, with even more bus parking and a toilet block with change rooms that will further erode the character of the reserve and reduce accessibility for surfers and drive through tourists.

There is plenty of information on this site about commercial tour operators and why we are against them, but in summary:

These Surf Coast Shire is intent on developing the Bells reserve in a manner that will benefit the commercial tour operators and disadvantage everyone else. If we can stop the tour operators from using Bells, there is no need for these developments. Stop the tour operators and the problem goes away.

If you would like to help us put a stop to this unnecessary debacle there are a couple of things you can do:

First, if you haven’t already done so, visit the petition at the top of this post and sign up.

Secondly, write an email to the Surf Coast mayor, Brian McKiterick at

and let him know how you feel about future developments at Bells being guided by commercial tour operators.

If you have time you could even give Brian a ring at the Shire offices,¬†(03) 5261 0600, we’re sure he’d love to hear from you!


4 Responses to “The thin edge of the wedge.”

  1. tim says:

    This is an utterly futile move by the Shire. It will increase risks in the car park area as people will still drive down to the hammerhead and see if there is a spot free, then have to turn around and drive back up the hill, thus having to go through the new the pedestrian crossing (at Bells FFS!) twice. As BBPS says in this article, this is the beginning of the agenda to drive through the developments that the councillors are so hell bent on. Looking forward to seeing what happens when we get a decent swell! Madness,complete madness – you really couldn’t make this up.

  2. Matt says:

    Already the dual effects of the comp infrastructure limiting parking plus the bus spaces is causing mayhem for surfers. Lets see the carnage tomorrow when its 8-10ft and everyone comes for a look! It’s surreal to think that the very thing that makes the place iconic – people surfing the place – is under threat.

  3. jack mechor says:

    signs yellow lines new rules dont do this dont do that pay for this pay for that. welcome to america. it all ends up corrupt with conflicts of interests

  4. greg chaplin says:

    I’ve been surfing bells & winki on & off since 1977 and have always felt that it’s my spiritual surfing home. It’s a SURFING reserve, not a tourist reserve. Surfing made Torquay what it is today, not the commercial tour operators. Acknowledge your heritage, council, and stop screwing around with short-sighted commercial interests.
    I just finished watching the Bra Boys movie – maybe that’s what the council wants – some real home-grown violence & aggression to make the bells/winki carpark unsafe for the tour buses and stop them exploiting the area.

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