A Brief History of Phillip Island Conservation Society Inc.In l968 Phillip Island Conservation Society (PICS) was formed in response to a proposal to build a marina in Rhyll Inlet.
For over thirty years, members of PICS have been involved in many campaigns and have made a contribution to conservation on Phillip Island.The Society is formally represented on a number of local and regional bodies, and is part of a large informal network of environmental groups around Westernport and beyond.
PICS maintains an ongoing participation in planning matters, recognising the crucial link between retention of habitat and appropriate development. The work on planning processes was rewarded with an Award for Excellence by the prestigious Town and Country Planning Association.A brief summary of PICS’s contributions and involvement is given below.
Rhyll Inlet: this wetlands area was saved from development as a marina. PICS worked to defeat the proposal that would have destroyed this world-class habitat for a wide range of birds.
Since 1968 PICS has fought against numerous proposals for commercial development on the Summerlands Peninsula. It also provided some of the personnel to conduct the penguin and traffic counts which led to the eventual closure of Ventnor Road on the Summerlands Peninsula from dusk to dawn.
PICS members played a leading part in the negotiations for the purchase of the land now known as Conservation Hill, overlooking Rhyll Inlet. Many members gave money to help make the land purchase possible, and donated adjoining land. The purchase of this land led to the development of a picnic and viewing area.
A PICS member instigated the purchase by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (now Department of Natural Resources and Environment) of the land known as Rowells Swamp.
The formation of this group was a PICS initiative that led to the abandonment of Saltwater Creek marina and housing/commercial development and the creation of a wide public reserve along the creek and rural residential allotments.
PICS and other community members successfully defeated a proposal to demolish the existing historic Isle of Wight Hotel and replace it with a multi-storey building. The processes to defend the hotel led PICS into court and highlighted the importance of community and legal support in challenging inappropriate development plans. The proposal was defeated and a human-scale waterfront was preserved.
Since the first tree planting at Swan Lake in l969, PICS has carried out numerous revegetation and weed eradication programs on the Island. These include: Bicentennial plantings at Ventnor, Sunset Strip and Churchill Island; the Fiveways Revegetation project; habitat revegetation at Oswin Roberts Reserve; the Coastcare project at Red Rocks; revegetation at Cape Woolamai and roadside plantings and revegetation.