THE FORREST GATEWAY TO THE OTWAYS is planned as a state-of-the-art, bushfire–adapted / Country Fire Authority co-located community facility at 47 Grant Street, Forrest. Previously a Department of Environment Land Water and Planning work centre, this site was passed to community ownership and management in April 2019.

A $250,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovation awarded to Forrest & District Community Group has funded feasibility studies to develop a business model and bushfire-adapted facility design, which also brings community-led approaches to adapting to climate change via education, visitor experience and research. The community-led transformation occurring in Forrest is being recognised by key stakeholders and is already being considered as a valuable approach for other communities.

The feasibility study includes piloting three collaborative research projects that bring together universities, state agencies and community, to identify innovative approaches for community-led climate change adaptation across the region and Victoria. The first research project is a collaboration with Deakin University in association with Ian Potter Foundation and Monash University on localising the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The second research project is a conference hosted by the Forrest Community in collaboration with Colac Otway Shire, Emergency Management Victoria, Surf Coast Shire, the CFA, CSIRO and Forrest Fire Management on ‘community-led resilience in the face of climate change’.  The third and final research project in partnership with Landcare is commencing a mapping of Otways region regenerative agriculture practices , soil biology and structure, and awareness of and approaches to climate adaptation in agriculture more broadly.

For more information, see the Forrest Gateway Proposal: ForrestGatewayProposal-RFA-FINALweb