NSW roads minister Duncan Gay has told parliament he will investigate whether the recent controversial closure of Riverside Crescent at Brunswick Heads was approved.
Mr Gay, responding to a question from Byron-based MLC Jan Barham on Thursday, said he would also find out if approval has been given to the plans of management for the Crown’s Brunswick Heads holiday parks (The Terrace, Massey Greene and Ferry Reserve).
Ms Barham told parliament Riverside Crescent at Ferry Reserve had been the access to the public boat ramp ‘and its closure is now blocking the street and creating conflicts for the residents’.
Locals and residents from Riverside Crescent have been outraged at the closure and say Byron Shire Council ‘has gone to water’ by not insisting the North Coast Accommodation Trust (NCAT), which runs the Crown reserve parks, remove the large bollards blocking Riverside Crescent immediately.
The locals maintain the trust had no authority to close the public road, which is also the main public access to a large part of the river foreshore there.
‘Riverside Crescent continues to be used as a road (internal road within caravan park) and there is no support for the road closure from council or community,’ Brunswick Heads Foreshore Protection Group spokesperson Michele Grant said.
‘The (compulsory) acquisition included the land within the reserve but it did not specifically change the use of the land from public road to private road,’ Ms Grant said.
‘Council claims that as part of the state’s recent compulsory land acquisition, the road is now part of the Crown reserve, and as land managers, NCAT can close the road/foreshore, as indicated in the draft 2010 management plans, which have never been endorsed by the minister!’
Ms Grant said council had recently excluded two lots of the reserve’s foreshore land, including the portion with the boat ramp, from the operational area of the caravan park to ensure public access and use.
‘So how can a park manager defy the new licence agreement and undertake new works to close the road?
‘How does a park manager have the authority to change the status of a public road, without any public consultation, council or ministerial approval (in that the plans of management have not been approved and neighbours weren’t notified).’