Local government minister Don Page says the controversy over encroachment of Crown land at Ferry Reserve in Brunswick Heads could end up in court.
Mr Page, the Ballina MP and also minister for the north coast, told parliament last week he believed Byron Shire Council and the Crown lands division within his department should have further talks to try and resolve the issue ‘because we do not want this to end up in court, which is a real possibility’.
Mr Page was quizzed on the encroachment by MLC and former Byron mayor Jan Barham during a budget estimates review committee hearing.
Last month, NSW roads minister Duncan Gay told parliament he would investigate whether the recent controversial closure of Riverside Crescent at Brunswick Heads was approved.
The closure with large bollards of the road at Ferry Reserve has outraged residents there who say it blocks their street and access to the public boat ramp, creating conflicts.
They have urged council to insist the North Coast Accommodation Trust (NCAT), which runs the Crown reserve parks, remove the bollards blocking Riverside Crescent, yet to no avail.
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.
Ms Barham last week told Mr Page ‘the Crown has now taken the area and used it without approval’.
‘Council resolved specifically that the licence would not include the road area. It has now been blockaded, which means that people cannot access the foreshore. That is the concern,’ she said.
In reply, Mr Page said his department was assessing the new licensing conditions for the three Crown reserve parks in Brunswick Heads.
He said council was ‘seeking to impose additional conditions and the Division of Local Government is assessing the situation’.
He said Brunswick Heads locals had made representations to him supporting the council’s proposed conditions as well as ‘representations from Crown Lands about the impact’.