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Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Government contempt for public land

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The current plans of management for Brunswick Heads caravan parks now on exhibition are evidence of the utter contempt NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust (NSWCHPT) and NSW Trade and Investment Crown Lands (NSWTICL) have for Byron Shire Council’s resolutions on the operational boundaries for the caravan parks. Those critical resolutions are 12-627 of August 9, 2012, 12-995 of December 20 and 13-25 of February 14. Their attitude puts deputy premier Andrew Stoner (Crown Lands) and minister for local government Don Page in opposing camps.

The document also states that the trust manager may enter into the commercial leasing of the caravan park under s102 of the Crown Lands Act 1989. The notion of commercial leasing is consistent with the recommendation in Deplan’s confidential report September 2005 to the then Department of Lands.

In the context of Ferry Reserve caravan park, approximately 1.2ha of land were compulsorily acquired to expand the Crown reserve to include Old Pacific Highway and the old Fins building. Development is proposed on land zoned E2, which at this stage prohibits caravan parks.

Potential revenue-raising land has been given over to ‘recreational facilities’ as opposed to vacating the foreshore land between the paved former road reserve and the river and using it as recreational land for members of the public and caravan park clientele. This would have returned that land to its historical use as parkland.

The old Fins building is to be reconfigured as dormitory-style accommodation on the ground floor, with self-contained units on the second floor, shared amenities, a common room and guest lounge. The document labels this as ‘group accommodation’. It is a hard to imagine this as anything other than backpacker accommodation.

It will be left to the Reserve Trust to determine whether or not a member of the public can continue to use the public boat ramp. Such discretionary power in the hands of any manager prone to a short fuse and poor public relations skills would be devastating for those who have conventionally used the boat ramp to launch their tinnies.

Long-term sites will be phased out.

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads


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