Brunswick Heads and its popular foreshore recreation areas and access to them could be fenced off from locals and visitors alike if the secretive state agency running the town’s three public caravan parks has its way with controversial plans now on public exhibition.
Video Sharon Shostak
Bruns locals rail against move to ‘steal’ their access
Why should visitors to Brunswick Heads have private access to public lands but not residents?
It was just one of many unanswered questions that were again covered on Saturday at the second public information session held by North Coast Holiday Parks’ (NCHP) manager Jim Bolger.
It comes as plans by NCHP to develop the town’s three holiday parks and five Crown foreshore reserves are under scrutiny after being placed on public exhibition just before the busy holiday period.
And like the previous meeting, residents expressed confusion, anger and exasperation as to why access they had enjoyed over generations should be taken away at NCHP’s discretion.
But it was not public access and boundary encroachments that were sore points for locals.
Resident Sean O’Meara told Echonetdaily, ‘the town is basically under attack from privatisation,’ referring to the state-run private corporation NCHP.
In backing the claim, elderly long-time Brunswick Heads resident and father of Sean, D’Arcy O’Meara, says that local NSW Nationals MP Don Page first brought to his attention ‘this scam’ between the then-NSW Labor government and a ‘network of public servants’.
‘He explained to me the danger of how they would take possession of [the public assets], isolating the community and eventually it would become the property of the state government so they could sell it or lease it to people such as NCHP and other similar things,’ Mr O’Meara Senior said.
‘Mr Page said “When we gain power in parliament, we will rectify this, we will dismantle it so it will come back to the local people”.
‘That was an election promise. In government they’ve gone to water,’ Mr O’Meara said.
Mr Page is yet to reply to Echonetdaily questions.
Meanwhile, a closed meeting between Byron Council and NCHP’s Mr Bolger was held on Thursday, presumably to negotiate the long-running public access and boundary issues.
While questions to Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson remain unanswered, Cr Di Woods told Echonetdaily it was ‘very intense’, and as a result of all councillors’ input ‘Council will form a submission for the Crown’s consideration, after it has received legal advice on many aspects in the proposed plans.
‘My desire is to see an outcome for the community, visitors and the caravan parks, that gives everyone most of what they would like, but importantly, it is Brunswick Heads and its residents that need assurance that the village will not become another Noosa,’ Cr Woods said.
‘There is only approximately 1,600 residents, and it would be criminal in my view to destroy their amenity, and to negate the very thing that people come here for and that is the “Simple Pleasures” on offer for families.
‘I believe that the proposed plans will enable the holiday parks to become more expensive (nothing wrong with commercial interests improving their bottom line), and could exclude those people that this community and business fraternity have worked so hard to attract,’ Cr Woods said.
The issue will be raised again at tonight’s (Monday) meeting (from 7pm in the town’s Memorial Hall) of the Brunswick Heads Progress Association, which is also worried about the NCHP proposals and how locals’ amenity could be affected.
Comments on the draft plans of management close February 21 and are available at http://bit.ly/1kvpYov.
Submissions can be made to: The Chair, NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust, PO Box 647 Ballina NSW 2478, or by email to email@example.com.