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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Park manager misleading on land grab

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Jim’s Bolger’s outrageous claim that NCHP’s draft plans of management (PoM) ‘do not remove any foreshore land from public use’ is misleading.

The location of caravan park boundaries has been robustly contested for over a decade and is still the subject of ‘negotiation’ with Byron Council, who determine the licence conditions for all commercial activity on Crown lands.

Council proposed boundary adjustments and new licence conditions (adopted in August, 2012 and endorsed again in May 2013) are not mentioned anywhere in NCHP’s draft PoM.

Riverside Crescent road reserve makes up almost half of the foreshore area at Ferry Reserve. Council’s new licence agreement maintains Riverside Cres as the park boundary and retains the entire foreshore area for public recreation, a long held position with widespread community support.

NCHP’s draft PoM has allocated less than 10 metres for public access along the riverbank and has ‘resumed’ over 2000 square metres of public land for caravan park activities.

Park management has already blockaded public access along Riverside Cres (without Council approval or public notification) and boat owners will need the park manager’s permission to access the public boat ramp.

Around 12,000m2 of road reserve land (Old Pacific Hwy and Fins Building) was added to Ferry Reserve, virtually doubling the size of the caravan park.

Yet NCHP have refused to relocate ‘unlicensed’ camp sites off the foreshore strip as required by Council’s new agreement.

In Massey Greene, caravan park activities have encroached onto Lot 7005, zoned 5A for Marine purposes and public recreation, adjoining the boat harbour.

Mr Bolger claims ‘there is no development planned for the Co-op’s land’, yet a two-storey manager’s residence and new cabin precinct is proposed for Lot 7005.

All that remains of public land is a narrow congested strip along the harbour front to provide access to the yacht moorings and boat ramp, public walkway and shared car parking.

Significant subsidence is clearly evident, particularly at the park entrance. The proposed upgrade to the road/entrance and proposed new buildings are just metres from the waterfront and will intensify activity and exacerbate existing problems.

Council’s licence agreement and subsequence resolution (Feb 2013) place the Massey Greene caravan park boundary along the existing picket fence.

The public will retain access to existing foreshore pathways at Ferry and Massey Greene, but park management has repeatedly refused to reinstate public access along the riverbank in Terrace Park.

A three-metre buffer zone and 10-metre building setback along all park boundaries is a legislative requirement and Council directive (reiterated ad nauseum) since 2000, and no exemptions apply for the pre-existing ‘natural walkway’ at Terrace Park.

The 12 permanent residences remaining on the riverbank were given three years to relocate to available sites in Terrace Park at NCHP’s expense by Byron Council in February 2013.

Over half the land available in southern section of Terrace Park is road reserve lands and Council licence retained 10 metres for road improvements, a bike path, carpark and public amenity.

Only primitive camping is permitted during peak holiday periods to reduce the impact on nearby neighbours and the sensitive SEPP 14 wetlands.

Overcrowding, inadequate setbacks and site requirements, occupation, health and safety issues and non-compliance are not addressed in NCHP’s PoM: the issues are detailed in BCA Check’s independent audit of the parks (see Council’s agenda 9 August 2012).

Mr Bolger relies on outdated ‘exemptions’ and refuses to upgrade the parks and bring them into line with current regulations because it will inevitably reduce the number of permissible sites and impact on park profits.

Mr Bolger’s disingenuous semantics does this community a grave disservice.

NCHP draft plans of management do remove foreshore land from public use, forever.

The plans fail to address longstanding compliance and amenity issues.

Our parks will be fenced and gated to restrict public access and will ‘privatise’ public foreshore land and facilities so they are accessible to holiday parks patrons only.

Foreshore Protection Group supports Council’s new licence conditions which seek to protect and retain public land for public use.

Help stop the privatization of ‘encroached’ public land by sending a submission to [email protected]  before 21 February.

Michele Grant, Foreshore Protection Group. Ph: 66803163



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