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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

Holiday parks decision an insult to community: mayor

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Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson.

Simon Richardson

The last few weeks has ensured all and sundry have seen the emperor not just wearing few clothes, but as brazenly nude as a toddler.

The NSW Government came to power trumpeting that locals would be put back in control of planning matters that affect them.

The Brunswick Heads Holiday Parks and Crown Lands foreshore areas recently adopted Plans of Management and the West Byron rezoning process have shown even the truest of believers a truth that cannot be explained away.

Not only have the Brunswick Heads Plans of Management kept control over the holiday parks in the hands of the state government-appointed ‘Trust’ seeking the highest return, they have put the same operators in charge of ensuring compliance, the setting of public access widths and overall reporting.

For example, what was once public access that allowed fishing and picnicking, could, if the manager sees fit, be as narrow as 1.8 metres wide.

During the last year or so of negotiations with the Holiday Parks managers, it was clear we would struggle to achieve anything like the outcomes the community deserved, but with the State government requiring Council to negotiate, we did so in good faith.

I thought if we could maintain public access, we had secured at least something for the community, knowing that ultimately we were being forced to play the tune created for us by the state government.

Though tenuous, the community have managed to keep public access along the Brunswick River in front of two parks, with a touch more public access gained on the eastern side of Massey Greene, but access through the Terrace Reserve will be at the discretion of the managers. There is absolutely no compulsion whatever for the permanent dwellings to move away from Simpson Creek and allow for public access as appropriate.

To rub salt in the wounds, this disgraceful management model has been promoted within the wider review of the Crown Lands Act as a model example of efficient and successful management.

Finally, the state government was aware the outcome was so woefully unpalatable for the community, they announced the approval of the Plans of Management without having the decency of notifying council or the community of Brunswick Heads. It was like a town square beheading without even letting the public bear witness. I presume Don Page’s silence over the matter is due to utter embarrassment.

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  1. I agree with Simon Richardson and the Brunswick community that the North Coast Holiday Parks managers and the state government have abandoned all decency in their proposals and process in stripping local councils and communities of control over local assets and facilities. Whatever community consultation that was carried out has been a farce. The government and managers don’t care about the locals, they want control to do with this land as they wish – further development.
    But are you aware the same park managers have control over Silver Sands Holiday Park at Evans Head? And that they have redevelopment plans there that have been in the pipeline for more than two years, that went on public display for a very short time and which are now going to go to the State Government. These plans will rip the heart out of the caravan park, turning it into a posh, high end park and kicking locals who have been there for decades out. In the same way as Byron council was locked out of Brunswick, so has happened to Richmond Valley and Evans. The community anger is immense and so is mine. What right do governments have to steal local assets away from the people.

  2. Approval of North Coast Holiday Parks plans is shortsighted and a serious blow to not only our community but the NSW coastal environment. The State Government should be called to examine whether NCHP’s management of our coastal asset in Byron Bay is resulting in coastal erosion before handing them free rein of Brunswick Heads. Is it any coincidence that since this group took over management of Clarkes Beach Caravan Park that there has been a significant increase in the amount of beach erosion occurring north of the park? One of the groups initiatives since taking over management has been to upgrade the site and access – i.e. increase the amount of bitumen and concrete and improve drainage on sites. There has also been an increase in the number of cabins. As a result the park now creates a much larger volume of storm water and this increase in runoff has been dealt with by increasing drainpipes that move the water away more quickly from the sites. Examination of the gully at the southern end of the park reveals recent deepening and widening of the gully and significant tree falls here of quite old trees due to the increase in storm water and the frequency of high flow events. There is a significant impact to the beach as well. North of this gully the Parks steps to the beach now hang precariously over the water at high tide. Five years ago the steps led to a back dune with a high tide mark perhaps 100m seawards. Our beach is dynamic and changes constantly but it is evident that the Park’s storm water is impacting seriously on the beach. There is now only one dune remaining between the water and the motorhomes and cabins. What will a major storm bring and will global warming be blamed for the damage when it is fairly evident that poor coastal planning and management is the culprit?


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