A recently distributed leaflet called The ‘Brunswick Community Update’, authorised by Steve Edmonds, CEO of the NSW Crown Holiday Park’s Trust, is nothing less than an insult.
First and foremost, it must be demanded of Mr Edmonds that neither he nor his Trust release a document headed ‘Brunswick Community Update’.
The Trust does not represent ‘the community’ and is not at liberty to assume that it does now or in the future. A non-equivocal heading is needed.
I have long been involved in making submissions to Plans of Management for the caravan parks. Those submissions, together with others have been instrumental in exposing the fundamental issues of: i) illegal encroachments onto adjoining lands outside the operational boundary of the caravan parks ii) non-compliance in the operation of the caravan parks iii) fettered access along the foreshores of the Brunswick River.
The referenced 41 amendments made to the exhibited Plans of Management did nothing to reflect those fundamentals. Instead, those 41 amendments at best can be described as cosmetic. I continue to be appalled with the:
(i) grabbing via compulsory acquisition, adjoining Crown Lands into the operational area of the caravan parks in full knowledge of the community’s objection to it.
(ii) continuing non-compliance in the operation of the Terrace Holiday Park in so far that setbacks and buffer zones are not provided.
(iii) no provision for unfettered public access along the foreshore of Simpson’s Creek
I am outraged and appalled with the lack of transparency in the manner in which submissions were treated and it gives rise to questions as to the partiality of the CHPT.
The methodology of the audit is subject to question and can hardly be described as producing findings that were comprehensive, thorough and reliable.
Instead, the process questions the validity on which the subsequent Ministerial decision was made.
What did the community get?
( i) cosmetic changes to the internal layout of the caravan parks ii) recognition of the existing public access along the foreshore at Massey Greene and, subject to accurate measurement
(11) a 10m setback from the top of the rock wall at Ferry Reserve
( iii) continuing unfettered access to the now recognised public boat ramp at Ferry Reserve
( iv) re-instatement of public access to the Kayak launch area at Massey Greene
( v) an access pathway, deliberately not recognised as a ‘road’ for fear of interfering with NSW CHPT’s legislatively required setbacks if it was a road, albeit expected to function as a road on the western side of Massy Greene
( vi) no re-instatement of public access along the foreshore of Simpson’s Creek but rather ‘conditional’ access through the caravan park leaving it to the discretionary judgement and politics of the local manager and his/her supervisor?
( vii) upgrade to the kayak lunching facilities to enhance the hiring business recently started from the Terrace caravan park
( viii) non-compliance of the Terrace caravan park in so far that legislatively required buffer zones have been violated
(ix) an undertaking to remove existing structures away from the foreshore sites to allow the re-establishment of a natural bank profile.
This is in spite of the fact that some long term tenants were advised they could be expected to be relocated within the park when they took up a lease and in spite of the fact that others knowingly took the risk and were prepared to gamble on the politics of place, to lease a long term site.
The youthfulness of some of these long term tenants make the realisation of this vision so far removed from the present that it lacks credibility.
A time frame, as supported in submission by Byron Shire Council would have given some credence to this vision.
Such a time frame of five years would have been in addition to the time when the caravan park issue gathered momentum 2000.
This means long term tenants have already had 14 years to relocate and an additional time frame of five years would have brought that to 19 years.
(x) no 30 per cent of sites for long term leasing in a context where affordable accommodation is critically needed.
The land at the western end of Massey Greene between its ‘proper’ operational boundaries and the fence at the western end of Massey Greene was illegally encroached upon during the tenure of a former manager of Massey Greene.
It has not been part of the legal operational area of the caravan park for decades but rather recognised as illegal by Byron Shire Council as early as June 1988 following the gazzettal of the changes to the Local Government Act effective 1987.
The community have never approved of this encroachment thus giving the lie to what has been implied in the statement ‘has been part of the operational area of the holiday park for decades’ that those illegal encroachments have been condoned.
The entire paragraph called ‘Trust Compliance’ in the brochure also is misleading and reflects poorly on those who have crafted and taken the liberty to head it ‘Brunswick Community Update’.
Those involved in the caravan park issue since the 199′s are well aware of the politics of giving continuing licensing, through delegated authority, for the caravan parks to operate.
Many, many of those licences were given in good faith, pending approved Plans of Management. The dismissal of Byron Shire Council in December 2006 as Reserve Trust Manager on highly questionable grounds, begs the question how any alleged Trust would posture otherwise.
Those suspicions are well and truly documented in a Confidential Report to the Dept of Lands September 2005.
The fact that Mr Jim Bolger made a discretionary decision to use the May 2013 licence as the operational boundaries of the caravan parks in the draft Plans of Management is nothing less than utterly appalling and that process and decision is deserving of independent scrutiny.
Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads