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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Government denies public access over profits at Brunswick Heads

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The proposal by the state-appointed NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust to deny public access to the foreshore at Brunswick Heads is a disgrace and shows the contempt with which the state government treats the public.

The state government trust set up to manage the caravan parks has a sole focus on providing revenue rather than public access to our parks and reserves.

Both Byron and Ballina councils handed over the management rights many north coast caravan parks under duress.

With Ballina, councillors were told that if we didn’t accept a negotiated settlement, we could be left with nothing.

This line of thinking is not unique when councils deal with the state government. It’s the same situation with rural land re-zonings.

In both cases, the public is left either without access to its public reserves, or is stuck picking up the tab for infrastructure while developers move in, make their profits, and then head to the next town.

Crown reserves should be for the public to enjoy, not fenced off and developed to generate revenue for the state government.

Jeff Johnson, Ballina shire councillor and Independent candidate for the seat of Ballina 


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  1. Need to clarify and/or elaborate on a couple of issues raised
    1. Byron Shire Council worked hard to address problems associated with the caravan parks in particular in Plans of Management until it was dismissed in July 2006 by Crown Lands as the Reserve Trust Manager. The reasons for dismissal have not been be made public and that includes questions from Ian Cohen to Minister Tony Kelly as reported in Hansard in September 2006.
    2. A confidential report accessed under FofI by outgoing General Manager, Graham Faulkner, done for the Department of Lands in September 2005 states on page 30 recommendation for the long term commercial leasing of the caravan parks on these prime foreshore lands here in Brunswick Heads. The stated purpose for this recommendation is to mitigate community interference with the operations of the caravan parks!
    3. North Coast Accommodation Trust and its business entity, North Coast Holiday Parks was created in 2004. Preparation of and faults in the approved 2014 PoM lies squarely with NCHP which, as from June 2013, became accountable to the newly created New South Wales Crown Holiday Parks Trust.
    4. In those PoM the illusions of access are rife. Firstly, one must distinguish between access to and access along the foreshore. They mean completely different things. Access ‘to’ can be satisfied with a route ending at the foreshore. Access ‘along’ the foreshore has to be specific and not shrouded in clever wordcraft, as is the case. In the PoM for Brunswick Heads access along the foreshore of Simpson’s Creek, a tributary of the Brunswick River is totally denied once past the existing cabins adjoining the footbridge. Instead, access ‘along the foreshore’ is via a shared vehicular pedestrian roadway located well away from the river.
    Prime foreshore land is being given to short and long term sites virtually ‘privatising’ public land.
    5. And all of this is done by NCHP/NSWCHPT in defiance of the legislative power that Council’s have to determine the boundaries of the operational area of the caravan parks. It is up to the elected Councillors on both Ballina and Byron Councils, the elected representatives of you and me who rightly own this land to exercise their power and keep the foreshores, immediately adjoining the top of the riverbanks outside the operational area of the caravan parks, unfettered for pedestrian access.


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