Byron Shire Council has one last chance to save the Ferry Reserve foreshore and Lot 7005 at Massey Greene caravan parks from commercial development.
As the licensing authority, it’s council’s job to determine the operational boundaries of all commercial activity on crown lands.
The holiday park boundaries included in the 2014 POMs did not reflect BSC s68 ATO determinations, which has necessitated the current review and proposed amendments to approved POMs for Ferry, Massey Green and Terrace Park.
BSC’s 2012 licence agreement (Resolution 12-627) excluded both the Ferry foreshore and Riverside Cres road reserve from the operational area. Part of Lot 7005 at Massey Green was also retained for public use.
The amended plan from Crown Lands proposes to extend the public area at Ferry Reserve from 10 to 15 metres – while retaining the 21.6m wide road reserve for holiday park use.
It sounds reasonable – almost a 50/50 split, yet the public will still lose half the foreshore, so it is difficult to view the deal as a ‘win’ for the public.
The impact of camping is clearly evident along the riverbank strip at Ferry Reserve. The ground is compacted and denuded of grass and covered in grey cracker dust. Shady trees have been replaced with power outlets and light poles. The riverbank remains vulnerable and access to the public boat ramp will be constrained by boom-gates via the park entrance.
NSWCHPT has misled the public by suggesting land is being returned to the public at Ferry Reserve when in fact 20 metres of road reserve land (compulsory acquired in 2012) is to be added to the holiday park for no apparent public benefit.
CHPT’s amended plans for Massey Green resumes all of Lot 7005 and locates six new cabins along the waterfront which will have a significant impact on public access and visual amenity.
Even the most casual observer can see the amount of space retained for public use between the boat harbour yacht precinct and Massey Greene is totally inadequate.
In places,it’s just seven metres wide, which will inevitably generate conflict and increase risk factors and public liability issues between the mix of cars, vans, watercraft and pedestrians.
The new park entrance and proposed redevelopment of Lot 7005 will exacerbate existing problems along the harbour front.
All setbacks for cabins are measured from the top of the riverbank and it’s not clear whether the public access walkways are outside or within the holiday parks.
The location of the foreshore boundary remains undetermined and there’s no assurance the public will retain access or ownership of the walkways in any future sale of the holiday parks.
We are arguing over ‘scraps of land’. yet CHPT’s current use of our public lands has clearly generated negative impacts on the sensitive environment and public amenity.
Byron council has one last chance to reclaim our public land for public use.
Michele Grant, convenor, Foreshore Protection Group