Michele Grant, Foreshore Protection Group.
Byron councillors, Sarah Ndiaye, Michael Lyons and Alan Hunter have lodged a rescission motion that will gift around 36,000m2 of road reserve lands valued at $3.7 million (in 2010) to NSWCHPT for commercial redevelopment of Brunswick Heads Caravan Parks.
Byron’s mayor Simon Richardson moved to secure contentious ‘encroached’ public lands in the long running dispute with NSWCHPT over operational boundaries of Holiday Parks in Brunswick Heads at council’s meeting last month. The motion supported the implementation of 10m foreshore setback for public access, retained part of Lot 7005 (~2000m2) adjacent to Massy Greene Caravan Park and the southern area of Terrace Park (~6000m2) for public use.
The decision to exclude all camping in the Terrace was added by Labor’s Cr Paul Spooner who spoke of his concern for the remaining Coastal Cypress pine trees, which are listed as an endangered ecological community. It’s also a registered Aboriginal cultural site. BSC’s previous 2012 license agreement prohibited all commercial activity in this area while subsequent amendments allowed occasional camping during peak holiday periods.
BSC’s submission on 2014 Holiday Park Plans of Management, which are currently under review states, ‘There appears to be a long term pattern of poor tree management within the Holiday Parks…..and trees that have been subject to a history of poor pruning over a long period of time’
‘By their nature holiday parks require constant mowing, slashing, trimming and weed control. Vehicles, caravans, tents etc cause major soil compaction, disturbance and damage to tree root systems.
‘Most of the mature indigenous native species in the Shire’s Caravan parks are not resilient to this environment and unfortunately their fate is inevitable’.
‘Council predicts a continued loss of mature trees from the Brunswick Heads Holiday parks.’
‘Coastal redgums have recently been removed from Ferry Reserve. These trees are listed as Koala food trees under SEPP 44. The foreshore has been identified as a Koala corridor which creates a link from west to east under the Pacific Hwy bridge. A program needs to be implemented to replace this lost habitat with a view to rehabilitating the corridor.’
The rescission motion from the Greens councillors will hand this fragile vulnerable public parkland over to NSWCHPT for commercial development, literally privatising public lands without a hint of hypocrisy, and signing off on the destruction of protected ecological communities and the koala corridor. Elected just eight months ago novice Green councillors are prepared to rely solely on NSWCHPT’s new Tree Management Strategy and risk the life of over 100 remaining WW1 memorial pines in Terrace Park to ensure they have a good relationship with Crown Lands and NSWCHPT into the future.
For the past five years Council has stood firm, emboldened by overwhelming community support, and relied on S68 Approval to Operate license agreements to restrict use of Terrace Park. Part of Lot 7005 was also retained to improve access and provide some additional open space between the boat harbour and Massey Greene. The location of foreshore boundary in Ferry Reserve has been a moveable feast and it was under a metre of water during the recent floods. The best outcome sought to retain in total ~10,000m2 of public land for shared public use.
If the rescission motion gets up it allows a free for all and Council will have virtually no input or control over future development of our public lands by NSWCHPT.
Council’s proposed new plans are not available in Agenda attachments on line yet, so the community has yet to see the final outcome which will be determined next Thursday, 25 May. We have sought an extension from Councillors to provide time to properly review their unexpected new proposal but so far no go.
Mayor Richardson and Greens councillors failed to attend BHPA’s community meetings or NSWCHPT consultation at OS Country Club last month and have yet to engage in any meaningful consultation with the community about their proposed plans. Grassroots democracy, fairness and equity have not prevailed. The Greens have rolled and we need to know why?
Councillors are invited to present their new plans and explain the sudden inexplicable backflip to the community at our hastily arranged consultation gathering this Saturday at the Soundshell in Terrace Park at 10am.