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Byron Shire
October 24, 2021

Mixed views on Brunswick boat harbour plans

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The revised draft boat harbour masterplan. Image www.crownland.nsw.gov.au

The draft Brunswick boat harbour plan has been released and the public have until May 1 to provide feedback to the NSW Department of Industry – Lands and Water.

There appears to be general support for the toilet and shower blocks, along with facilities for the removal of grey and black water from the boats and keeping the wooden walkways.

Yet there are still concerns regarding overdevelopment from some locals, including the Brunswick Progress Association (BPA) and some other boat harbour users. Those concerns include the size of the planned marina and removal of existing moorings, silting, and that the marina will be gated and locked, which is a change from the relaxed ambience of the harbour. A potential increase in mooring fees and the possible attraction of large Gold Coast style motor boats, otherwise referred to as ‘stink boats’ have also been raised.

However, the marina is considered a positive from the perspective of local yacht club member David Kolb, who has highlighted the reduced health and safety risks a marina brings, along with boat safety during changing weather conditions.

A spokesperson for the department has said that legally, the moorings are required to be rented out at market rate and that would remain the case. The question remains however, that if the marina is built and run by a private operator, would this lead to a significant increase in mooring fees?

Encroaching on public lands

The BPA has also highlighted that the ‘entrance to the caravan park keeps changing and encroaching on public lands.’

‘This entrance should be maintained on the eastern side where it is now,’ said Leigh Rees, secretary of the of the BPA.

‘If it is relocated to the proposed position on the draft plan, traffic will be even more congested. The relocation suggested in the draft plan is an inappropriate point of access to the Massey-Greene Caravan Park.’
They have also highlighted the limited public access along the eastern side where according to the draft it narrows to seven metres in some places.

‘Pedestrians and cyclists would be hindered in their movements,’ pointed out Ms Rees.

‘There should be at least a ten metre setback and the road by the foreshore should be moved back. Residents have made it very clear they do not want roads near the foreshores as is proposed in this draft. This is really a track and not a road, and should be well behind the proposed row of pines.’

College of Marine Studies

The College of Marine Studies has been involved in contributing to the development of the draft Brunswick harbour plan however, College founder Phil Walters feels that they have been sidelined. 

‘They have ignored all the issues from the scoping study that we put together on the feasibility of the facility at this site in conjunction with other government agencies at a cost of $28,000,’ said Mr Walters.

The DPI has refuted the claim stating that owing to the footprint required for the college – and competing needs of the community – a fully fledged facility is not suitable to the Brunswick boat harbour.

‘There isn’t enough space,’ said the DPI spokesperson.

‘It would impinge on the need for community space and access at the site.’

However, the provision of a multi-use community building that is proposed in the draft plan could potentially be rented by the Marine College as a space to run some of their programs the spokesperson confirmed.

The BPA and Brunswick Yacht Club will be meeting in the next few weeks to discuss their response to the draft plan. If you an opinion on how the harbour should be developed now is your last chance so register your thoughts here.

As one local I accidentally rang when I misdialled a phone number said ’I hope they bring the fish and chip shop back. It is a small town so it would be good to keep it local.’

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  1. The following comments are related only to the eastern side of the Boat Harbour and the proposed ramp for non-powered watercraft
    1. Crown Lands and NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust have each avoided using the word ‘road’ in their documents. Instead they have used the terms ‘thoroughfare’ or ‘access’. The reason for this is the bitumen ‘road’ is not a gazetted road in spite of the fact that it has served as a road for decades. (look like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….it’s a duck!)

    2. If the ‘road’ was gazetted as a road then NSWCHPT’s Plans of Management for Massy Greene would not be compliant. The Local Government Act required a 10m setback from a road. The amended POM have a 3m setback to their proposed cabins because they have ‘exploited’ the fact that the ‘road’ is not gazetted.

    3. ‘Access’ to the proposed non powered watercraft ramp as proposed by Crown Lands is to be shared between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. 7 car parking spaces are sited in the circular area to the north of the ‘access’. Two additional ‘temporary’ car parking spaces are planned along the ‘access’ route. In all probability these are between the Norfolk Pines. This means prime foreshore land is given over to vehicular parking when alternative, far less attractive land is available That land is located on Lot 7005 where NSWCHPT is proposing to site a children’s playground to the south of the proposed manager’s residence. This will be in proximity to the Old Pacific Highway, entry to both the caravan park and ‘access’ to the boat ramp. It will be a high trafficked area. Crown Land’s Masterplan for the Boat Harbour is already proposing a foreshore parkland along the rock wall to the north making the site of the children’s playground one of poor planning.

    4. No provision is made for parking of the multi-tired trailers now been used by private and commercial operators for transporting their canoes/kayaks. This is a grave failing because the purpose of providing such a ramp is surely intended to formalise an entry/exit point to the Brunswick River rather than encouraging the existing illegal entry/exit at known points along the estuary, areas that have been clearly identified in the recent Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the Brunswick River estuary as of concern.

    5. The width of the ‘access’ narrows done for a substantial length to 7m from the outer edge of the rock wall to the existing white fence. It is narrow.

    6. NSWCHPT has encroached beyond the boundary of Lot 7005 in its amended POM onto what is proposed as the ‘access’ to the ramp

    7. NSWCHPT is marketing Massy Greene on it riverside location and boating/canoeing/kayaking. The ramp is integral to the amended POM

    8. Solution: The ‘access’ needs to be formally gazetted as a road and NSWCHPT abide by setbacks to its proposed development as required under the LGA OR NSWCHPT needs to accept that part LOT 7005 should be given over to provide for proper ‘access’ to the proposed ramp and the land between the rock revetment wall and the existing white fence be given to the general public as an unfettered foreshore walkway.

    9. I cannot support the notion of a cycle way along the northern foreshore of Massy Greene as I have grave doubts about the width of that proposed unfettered walkway where it adjoins the proposed short term sites. Whilst NSWCHPT has promoted a 10m setback this has yet to be presented by them as extending the full length of the northern boundary to Massy Greene.


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