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November 28, 2021

Have your say on public access to the Brunswick Heads foreshore

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Campers at Ferry Reserve Holiday Park. Photo brunswickheads.org.au

There are three days left to make your views known on how the public foreshore in Brunswick Heads will be divided between public land and access and the two caravan parks as part of the Plans of Management (POM) for Massy Greene and Ferry Holiday Parks.

The public foreshore in Brunswick Heads has been eaten into since the 1980s by local caravan parks as they  encroached on public land to increase their potential for taking campers and offering them a beachside and riverside experience. The locals of Brunswick Heads and Byron Shire have fought tirelessly to push back against the land grab. The POMs are now the key to how the state government run the caravan parks and what land they are entitled to.

In 1988 the council identified land as being illegally encroached on by Ferry Holiday Park and this was excluded by council from the caravan park in 2012. However, the Ferry Holiday Park still continues to occupy this area and have increased usage to 24 hours a day, seven days a week and had power and water connected to this area in the early 2000s.

Ferry Holiday Park POM not acceptable

Patricia Warren from the Foreshore Protection Group told Echonetdaily that, ‘After careful consideration, and subject to twigging, clarification and consideration of pending traffic issues, the Massy Greene POM may have community support. Not so with Ferry Holiday Park.’

Regarding the foreshore adjacent to Ferry Holiday Park, ‘The grassed area varies in width from approximately 20m to 30m along the Brunswick River. The exhibited POM intends to reduce this for public use to seven metres. It effectively reduces the grassed area by over 55 per cent, not increasing it as claimed at Question 11 on the feedback sheet,’ she said.

Ms Warren also highlights that, ‘As part of the changes in the Crown Lands Act our public lands can be sold. Consequently, it is important when responding to the exhibited POM for the Massy Greene and Ferry Holiday Parks that thought be given to how you want these foreshore lands are to be used into the future.’

For those people who are interested in maintaining and regaining the area of public foreshore that are currently in public hands and are illegally encroached on by the Ferry Holiday Park the Foreshore Protection group have provided a range of advice on how to answer the online feedback form.

‘The questions (on the feedback form) are limiting and we encourage respondents to make further comments at the end of the surveys,’ said Ms Warren.

‘It is important to note that the “neither agree nor disagree” response is made because we don’t agree with the premises of some questions. This can be explained in the written section at the end,’ she said.

Filling out the online feedback forms

Massy Greene POM

To find the feedback form search: ‘We Value Your Feedback Submission Form – Massy Greene’ or click here: Massy Greene POM

Question 11 – Neither agree nor disagree

Question 12 – Strongly disagree

Question 15 – Unsatisfied

Question 17 – Areas of improvement

(a) Northern boundary setback of 7m and 3m is supported conditional that:

i. Picnic tables, which will be used primarily by campers, are installed within the 3m buffer zone, not within the 7m foreshore setback.

ii. Planting out the of the whole of the 3m buffer zone is reduced to leave clients with a clear view of the river and to create a sense of openness along the foreshore but wide enough to stop the ‘spill over’ effect of the park’s clients extending their sites.

2. iii. The surface of pathway to be hailstone in keeping with other pathways in Brunswick Heads and to allow for tree root movement.

(b) Western boundary is supported conditional that:

(i) the interface with the boat harbour development provides for two-way vehicular and trailers to the non-powered watercraft launching ramp.

(ii) Parking is provided for vehicles and trailers used for canoes/paddleboards near the Old Pacific Highway and to support the launching ramp.

(iii) Question 12 references a children’s playground in the green coloured area to the south of the proposed western entry. It is reasonable to state this will principally be for the benefit of the park’s clients. A children’s playground is proposed on the western side of the boat harbour for general public use. It will be located in a safer place than what is proposed on the western side of Massy Greene.

(iv) The launching ramp is configured in a manner which makes it impossible for it to be used to launch powered boats eg tinnies, thus ensuring it is used for its intended purpose.

(v) The access route is gazetted as a road and is outside the operational area of the holiday park.

(vi) The surface of the pathway to be hailstone in keeping with other pathways in Brunswick Heads.

(vii) A traffic study needs to be done in conjunction with the Boat Harbour Masterplan and the maximum permissible development of the 3,500sqm of freehold land to determine whether or not the entry/exit to the holiday park is best located on the west or east of the park. The survey questions have omitted any reference to the western entry and with the proposed development of the Boat Harbour it is important the traffic issue is serious consideration in decision making.

(c) Eastern boundary is supported conditional that there is no further reclamation of Tweed Street road reserve for the proposed pathway. The pathway needs to be hailstone in keeping with other pathways in Brunswick Heads.

(d) Southern boundary is supported.

(e) The refuse collection is within the boundaries of the caravan park and not outside as proposed.

(f) The vegetation plan is endorsed by Council in promoting biodiversity.

(g) Fencing, its style and siting is put aside pending consultation with the community.

Ferry Holiday Park POM

To find the feedback form search: ‘We Value Your Feedback Submission Form – Ferry Reserve’ or click on Ferry Holiday Park POM

Question 11 – Strongly disagree

Question 12 – Strongly disagree

Question 13 – Strongly disagree

Question 17 – Very Unsatisfied

Question 18 – These are all positive outcomes in the exhibited POM:

(a) The eastern boundary is supported.

(b) The western boundary is supported.

(c) The southern boundary is supported.

Questions 19 – areas of improvement are:

a. Public amenities and outdoor shower are needed to support the use of the public boat ramp. This will also stop the proposed public area becoming, by default used with any sense of comfort principally by caravan park clientele who will have ready access to such amenities.

b. The vegetation plan restores the koala wildlife corridor and is supported by Council in promoting biodiversity.

c. A sound wall needs to be built to mitigate the impact of highway noise onto the caravan park, particularly from across a water surface.

d. The land along the foreshore opposite Numbers 1–6 Riverside Crescent is in urgent need of rehabilitation and excludes vehicles and trailers.

e. Fencing, its style and siting is put aside pending consultation with the community.

At Question 20, please consider the following points to support and add to your responses

Question 11 – Reasons for strongly disagreeing are:

The northern boundary (7m and 3m) is not supported as it reduces the amount of open foreshore space for general public use.

(a) The width of the existing grassed foreshore area varies from 20m to 30m along the Brunswick River. The exhibited Plans of Management reduces this to 7m representing a loss of public space and reducing the area of foreshore by over 55 per cent.

(b) The northern boundary to the holiday park needs to be aligned with the northern side of the existing road formation, known as Riverside Crescent (ie the bitumen and gutters) with a 3m setback from that. This means that all the grassed foreshore area between the road formation and the river remains outside the operational area of the caravan park for general public use which includes the caravan park’s clientele.

(c) No formalised hard surface pathway/cycle way along the foreshore as, by law it will require fencing .

Question 12 – Reasons for strongly disagreeing are:

(a) This response is directly linked to the response to Question 11. The creation of the public park appears to be compensation for the appropriation of the foreshore parkland.

(b) This children’s playground will be used predominantly by park patrons not the public.

(c) The area designated is overstated as it includes a sewer pump station and the need for road access to it.

(d) The statement that the new park area is ‘within the holiday park’ is not consistent with what is shown on the map Fig 4.9 Public Realm Plan.

Question 13 – Reason for strongly disagreeing is:

(a) The off-leash dog walking area is primarily for the benefit of park patrons. Ferry is a dog-friendly holiday park.

Question 17 – Reason for strongly disagreeing is:

(a) The loss of over 55 per cent of the area of the existing grassed foreshore from general public use.

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  1. it is clear that this has always been public land so why should the caravan park owners even be allowed to refuse access of this land to the public. they should be on very controlled leases and with the threat of losing them if they choose to break the rules.


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