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Byron Shire
December 8, 2021

Brunswick Heads marina berths to increase

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Brunswick Heads Boat Harbour. Photo brunswickheads.org.au

Questions remain unanswered around a press release from Nationals MLC Ben Franklin’s office regarding a $2.8 million upgrade to the Brunswick Heads boat harbour.

According to his press release last week, berths will be replaced, while a ‘number of berths’ will be built.

Additionally Mr Franklin claims, ‘…tenders will be sought for design and construction work once survey investigations and stakeholder engagement is carried out’.

Yet it was news to Simon Freeden from Byron Bay Eco Cruises and Kayaks, who says he had been part of stakeholder meetings around the future of the marina, and was unaware of the announcement or any adoption of a masterplan for the area.

He told The Echo that for the last three to four years, around eight to ten stakeholders were in regular meetings with the NSW Crown Lands (DPIE).

‘We developed a masterplan for the harbour, got through the process, including all minor details, the community was on board… then it died in the bum’.

He says that the project appeared to be put on hold as a new government department was established.

According to RMS, The Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) ‘is a joint initiative between [departments] to improve the co-ordination and delivery of coastal and boating infrastructure programs and projects across NSW.’

Open space

Mr Freeden says the community’s wishes for the space were for as ‘much open space as possible, with access to the foreshore all around’.

‘The government came back with plans for a single finger wharf, which was rejected by boaties and the community’.

He says the consensus was to maintain it, similar to what is it presently, but also to build floating pontoons.

‘I question whether more berths could be facilitated’, he said, adding that the Bruns river mouth is notoriously dangerous.

‘A speed limit is needed for the river,’ he said, and that the ‘8kn signs have been removed’.

Among unanswered questions to Mr Franklin was ‘How does this announcement fit in with the masterplan for the area, given there isn’t one adopted yet?’



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  1. MLC Franklin’s release was somewhat uninformed, light on correct information and winds up causing angst in the community. Some of us were told, after the last consultation meeting, that a single finger plan with new berths around much of the perimeter was likely going to be drawn up soon. I’ve seen that plan. Then it all went quiet.

    Also, to be fare, quoting the light weight press release in part “……..berths will be replaced, while a ‘number of berths’ will be built.” could tend to give a different indication than what may have been intended in the press release?

    The poorly worded release said “This work will involve replacing berths which have reached the end of their service life while also increasing the number of berths and therefore capacity for storage of recreational boats in this harbour.”

    Replacing berths to me means exactly that. Unsatisfactory berths around the harbour will be replaced with new ones due to work place and safety issues. It was also said “….while also increasing the number of berths” I can’t see an increase in the number of berths simply by replacing the old ones, which leads me to believe there may well be a finger from the western wall as planed.

    Also be aware that I believe that the whole Harbour issue, development and management, was basically dumped on a whole new crew set up in MIDO when it was all transferred over from Lands in the middle of Covid. They had little background on what had been developing in consultation and have been working hard to come up to speed. We’ll see what transpires. I’m hopeful.


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