Middle Head Management Plan – Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

The Middle Head Management Plan – Amendment 2 – has been adopted and came into force on 11 April 2017.

This plan effects only the area controlled by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the NPWS are yet to release their plan and that plan may affect the beach area.

The notable key issues adopted in this plan include:

          The Harbour Trust is committed to working with public transport providers to increase services to Headland Park;

          Provision of a bus shelter on Middle Head Road (city-bound), opposite HMAS Penguin; and

          The Harbour Trust does not support the introduction of annual car parking passes for visitors. Time restrictions and fees are used to effectively manage demand for limited public parking at Middle Head.

The Management Plan acknowledged 40% of submissions received referred to NPWS issues. These included:

          Strong support for retention of clothing-optional status of Obelisk and Cobblers Beaches;

          Strong opposition to construction of new paths near Obelisk and Cobblers Beaches;

          Strong opposition to camping at Cobblers Beach; and

          Concern removal of overnight staff from NPWS-managed area of Middle Head will result in antisocial behaviour and damage to the site.

and noted these are matters for NPWS consideration.

The Harbour Trust links –

http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/system/files/pages/80cfd156-6457-4f9c-9242-647ad83b5d76/files/mh-mgt-planfinal-approved-april-2017landscape20170510lr.pdf

http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/system/files/pages/80cfd156-6457-4f9c-9242-647ad83b5d76/files/middle-head-consultation-summary-may-2017.pdf

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Comments by Bob Reed

It will require a change to the ‘Bathing Act of Parliament NSW’ to remove Cobblers Beach from being a legal nudist beach. It was the Free Beach Association of NSW with Bob Reed then as president when the Hon Pam Allan MP who had five NSW beaches legalised for recreational nude bathing. Cobblers Beach was one of the five. There are far too few clothes optional beaches in NSW to see any of them closed to recreational clothes optional bathing.

It was the National Parks and Wildlife Service who with the support of the NSW Liberal Party had a walking track put right across Reef Beach and forced its nude bathing status removed.

Reef Beach was legalised on the 25 October 1976 until 9 February 1993 and was used by tens of thousands of ordinary citizens i.e. families, couples, singles, in fact everyone was made most welcome there. Not one person was ever charged with any offence of any description on Reef Beach or in its environs in all those years it was legalised.

Was there ever a problem ‘Yes’ only with the lack of designated parking.

That was enough reason to have the beach closed. Those selfish residents now have back an empty beach and street to gloat over.

Wonder if the residents of Balmoral Beach could do the same? Parking is a nightmare there too at weekends.

I suggest that the beach goers of Cobblers Beach find a good lawyer who will act on their behalf Pro Bono. Remember it does not matter about ‘Right’, it will be more to do with Might and those who wish to remove the legitimate nudists who have done no wrong other than stand up for the rights.

Not only are you fighting for the rights of people to go nude bathing on Cobbler Beach today, it is also a fight for future generations to come and to be able to enjoy the freedoms of clothes optional bathing that we have and enjoy today.

Best wishes

Bob Reed – Fairlight

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The ‘Mates’ Submission

cb-beach

The ‘Mates of Middle Head’ have made their submission to both the Harbour Trust –

http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/planning-projects/public-comment/middle-head-%E2%80%93-draft-management-plan-draft-amendment-2

and the National Parks and Wildlife Service –

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/middle-head-master-plan.htm

Submissions close at 5pm (Sydney Time) Friday 16 December 2016.

This is our submission :

mates-of-middle-head-submission

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Have Your Voice Heard – Material for YOUR Submission.

Submissions for the MasterPlan close on 16 December 2016.

They can be made by way of email – to:

  • consulttrust@harbourtrust.gov.au
  • middlehead.masterplan@environment.nsw.gov.au

 

The ‘Mates of Middle Head’ suggest you send your submission to BOTH organisations.

We have drafted a some material that may assist you in YOUR submission:

  • You are free to use this material;
  • However, it is best if you put this into your own words or personalise these words;
  • Include some of your own thoughts, experiences and what the area means to you; and
  • How the Masterplan will effect YOU and your use of the area.

Path onto Cobblers Beach.

The proposed path ending on the beach should be changed to avoid the beach, commencing from the outer forts and follow the natural contours ending at the bend on Cobblers Beach Road. (this is the historic cobblestoned road from the car park area to the beach.)  A change in the route could allow for a wheelchair access path.

This would also ensure the objectives of the Masterplan are met and embraced, whilst also meeting the expectations of the results of the community questionnaire.

This path if constructed as outlined in the current draft plan onto the beach will cause irreparable damage to the area and the nature of the beach.   

Cobblers beach being a clothing optional beach is frequented daily by 1000’s of people during the height of summer and is a very unique beach being one of its kind in the Sydney area – a family clothing optional beach. We strongly remind the NPWS and SHT of the solid sentiments of the questionnaire regarding the beaches.  

The construction of such a path:

  • Will cause the beach to be a thoroughfare for the public;
  • May cause users of the path distress and embarrassment upon entering unawares a clothing optional beach;
  • Limit the available usable area for beach goers;
  • See a decrease in patronage which will have a follow on detrimental effect to the parking revenue of the Harbour Trust; and
  • See the loss of the last family clothing optional beach in the Sydney area.

Planned camping in the area and including Cobblers beach.

  • Any camping in the area should either be banned or confined to the area behind the boom gate area.
  • The plan outlines camping ONLY on Cobblers Beach. There is no allowance for services (cooking, power; rubbish, water, sewage & grey water waste) for the area, outlined in the masterplan.
  • The Middle Head area has experienced concerning anti-social behavior during the night and the encouragement of camping would be a significant risk to an increase in vandalism, damage and anti-social behaviors are against the ethos of the National Park.
  • The introduction of camping would require a duty of care and compliance with OH & S regulations, including security, engaging boom gate access into a secure fenced area, with provision for security surveillance, lighting and 24 hour staff in attendance. This would require a significant ongoing cost to the NPWS and SHT.
  • Further requirements would include a concrete driveway access to facilitate trades and service vehicles to provide water and sewer services, industrial power supply to facilitate pump requirements to remove toilet waste back into the sewer mains system.
  • Camping has the potential to for grey water waste to adversely impact on the harbour.
  • We have a strong objection to camping on Cobblers Beach.

 Construction of platforms on Cobblers Beach

  • These again detract from the area and beach. They will require regular maintenance and be a target for vandalism and damage.
  • They will restrict the minimal area available to beach-goers, especially during a high tide.
  • We have a strong objection to the planned construction of these platforms.

General

Car Parking – This is controlled by the SHT with some very limited parking by the NPSW on Chowder Bay Road. We suggest the introduction of an annual pass by the SHT as offered by NPSW.

Cobblers Beach – This beach holds a very strong sense of community, which appears to have been misunderstood by the planners of this proposal. Many of the beachgoers have been visiting the beach for decades and it is very much the center of their community and social grouping. The beach being a family beach has seen over the years many family groups grow up on the beach.

Many beachgoers will make the beach a day trip rather than spending mere hours on the beach. The beach is very much one of a picnic feel most weekends. This beach would be one of Sydney’s most visited beaches. The beach has been legally designated clothing optional for decades and a beach that requires protection rather than exploitation.

The beach is also a draw card for increasing global market of nudist tourism with many international visitors solely visiting Sydney to spent time on this beach, the loss of the beach would be detrimental to the economy of the area.

 Middle Head Area – The Masterplan holds a concerning undercurrent that of an expansion of businesses and other revenue raising enterprises for the SHT and NPWS. Whilst we are not against development we believe that this goes against the protection of a very unique area of Sydney and has the potential to destroy this area.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Open letter to all Cobblers Beach Patrons.

 

TO ALL COBBLERS BEACH PATRONS

Significant changes have been proposed that not only threaten the natural beauty of the beach we love, but stand to jeopardise the clothing-optional status of Cobblers.

The Sydney Harbour Trust and National Parks & Wildlife Service have drawn up a masterplan for the Middle Head precinct, which includes two points of huge concern for beach patrons.

One is for a walking track to be constructed that hugs the headland and will cut through the bushland to emerge at ground level- i.e where the grassed area currently is at Cobblers.

This tactic is similar to that which was employed to eventually halt nude bathing at Balgowlah’s Reef Beach some two decades ago.

The other area of the proposal that will adversely impact on the character and charm of the beach is for the creation of wooden decks/platforms designed for camping.

Allowing camping in the area is a recipe for disaster that will inevitably lead to anti-social behaviour, such as vandalism and littering.

The masterplan that includes these points of concern can be viewed online at:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/middle-head-master-plan.htm

http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/planning-projects/public-comment/middle-head-%E2%80%93-draft-management-plan-draft-amendment-2

The authorities welcome public feedback on their plans and it is crucial that we have a strong voice. Collectively, the patrons of Cobblers & Obelisk beaches represent the biggest and longest-standing group of stakeholders in the Middle Head precinct (not including the navy).

We urge beach-lovers to oppose these two key proposals and show their support for the continuation of nude bathing at Cobblers & Obelisk.

There are people in power who would like to revoke the status of both beaches, which have enjoyed legal status for almost 25 years (and been used unofficially for about double that time). 

Now is the time to demonstrate your support before more of the freedom in today’s society is eroded.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How To Comment on the Master Plan

masterplan-flyer

Submissions close on Friday 16 December 2016.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Review of the Draft Master Plan

The Mates of Middle Head, have reviewed the draft Master Plan for Middle Head. This Master Plan is a combined document by the Sydney Harbour Trust (SHT) & National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of some 170 pages.

In discussions with both the SHT & NPWS the Master Plan is currently in its consultation phase and open to suggestions and various edits. Everything is open to change.

middle-sign

These discussions have highlighted that much of the planning has been done so without the planners visiting the areas, understanding the history, current uses or area they intend to develop. The planners also don’t understand the negative impacts their proposed changes to the area.

There have been some comments, concerning the lack of funds available or the lack of intention to fund the concepts of the plan. These comments are correct, however, once the plan has been finalised it will become the Master Plan for the area when funds become available. Its unlikely another plan will be supersede this one for some time.

We STRONGLY suggest that you submit your views on the Master Plan. Especially issues that will affect your use or negative impacts of the area.

These views can take the form of suggesting edits to the plan rather than a complete rebuttal of the proposed changes.

Our concerns and suggestions include:

There is a path planned for the northern side of the Headland from the outer forts to Cobblers Beach ending on the grassed area on the beach and join the path known as ‘Cobblers Beach Path’.

  • Change the route of the path to commence from the outer forts and follow the natural contours ending at the bend on Cobblers Beach Road. (this the historic cobblestoned road from the car park area to the beach.)  A change in the route could allow for a wheelchair access path.
  • The construction of the path onto Cobblers Beach may cause users of the path distress and embarrassment upon entering a clothing optional beach.
  • The beach is well frequented during the entire year and especially during the summer months, with conservative estimates during the weekend of 1000 people visiting the beach during the day.
  • Many of these people are regular beachgoers who visit the beach almost weekly and for some daily.
  • The path may discourage many of the current beachgoers who frequent the beach. This would have a significant impact on the revenue for the Harbour Trust by way of parking fees.
  • Such a decrease of attendance to the park would have a follow-on effect to the revenue of the cafés and businesses both current and proposed effecting their viability.
  • Many of the beach goers are not local to the Mosman area, however, contribute the local business to and from the headland. 

 Planned camping in the area and including Cobblers beach.

  • Any camping in the area should either be banned or confined to the area behind the boom gate area.
  • The plan outlines camping ONLY on Cobblers Beach. There is no allowance for services (cooking, rubbish, water, sewage & grey water waste) for the area.
  • The Middle Head area has experienced concerning anti-social behaviour during the night and the encouragement of camping would be a significant risk to an increase in vandalism, damage and anti-social behaviours are against the ethos of the National Park.
  • We have a strong objection to camping on Cobblers Beach.

 Construction of platforms on Cobblers Beach

  • These again detract from the area and beach. They will require regular maintenance and be a target for vandalism and damage.
  • They will restrict the minimal area available to beach-goers, especially during a high tide.
  • We have a strong objection to the planned construction of these platforms.

General

Car Parking – This is controlled by the SHT with some very limited parking by the NPSW on Chowder Bay Road. We suggest the introduction of an annual pass by the SHT as offered by NPSW.

 Cobblers Beach – This beach holds a very strong sense of community, which appears to have been misunderstood by the planners of this proposal. Many of the beachgoers have been visiting the beach for decades and it is very much the centre of their community and social grouping. Many beachgoers will make the beach a day trip rather than spending mere hours on the beach. The beach is very much one of a picnic feel most weekends. This beach would be one of Sydney’s most visited beaches.

The recent questionnaire highlighted that 84% of respondents valued the beaches. There are two beaches on the headland and both are clothing optional, the questionnaire highlights the concern by beachgoers of the impact this plan holds for the beaches.  

The changes made to Reef Beach in the ‘90’s (which appear to mirror those currently planned for Cobblers beach) have left this beach as an unused beach which was one of Sydney most attended beaches.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments