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.
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.
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.