Have your say on Crown reserves at Helensburgh, Austinmer, Thirroul, Bulli, Woonona and Corrimal

Austinmer beach and park is one of many ‘Crown Reserves’ in the north.

AUSTINMER Beach and Reserve, Corrimal Memorial Park, Darkes Forest, and the Helensburgh and District Historical Mine Museum. At first glance, none of these locations seem to have anything in common. But they do – they’re all Crown reserves.

A Crown reserve is a parcel of land which has been set aside by the NSW State Government for the community. The land is protected and can be used for a limited range of public purposes which are set by the original reserve purpose.

Some of the Crown reserves in the city date as far back to the 1880s when the land was set aside for public recreation. This could mean a reserve is still being used as a park or sporting field, such as Corrimal Memorial Park.  However, other uses may not be permitted in the reserve.

Interestingly, Crown reserves can also be listed as having a public purpose for a specific use. This could be, for example, a kindergarten, public hall, or preservation of native flora like the Crown reserve “Helensburgh Flora and Fauna Reserve” that protects over 30 hectares of natural area bushland.

Wollongong City Council is the Crown Land Manager for 51 Crown reserves under the Crown Land Management Act 2016. All up, that’s approximately 584 hectares of land. Council has prepared a draft plan of management that covers 32 of these 51 Crown reserves.

The reserve purpose, and draft Plan of Management is an extra set of controls that apply to Crown Reserves, in addition to the zoning and land use control under the Wollongong Local Environmental Plan 2009.

What’s a plan of management?

It’s a document that categorises and guides how community land should be used by the public. It explains what Council’s management objectives are, and what uses, and developments are permitted on the land. It also provides express authorisations to grant leases and licences over the land.

Council is calling for your feedback on the draft Crown Reserves Plan of Management for 32 Crown reserves. From now until Friday June 9, you can review the plans and share your feedback by visiting the Our Wollongong website.

The 32 sites listed in the draft Plan of Management are located all over the Wollongong Local Government Area including locations such as Austinmer, Bellambi, Bulli, Corrimal, Darkes Forest, Helensburgh, Otford, Tarrawanna, Thirroul, Towradgi, Wombarra, and Woonona.

Did you know?

When the sand level at Bulli Beach is low, you can see the wall of Bulli Beach’s original rock pool? It’s just to the south of the current pool, but it is still listed to this day as a Crown Reserve, the details of which can be found in the Plan of Management for this site. This is just one of the quirky details that can be found in the documentation for the city’s Crown Reserves. It’s a legacy of the long history of land being set aside by the NSW Government as a Crown Reserve with some parcels dating back to the 1880s.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said that the draft Plan of Management includes detailed category mapping for each reserve, as well as information on leasing and licensing, and the future management directions for all 32 Crown reserves.

“Labelling Crown land with a category such as park or sportsground or natural area wetland lets the community know how Council intends to manage the land now and into the future,” Cr Bradbery said.

“This is an important project for community members to be involved in, as plans of management explain how Council will manage the reserve as well as how the reserve can and can’t be used by the public.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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