Concern about the dumping of 1,000 tonnes of rock on the Old Hawks Nest Ferry Ramp


Dear News Of The Area,

A number of members of the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Community have expressed concern about the dumping of 1,000 tonnes of rock on the Old Hawks Nest Ferry Ramp and its Approaches.

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This is the situation: On the 6th December 2019, Crown Lands NSW granted a licence (Lic.# RN612565) to The NSW Department of Primary Industries to use:Tea Gardens / Hawks Nest cable ferry ramp – Part of the Crown Waterway of the Myall River .

The Licence contains a number of provisions relating to costs incurred by the Lessee and limitations on the use of the premises.

This is one of many Sections that relate directly to concerns expressed particularly by The Myall Coast Historical Society:

The Holder will not undertake any development within the meaning of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 contrary to or in breach of …an Environmental Planning Instrument or condition of a development consent.

Midcoast Council does have in force an Environmental Planning Instrument that applies to this situation. It is their Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

The regulations of the LEP concern the conservation of the environmental heritage of Great Lakes. They seek to conserve the heritage significance of heritage items and heritage conservation areas, including associated fabric, settings and views. The dumping of rock on The Old Ferry Ramp in question is what these regulations are trying to prevent.

Consent has to be given before an item is changed in any way or is likely to result in a relic being …moved, damaged or destroyed.

Under the terms of their own LEP, Midcoast Council is supposed to consider the effect of the proposed development on the heritage significance of the item.

If Midcoast Council was informed that work was to be carried out on an item declared a heritage item under their LEP, they should have required a development consent even though the work had been licensed by Crown Lands.

If Council was not aware of the work being undertaken, Fisheries were in breach of their Licence.

It doesn’t seem possible to establish exactly what damage has been done to the Old Ferry Ramp because it appears that there has not been an accurate assessment of the state of the area before work commenced either by Council or Fisheries. However, sufficient to say that the place currently looks sad and knocked about.

The old ramp is a much used fishing spot and with very little cost, the whole site could become an icon for the area.

Instead of it being left with a layer of gravel dust and rock on it, the addition of some grass, a couple of seats and some signage indicating its place as a heritage site of which we could all be proud would turn a disgrace into a treasure.

The Myall Coast Historical Society was responsible for the repair of the site in 2007 and we would love to participate in its improvement now!

By the way, the Ramp is still being used by Fisheries and at the moment you are trespassing if you go onto it.

David Benson
Myall Coast Historical Society

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