Council and residents urge action on replacement of Moonee Beach footbridge

The footbridge at Moonee Beach near Sugar Mill Creek has been closed since November 2022.

RESIDENTS seeking action on the closed footbridge at Moonee Beach near Sugar Mill Creek are concerned bureaucracy will dash hopes of ever getting a safe crossing reestablished.

The bridge was closed to the public in November 2022 after falling into disrepair.

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With no development application (DA) in place to demolish the bridge and repairs deemed not viable by Crown Lands, City of Coffs Harbour (CoCH) Mayor Paul Amos posed a motion at Council’s 9 May 2024 meeting to write to NSW Lands Minister Steve Kamper.

The motion was carried unanimously and CoCH’s letter to Minister Kamper was sent on 24 May.

Council’s letter asks for the urgent lodgement of a demolition DA, other regulatory approvals and provision of the full funding required for both the demolition and replacement of the Moonee Beach footbridge.

It also asks the State Government to provide its formal support to the Coffs Coast Regional Park Trust Board to continue to advocate on this matter.

The letter notes the footbridge is part of the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk and the closure of the bridge has severed that trail, denies access to the community and stops Landcare from doing its work on Green Bluff headland.

With paperwork in abundance and nothing approved to advance the physical work, locals are fearing bureaucracy will overwhelm the project.

“Residents of Moonee are highly concerned that the demolition of the bridge will be a replay of the scenario of the Moonee hall which was pulled down overnight in 2012 and never rebuilt,” resident Jan Allen told News Of The Area.

A Crown Lands webpage outlining current projects (as of 28 May) states, ‘While the priority is the removal of the derelict bridge (to be completed in 2024/2025 financial year), discussions are underway regarding the replacement pedestrian bridge (which is subject to sourcing funding and development consent)’.

Locals have little faith in any of the stakeholders working with their interests in mind.

Most of the bridge is on Crown waterway, with small portions on the Reflections Holidays managed reserve and the adjacent Coffs Coast Regional Park, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“Locally Reflections are not carrying out their responsibilities for Crown Lands they ‘manage’,” said Jan.

“Look at nearby Red Rock Reserve where the boardwalk is in shameful disrepair and has been so for a long time.

“Access to our beautiful local assets, not just at Moonee, is deteriorating very noticeably since Reflections has taken over management.”

Jan says locals feel “disrespected” by the lack of action from management bodies.

“Reflections has claimed insufficient funds for a replacement bridge and Crown Lands evidently has only enough funds next financial year 2024/25 to demolish the old bridge with no plans to replace it.

“This is a further ridiculous insult,” said Jan.

A Reflections spokesperson told NOTA, “Reflections will continue to monitor the communication between Crown Lands, the NSW Government and Council about this important community asset as all parties seek to find a positive outcome.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure at Crown Lands told NOTA, “Multiple assessments and consultation with a range of stakeholders is required to develop the Environmental Impact Statement, which will be lodged together with the development application to remove the bridge as soon as possible.

“Planning and environmental requirements are complex given the location in sensitive coastal wetlands, the Solitary Islands Marine Park, Aboriginal cultural heritage in the area, and the need to comply with detailed local, state and federal legislative requirements.

“Crown Lands is investigating possible design options to replace the bridge, which would need to be done in consultation with key stakeholders and subject to funding and obtaining development consent,” they said.

With growing impatience around abundant written correspondence and no action since the footbridge’s closure in November 2022, some are finding their own way across the creek.

A new path has been cut across the creek by walkers since the closure of the footbridge, which has seemingly now unearthed the top layer of an Indigenous midden site.


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