Fed up Red Rock residents call for action on decaying reserves

The collapsed finger wharf, decaying and pitched dangerously. Photo taken on 5 January 2024, before it was later closed off by bunting.

FRUSTRATED by failed promises, Red Rock residents are voicing their displeasure regarding a lack of timely action by Reflections Holiday Park to repair and maintain the Crown Land Reserve infrastructure and facilities of the idyllic beachside hamlet.

According to the Red Rock Preservation Association (RRPA), despite over two years of communication with Reflections Holiday Parks, including CEO Nick Baker, and Minister of Lands and Property Mr Stephen Kamper, there has been no substantial improvement.

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The RRPA, which aims to represent the community with one voice when dealing with Reflections Holiday Park management, believes its concerns are being ignored and trivialised.

Reflections Holiday Park Red Rock is responsible for maintaining and repairing all infrastructure in the Crown Land Reserves, not just the caravan park.

Marilyn Allan, a resident of Red Rock since 1999, has had her frustrations fuelled after seeing Reflections Holiday Parks’ recent TV advertising campaign, ‘Life’s better outside’.

“That’s an expensive exercise, using dollars that could have been spent on and around their Red Rock holiday park,” Marilyn told NOTA.

Residents report that there has been no usable access from the headland to Little Beach for over two years, leading visitors to access the beach via dunes.

“Now people are accessing via the dune, creating damage to the fragile sand dunes, and making it dangerous,” RRPA secretary Jenny Freeman told NOTA.

The problems don’t end there though, according to residents.

“It is the boardwalk falling into the river, the slippery boat ramp, holes in steps leading into the river, and inappropriate management of effluent from the caravan park and day visitors’ area.

“The list is long.

“Our members love Red Rock for its natural surroundings, the spectacular foredunes, the endangered birds and have for many years worked hard to keep it this way.

“Now that Reflections manages the reserves, it has deteriorated,” said Jenny.

Approximately eight years ago, North Coast Caravan Parks were appointed to take control of the park and surrounding reserve.

“In 2018 they rebranded themselves as Reflections Holiday Parks,” said local resident Marilyn Allan.

Reflections manage the land on behalf of the Lands Department as a profit-for-purpose enterprise, reinvesting profit into their suite of holiday parks.

When the initial takeover took place, a town meeting was held by the Red Rock Preservation Association with the management of Reflections (North Coast Caravan Parks) to discuss their intentions around maintaining the natural beauty of Red Rock and to maintain the infrastructure of walking paths, stairs, parks, toilets, water, septic sewerage, weeding and mowing.

Since then, there has been a gradual decline in any maintenance, said Marilyn.

“There’s no interest shown in fixing boardwalks, some of which have been lost in the dunes near the headland, and the walkways over the dunes to Back Beach.

“The boardwalk around the river was partly redone and is now dangerous and very close to falling into the river in some areas.

“All walkways are dangerous and a public liability issue if someone falls over and breaks bones.

“The stairs at Little Beach used to get to Back Beach have been closed for three years.

“The small fishing jetty is sinking into the river and a couple of weeks ago was closed off to the public with bunting.
“The river waterfront is collapsing due to increased river traffic and tides.

“Filling up the holes with gravel has not fixed the erosion problems,” she said.

A Reflections Holiday Park spokesperson told News Of The Area that Crown Lands and Reflections are currently “working together to determine the best solutions to address general coastal erosion of the beach and reserve and the deterioration of the stairs and boardwalk”.

Reflections responded to NOTA’s questions on a number of residents’ key concerns.

On the topic of sewage issues, the spokesperson said Reflections engaged a consultant to help “reduce the volume of wastewater flow going into the system, as well as reduce the number of trucks on site where possible”.

“Since that time, we have been able to reduce the flow by more than 40 percent and implemented other initiatives, including upgrading amenities, park plumbing and guest communication to encourage a reduction in usage.

“A key next step is monitoring usage over the peak summer period, now coming to a close, to be able to assess the volume of waste going into the sewerage system, with the goal of being able to reestablish the original sewage treatment process and remove the need for trucks disposing of the waste,” the spokesperson said.

With regards to the Little Beach stairs and bank erosion, the spokesperson said coastal erosion is “extremely common along the entire NSW coast”, suggesting that “Crown Lands assesses geographical locations on a case-by-case basis”.

“Considerations include public health and safety and access to funding.

“The condition of the stairs from the public access road to Little Beach has deteriorated due to erosion and storm activity and were closed for the community’s safety.

“Crown Lands and Reflections are currently discussing this issue with a focus on accessing government funding to find an appropriate solution.”

Reflections also stated that sand ladders used for access to Main Beach were assessed and refurbished as required in November 2023.

“Additional bush clearing was undertaken to allow pedestrians to access handrails at the main entrance.”

The spokesperson also indicated that Reflections was seeking quotes to “grade and resurface” the road to Little Beach, while an application for grant funding to upgrade the foreshore has been submitted with Crown Lands.

With a community boardwalk which runs along the river to Jewfish Point in disrepair, the spokesperson said advice was being sought on the cost of repairing the boardwalk.

By Andrea FERRARI

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