Time for Camden Head residents to decide between vegetation or view

Robyn Camozzato, Janet Cohen, Glenn Brewer and Margaret Carey support the Council-staff master plan. Photo: Sue Stephenson.

THERE are just days left for Camden Haven residents to have their say on the future of one of the area’s most neglected reserves.

Since the 2000s, the Camden Head Lookout Reserve has been the source of bitter contention between those who want to preserve its wildlife habitat and those who want to restore its multi-million dollar views.

Laurieton United Services ClubAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us – media@newsofthearea.com.au

Situated between Bergalia Crescent and Pilot Beach and Camden Head roads, the reserve provides access to the beach and is zoned for recreational use.

However, its picnic area and shelters are unkempt and are flanked by dead and vandalised trees.

“If you go to any headland in NSW, you tell me where they don’t celebrate their view,” environmental scientist Dan Guthrie said of what he called the area’s “planned neglect”.

Resident Greg Osborne said it was “Council’s rude letters to everyone in the area threatening to fine us [for the vandalism],” that was the catalyst for the Camden Head Endorsed Draft Master Plan.

It is open for feedback on Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s website until Monday, 1 July.

The plan recommends a staged approach to the site’s development, including new picnic tables, a pathway connecting the road to the beach boardwalk, the establishment of a grassed picnic area, infill planting and “formalisation” of the car parking area.

Around 500m2 of the area would be cleared.

Mr Osborne, Mr Guthrie and fellow local Blair Maxwell, who say they won’t benefit personally from a restored view, believe Council’s plan doesn’t go far enough.

“It has virtually no change to the area and doesn’t give the view back,” Mr Maxwell said.

Instead, the men support a Stakeholder Proposal to clear around 3000m2, in addition to general beautification.

That plan is also available to view on Council’s Have your Say page.

On the other side of the debate are representatives of Hastings Landcare, Friends of Kattang Nature Reserve and Dunbogan Bushcare.

They are encouraging residents and councillors to support the Endorsed Draft Master Plan.

“I think Council has put forward a realistic and balanced plan that meets both the needs of the area’s recreational users and the needs of wildlife traversing these natural environments,” Janet Cohen from the Friends of Kattang Nature Reserve said.

“The wider this unvegetated corridor is, the harder it’s going to be for native wildlife to get to the places they need to go.”

Ms Cohen also believes the stability of the area will be compromised by extensive clearing.

“If you take vegetation [away], everybody knows what happens.

“It’s potential for greater erosion [and] the more clearing we have, the more invasive weeds we have.”

Margaret Carey from Dunbogan Bushcare believes the Council proposal will have minimal impact on vegetation and native animals.

“The only thing it’s not going to do is improve the views from the top here for those who have a vested interest in having a view,” she said.

Robin Camozzato from Hastings Landcare said this is the third time they have fought against having the land cleared.

“The group at Dunbogan has been looking after that site for 25 years plus and we just want to make sure that their work isn’t destroyed after all those years,” she said.

Council is also seeking expressions of interest in a new Friends of Camden Head group, which would be responsible for the reserve’s ongoing maintenance.


Blair Maxwell, Dan Guthrie and Greg Osborne support the clearing of around 3000m2. Photo: Sue Stephenson.

Leave a Reply