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                              SALT PAN COVE RESERVE

                                      August 26 2009
                                  Newport Community Centre


The meeting commenced at 6:30pm

Public / community representation: 58 local residents

Council representatives in attendance

       -     Mark Ferguson – General Manager, Pittwater Council (MF)
       -     Councillor Jacqueline Townsend
       -     Councillor Harvey Rose

Council staff

       -     Mia Dalby-Ball - Manager, Natural Environment and Education (MD)
       -     Jane Mulroney – Community Engagement Officer (JM)
       -     Karin Nippard – Bushland Management Officer (KN)
       -     Jenny Cronan – Landscape Architect (Minutes)

       -     Salt Pan Cove Reserve (SPCR)
       -     Refuge Cove Reserve (RCR)


 Community                                        Council
 Will the path between SPCR and RCR be            KN. At this stage the only option is access
 accessed at low tide only or will raised         at low tide.
 walks allow permanent access?
 Will the outcome of discussions on SPCR          MD. There will be a common template for all
 influence how other reserves will be             reserves that establishes the baseline data.
                                                   The specific issues relating to each reserve
                                                   will be considered separately in the
                                                   individual reserve chapters. Public
                                                   meetings will be held for each reserve /
                                                   group of reserves, therefore public input will
                                                   be sought in relation to each reserve.
 Since the proposed path between the               KN. At high tide there will not be access
 reserves will only be accessible at low tide,     between the two reserves. However this is
 what will happen at high tide and how will        an unusual situation and not consistent with
 Council manage this?                              the pathway network in general. The public
                                                   will be made aware of this situation through
                                                   site signage, information on the website and
 One of the problems in walking along the        MD. This issue will be addressed in the
 foreshores is the obstructions caused by        Pittwater Estuary Management Plan. The
 structures such as boat ramps, sheds and        findings of this document along with
 walls. These structures prevent through         feedback from the public for this project will

Pittwater Natural Areas Draft PoM – Salt Pan Cove Reserve - Public Meeting 26 August 2009       1
access by the public. Do Council have         inform how to best manage this situation.
plans to make these areas accessible?
Another problem is vicious dogs from
adjacent unfenced properties,
I own land at Refuge Cove and I am             MD. These are valid points. However in
concerned about the Spotted Gum Forest         Council’s experience; once formalised
because my neighbours continue to clear        public access is provided through a public
the understorey to improve their water         area, the impact of undesirable behaviour is
views.                                         generally reduced.

I am also concerned regarding the potential
impacts on residents due to improved
access to the reserves. Issues include the
increased risk of people breaking into the
rear of houses and people access their
boats through the reserve.

If access is provided how will Council
address these issues?
How many people do you expect to use the       KN. Low key local usage of the path is
path?                                          expected. The path will contribute to the
                                               recreational needs of the community as
                                               outlined in the Pittwater 2020 Strategic
                                               Plan. However the path has multiple
                                               purposes including fire management,
                                               bushland management and boundary
Laws allow development up to the mean         MD. The problems associated with private
high water mark. However, boat sheds that     versus public use are common to ocean and
are located on a Crown land lease must, by    estuary areas. Any encroachment on public
law, provide public access. Unfortunately     land creates problems related to risk
some people have extended structures          management and biodiversity as well as
beyond the allowable areas and Council in     public access.
the past has not enforced this law.
Is Council intending to stop any further       The Pittwater Estuary Management Plan
constructions on unauthorised Crown land?      and the PoM will address encroachments
                                               on public land.

Improving public access will increase          KN. There are management practices to
weeds. How will Council manage this?           control the spread of weeds including:
                                                - reduce and manage weeds at track
                                                  entrances and along either side of
                                                  walking track to limit spread of weed
                                                - providing a well defined track to control
                                                  and direct access where people walk;
                                                - identify & managing drainage lines /
                                                  outlets where weed sources occur and
                                                  then spread;
                                                - public education ;
                                                - low key interpretative signage; and
                                                - monitoring of reserves for dumped
                                                  vegetation and immediate removal.

                                               MD. Bushcare groups play an enormous

                                                   role in the management of bushland areas.
                                                   Belonging to a bushcare group provides a
                                                   connection to the natural environment and
                                                   increases stewardship.
 I reside adjacent to SPCR. I am concerned        KN. Council ensures all contractors use
 regarding Council’s attempt to eradicate         herbicides appropriately. Contractors would
 asparagus weeds with multiple sprayings of       have dug out Asparagus Ferns and used
 herbicide which has possibly lead to the         spraying for annual or perennial weed
 death of trees in the reserve.                   species.

                                                  All Contractors must use herbicide in
                                                  accordance with the Environmental
                                                  Protection and Assessment Act 1979.
                                                  Council monitors and ensures that use of
                                                  herbicide by contractors comply with the
                                                  EPA. The herbicide likely to have been used
                                                  on site is glyphosate (one brand name is
                                                  Round Up) generally used for control of
                                                  annual & perennial weeds in areas with little
                                                  native or low biodiversity of native species.
                                                  Glyphosate acts on the green chlorophyll
                                                  part of the plant, when spraying, using this
                                                  technique it is highly unlikely to have any
                                                  impact or kill mature trees. Glyphosates
                                                  becomes intert in the environment by
                                                  bonding with clay particles in the soil, and
                                                  hence unable to translocate to other plant
                                                  species in the area.

                                                  Spotted Gums can take up to 30-50 years
                                                  even to die. Though initially appearing
                                                  healthy, death of mature trees can be an
                                                  incremental process over a long period of
                                                  time with effects from many impacts such as
                                                  dieback, loss of understorey, changes in Ph
                                                  of soil, septic leaks, root damage or loss,
                                                  loss of surrounding canopy, drought and
                                                  importantly loss of understorey.

                                                  Many Spotted Gum mature trees in
                                                  Pittwater are may be in the process of dying
                                                  due to past impacts.
                                                  JM. What type of things would you like to
                                                  see incorporated into the POM?
 I would like the PoM to include a map
 showing clear boundary definition between
 public land, private land and the proposed
 I would like the replacement of the              KN. The existing concrete steps do need to
 dangerous steps leading into SPCR.               be upgraded, but this will be dependent
                                                  upon funding and assessment of
                                                  requirements. Any upgrades will comply
                                                  with the relevant Australian Standards.

 I’m perplexed why Council is starting with       KN. SPCR is the first reserve to be

Pittwater Natural Areas Draft PoM – Salt Pan Cove Reserve - Public Meeting 26 August 2009       3
SPCR. This is a hazardous track and there        included in the PoM because Council is
is no parking?                                   focusing on estuary foreshore reserves first
                                                 in order to tie in with the Pittwater Estuary
                                                 Management Plan. Also grant funding is
                                                 now available for the track and bushland
                                                 remediation works at SPCR.

                                                 Street parking should be adequate for
                                                 users of SPCR and associated tracks in
                                                 this locality. Council envisages that people
                                                 will use this track as part of a longer walk
                                                 that connects to the existing network, or as
                                                 a smaller foreshore walk for passive /
                                                 contemplative recreation.

How will people know about this track?           KN.
                                                       -     Information signs placed
                                                       -     Pittwater Council’s website
                                                       -     Brochures - track networks
I don’t think section of the track will form a   JM.
suitable link in the track network.              1. The track will also provide equitable
                                                     access to the foreshore.
                                                 2. The project includes funds for additional
                                                     remediation work.
SPCR forms a narrow strip and I think the        KN. Pedestrian access is one of several
track will impact negatively on biodiversity.    issues at SPCR.

                                                 Inappropriate tracks can impact on
                                                 biodiversity however if well planned tracks
                                                 can minimise and protect biodiversity of an
                                                 area by:
                                                  - improving boundary definition and
                                                      restrict encroachments – structures,
                                                      dumping etc.;
                                                  - provide an Asset Protection Zone in
                                                      accordance with recommendations by
                                                      the Rural Fire Service;
                                                  - protect by reducing fragmentation of
                                                      bushland by many illegal tracks; and
                                                  - control and direct access within the
                                                      reserve that will minimise erosion and
                                                      slip issues.

I don’t mind the idea of a track between
SPCR and RCR. However, we lack
footpaths between Hudson and Prince
Alfred Parades. Pedestrians are forced
onto the road to compete with cars. Why
not put a footpath along the road where it is
needed instead? (Applause)
Tracks are not necessarily maintained by
Council and there are incidents where
residents adjacent to reserves have planted
trees on tracks to stop the public from using

 the tracks.
 Fire may have been more an issue when
 the area was less developed and fire
 fighting resources were limited. Possibly
 there were more requirements for fire trails
 then. Now properties adjoining reserves
 have access to water and, with increased
 development, monitoring of any potential
 fires is carried out by residents who then
 alert the local fire brigade.
 1. We are losing our natural geophysical
     features; particularly boulders, due to
     constructed features that conform to
 2. We have lost many watercourses due to
     piping which has impacted on wildlife
     and contributed to the loss of vegetation.
 3. Dogs should be kept on private property
     within secure fencing.

 1. I would like the boundaries between
    private properties and public reserves to
    be clearly and permanently marked for
    the benefit of park users.

 2. SPCR is located at the bottom of the
     catchment. It is a mistake to isolate this
     area of land, there needs to be
     cooperation between Council and
     residents to reduce urban impacts.
 Why pay for this track rather than providing     MD. Funding is available for the track and
 a footpath between Hudson and Prince             bushland management works at Salt Pan
 Alfred Parades?                                  Cove Reserve. Funding for these types of
 (Applause)                                       projects is often conditional on improved
                                                  access, improved ecology and improved
 Note: two residents in the front row are not     community benefits etc.
 in support of footpaths.
 I live near SPCR and I support the track         MD. The issue of foreshore access will be
 and foreshore access. I would like to walk       addressed in the PoM
 from my home nearby, through public
 access ways to the foreshore. I oppose
 obstacles that prevent this and would be
 disappointed if property prevented access
 at high tide. It would be a shame to loose
 this public benefit because of one property.
 I love the idea of the track, there is grant     KN. These are valid points. Maintenance of
 funding for the track, but where will the        all bushland tracks are now undertaken on a
 funds come from for upkeep. The track            regular program. It is accepted that any new
 could become a liability and risk for Council,   tracks installed will be included as part of
 particularly if the steps at the southern end    the present monitoring system.
 are incorporated into the new track.             Maintenance of tracks may be less costly
 Has a cost evaluation been done to justify       than the continual problems that can occur
 the construction of a new track for the          through illegal impacts on the reserve.
 benefit of a few people?                         Remember the track is not only access but

Pittwater Natural Areas Draft PoM – Salt Pan Cove Reserve - Public Meeting 26 August 2009      5
                                               will be utilised as a containment line and
                                               Asset Protection Zone by the Rural Fire
                                               Service and will help minimise impacts and
                                               allow better management of the bushland

                                               The Pittwater 2020 Strategic Plan
                                               addresses recreation, aiming to provide “a
                                               diverse range of accessible recreational
                                               opportunities for a broad range of ages,
                                               abilities and interests – inspired by bush,
                                               beach and water.” (p. 16)

                                               A well placed track makes a huge difference
                                               to the management of bushland areas.
                                               Currently SPCR contains multiple tracks in
                                               locations that are fragmenting the
                                               endangered Spotted Gum Forest.

                                               Other costs rise due to access difficulties for
                                               maintenance and fire management.
                                               Fire is an ongoing issue, particularly for
                                               west facing bushland reserves. The track
                                               will be incorporated into an asset protection
                                               zone in accordance with the principles of
                                               the Rural Fire Service.
  In regard to fire trails – can we find the   MD. We may be able to find records of
  original tracks through local areas?         tracks located in public areas.
There is a risk that money will be spent       KN. The track at Barrenjoey Headland is
doing this work at SPCR, then the project      managed by NPWS, and like Council,
may be abandoned and weeds encroach            NPWS have limited funds each financial
again. The useability of the track may be      year to undertake specific works.
inconsistent such as the track to Barrenjoey
Lighthouse where a portion is beautifully      Council has an ongoing maintenance
restored but halfway up it becomes             program for bushland areas where previous
treacherous.                                   works have been undertaken. The long term
                                               intention is to prevent areas from
                                               degenerating due to weed infestation. As
                                               further funding allows, Council will then
                                               undertake new areas of weed control, and
                                               once such works are undertaken this will
                                               add to the existing maintenance program.

                                                Despite financial cutbacks, contractors
                                               have managed to maintain their schedule at
                                               SPCR. Substantial work has been done in
                                               the watercourse area. It has been a
                                               deliberate strategy to leave the Lantana for
                                               habitat and to prevent encroachments and
                                               vandalism to trees.
  Signage can be dominant and                  KN. I agree. Signage required for safety
 unnecessary. In one park there are three      issues, directional or information should be
 signs located close to each other.            installed with thought to minimise visual
                                               impact and where possible signs should be
                                               installed on the one pole to limit visual

Could a walking track be installed within the     KN. There are two types of Pittwater
rainforest and creekline area at SPCR?            Spotted Gum Forest – wet community
                                                  (eastern and southern slopes) and dry
                                                  community (northern and western slopes.)
                                                  It is highly unlikely that the proposed track
                                                  at SPCR will be installed in this area as it
                                                  has potential landslip issues due to the
                                                  topography and the substantial costs that
                                                  would be involved due to the steep slope.

                                                  There is already an existing track that leads
                                                  to the foreshore and this could be upgraded
                                                  as part of the proposed PoM.
 Will dinghy storage be included in the PoM       Yes. It will be addressed.
                                                  MF. Council appreciates your attendance at
                                                  this meeting and your input into this project.

                                                   Two issues were raised that I would like to
                                                   respond to:
                                                 -     Risk Management – when access is
                                                       encouraged, there is an increased duty
                                                       of care and Council takes this into
                                                 -     Footpaths – some areas lack footpaths,
                                                       often due to steep terrain, lack of space
                                                       or privatisation of public areas. This
                                                       project is relatively low cost in
                                                       comparison to installing paved
                                                       footpaths. This project provides an
                                                       opportunity to improve the livability of
                                                       the local area.

   The meeting concluded at 8:00 pm

Pittwater Natural Areas Draft PoM – Salt Pan Cove Reserve - Public Meeting 26 August 2009         7

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