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PITTWATER NATURAL AREAS DRAFT PLAN OF MANAGEMENT (POM) SALT ...
PITTWATER NATURAL AREAS DRAFT PLAN OF MANAGEMENT (POM) SALT PAN COVE RESERVE August 26 2009 Newport Community Centre MINUTES 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) QUESTIONS / COMMENTS AND RESPONSES 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. managed? 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 brochures. 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 definition. 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 seed; - 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 2 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 track. 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 appropriately - 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 4 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 Standards. 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. (Applause) 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 reserve. 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 6 pollution. 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 consideration. - 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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