The last few weeks has ensured all and sundry have seen the emperor not just wearing few clothes, but as brazenly nude as a toddler.
The NSW Government came to power trumpeting that locals would be put back in control of planning matters that affect them.
The Brunswick Heads Holiday Parks and Crown Lands foreshore areas recently adopted Plans of Management and the West Byron rezoning process have shown even the truest of believers a truth that cannot be explained away.
Not only have the Brunswick Heads Plans of Management kept control over the holiday parks in the hands of the state government-appointed ‘Trust’ seeking the highest return, they have put the same operators in charge of ensuring compliance, the setting of public access widths and overall reporting.
For example, what was once public access that allowed fishing and picnicking, could, if the manager sees fit, be as narrow as 1.8 metres wide.
During the last year or so of negotiations with the Holiday Parks managers, it was clear we would struggle to achieve anything like the outcomes the community deserved, but with the State government requiring Council to negotiate, we did so in good faith.
I thought if we could maintain public access, we had secured at least something for the community, knowing that ultimately we were being forced to play the tune created for us by the state government.
Though tenuous, the community have managed to keep public access along the Brunswick River in front of two parks, with a touch more public access gained on the eastern side of Massey Greene, but access through the Terrace Reserve will be at the discretion of the managers. There is absolutely no compulsion whatever for the permanent dwellings to move away from Simpson Creek and allow for public access as appropriate.
To rub salt in the wounds, this disgraceful management model has been promoted within the wider review of the Crown Lands Act as a model example of efficient and successful management.
Finally, the state government was aware the outcome was so woefully unpalatable for the community, they announced the approval of the Plans of Management without having the decency of notifying council or the community of Brunswick Heads. It was like a town square beheading without even letting the public bear witness. I presume Don Page’s silence over the matter is due to utter embarrassment.