The Camden Haven Courier has done a good job on residents' concerns about the scrappy regrowth area between the Pilot Station at Camden Head and Camden Head Road since my wife Cathy Rushton first raised the issue several weeks ago.
But the council spokesman Matt Rogers is altogether too glib in his quotes in last week's edition.
I would ask the following questions:
1. If the scrappy banksia regrowth behind the Pilot Station does not present a fire risk, why the extreme fire requirements on renovators on Camden Head Road opposite that area?
2. Have the council and the Pilot Station management taken a good legal look at the requirements of the Burra Charter under which the Pilot Station is protected and listed? To comply with the legal requirements of the charter the station today should be preserved in the condition in which it operated when in formal use. Yet the station can not now be seen from the river, the bar or the outside ocean, all of which would have been critical when it was a working pilot station.
It is arguable that as a working pilot station it should have been visible from the Pilot Station lookout. Council's own street sign still points to the Pilot Station lookout from 300 meters down Camden Head Road. But the station is not visible from the lookout. For safety reasons boating users of the bar should be able to see the bar today from that lookout. That is why the lookout (a pilot station lookout) is there. In working condition, the station should have been visible from the lookout at all times and should be today under the Burra Charter terms of management.
3. Why no such similar privileging of scrappy regrowth on all the other headlands in the shire? Is this not really just about saving money so council does not have to maintain what were once grassy slopes like those at Bonny Hills. Or is Bonny Hills too to be planted with such scrappy vegetation? And all the similar headlands in Port Macquarie?
4. Why is council in its private correspondence with residents so desperate to conflate littoral rainforest regrowth like that below the Pilot Station entry Road with the banksia regrowth above that road. Residents' own environmental study is conclusive that the area behind the Pilot Station up to Camden Head Road and above the station entry road does not contain Littoral Rainforest Regrowth. More important, the council's own vegetation maps provided to the State Department of the Environment for the new NSW coastal management plan confirm the judgement of the residents' own paid studies. The area behind the Pilot Station does not include rainforest. These maps can be found on the state government environment department website.
5. As the path down to the Washhouse Wetland to the south and east of the Pilot Station and from the corner of Bergalia Crescent and Camden Head Road continues to narrow with what locals can only conclude is deliberate council neglect, many elderly residents with their small dogs are being confronted by snakes. An accident is waiting to happen. Living on the crest of Bergalia Crescent my views are completely unaffected by this issue but many very elderly residents on the front of Camden Head Road are being grossly disadvantaged.