April 6 - 12, 2014: Issue 157

 Narrabeen Lagoon State Park - NSW's Newest Investment In The Future

 Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater and members of Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment chop up the no longer needed Narrabeen State Park campaign banner. Picture by Andrew Johnston

 NEW FUTURE FOR NARRABEEN LAGOON

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner today announced the establishment of a State Park at the Narrabeen Lagoon in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Mr Stoner made the announcement with the support of three local Members of Parliament, Pittwater MP Rob Stokes, Wakehurst MP Brad Hazzard and Davidson MP Jonathan O’Dea, whose electorates take in and border the popular lagoon.

Mr Stoner said the creation of the Narrabeen Lagoon State Park reflected the significance of the lagoon and surrounding public lands to the people of NSW.

“Narrabeen Lagoon State Park will encompass the largest of four coastal lagoons in the Warringah Local Government Area and the majority of Crown Land within the catchment,” Mr Stoner said.

“Narrabeen Lagoon is a precious asset that affords a range of recreational, tourist and sporting activities all within a unique environment less than 30 kilometres from the Sydney CBD.

“The establishment of the State Park fulfils a commitment made by our local MPs who, on behalf of their communities, have shown great support for protecting and preserving Narrabeen Lagoon.”

Mr Stokes, whose Pittwater electorate contains the lagoon, said: “The establishment of the State Park is recognition of the area’s important public recreation, tourism and environmental qualities.”

“I’m delighted the Government has responded to the wishes of our community and is delivering on this proposal,” Mr Stokes said.

“Narrabeen Lagoon is an invaluable natural asset and we must ensure it’s available for future generations to enjoy.”

Mr Hazzard said: “This has been a battle worth having. This State Park will ensure the natural, tourism and recreational values of the lagoon and its catchment are nurtured and protected.”

“The Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon and the local community have worked tirelessly to achieve this,” Mr Hazzard said.

Mr O’Dea said: “It should be a big step towards a more holistic framework to manage the patchwork of reserves around the lagoon and better meet future funding needs.”

Mr Stoner said an Advisory Committee had also been established to help steer the management and direction of the new State Park.

The advisory committee will comprise:

• Chairman, appointed by the Deputy Premier

• Representative of Trade & Investment, Crown Lands

• Representative of the General Manager, Warringah Council

• Recreational User group

• Community Representative

• Representative of the Chair Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council

• Representative of NSW Fisheries

• Representative of the Office of Environment and Heritage (National Parks)

“The committee will examine management issues and opportunities, funding needs and the potential for activities within a sensitive natural environment,” Mr Stoner said.

“This is a great start, and I wish the committee well in their work to ensure Narrabeen Lagoon State Park continues to provide for the community now and into the future.”

We spoke with President of the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment, Tony Carr during the week about this wonderful development for Narrabeen's Lagoon and all future geenrations:

The State Park for Narrabeen has finally been announced – how does this make the FoNLC feel?

It was an absolutely joyous moment for us. We’re all ecstatic – we have 1246 members who have gone into party mode at the moment at this really really good news. 

What will this establish for Narrabeen now and for future generations?

It’s a very important move because, firstly, it does of course provide protection from development for the lagoon itself and the are in the immediate vicinity which is critically important. Friends (of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment) reason for being is to achieve total protection for the bushland around the lagoon, the native bushland. In addition to securing that protection this move does signal that the State Government is willing to legislate to achieve total protection because of course we’re not there totally yet. There is still a lot of bushland that needs protecting.

Yesterday signals  quite a change to us; that is that the government is prepared to act. 

We are now busy working on the Gai’mariagal National Park proposal. This is the park that has been proposed by the MLAC (Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council) and this will be an aboriginal owned park and this would provide total protection for the balance of the threatened bushland in the Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment. 

How can people support you with further developments?

They can join our organisation and attend our forums, which occur every three months. They can, very importantly, write to the media and point out that at least some action has been taken. Being active in promoting this is a powerful 

We know from working with Council and State Government that numbers are important – if these organizations see that a large number of people in the community want this thing to happen there is more likely to be action. If people can become active – join up, attend our functions – we have eco-paddles and bushwalks in the catchment and that is a great way for people to learn first-hand what the issues are.

Above: Bird council at Narrabeen Lagoon, April 2013 - Photo by A J Guesdon.

Last year we were fortunate to be alerted by a Warriewood birder of the return of black swans to Narrabeen Lagoon – do you think the lagoon is getting healthier?

The scientists tell us that the quality of the water is better then it has been, but those of us who spend a lot of time either on the lagoon or in the catchment, and I am one of these as I’m a kayaker and there nearly every day, have identified some issues about which we have particular worries about. These are all environmental issues; we’d like to see the lagoon more effectively managed. 

Warringah Council’s plans of dredging the Lagoon – these have not been finalised yet – have you been speaking to Council of this?

We have presented a submission to Warringah Council. The proposal as you know presents a number of options and my personal view, not that of FoNLC, is that Warringah Council addressed this in the wrong way – they asked lay people like me; I have no scientific background or training in this area, so to ask me which of three dredging options they should go with – I have no idea. 

What would be preferable is to ask people; what are the problems; what problems are you aware of on the lagoon that need to be addressed. We can answer that very specifically – an example, so you know what I mean by this, is the delta from Middle Creek and Deep Creek. The deltas are enormous and are going to, if this is not addressed soon, clog the entrance ways to those creeks. They won’t flush properly. 

For Deep Creek particularly this is a major worry as Deep Creek is of course one of the world’s great bird sanctuaries. If the creek is not flushing properly I’d hate to think what it might do to the flora and fauna. 

There definitely needs to be an improvement to the entrance way of both those creeks. But does that mean dredging?; I have no idea – but I know it needs to be fixed. I don’t pretend to be an expert in how these things can be resolved, I can only identify the problems from a first hand experience and by pointing out what the issues are that need to be addressed. 

If you’re not on the lagoon frequently you are not aware of these things – superficially it looks fine.

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Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment - Next Forum

Guringai Heritage and Shared History

7pm Monday May 26, 2014 Narrabeen Tramshed 1935a Pittwater Rd, Narrabeen 

Learn from Neil Evers and Julie Janson about proposals to erect dual signage, see examples of interpretive walks and dual signage that acknowledge Aboriginal archaeology, shared history and use of the natural environment.

Clair Jackson will show recent local Aboriginal artwork.

Jenny Harris will talk about the proposal for adaptive re-use of Waratah Park in relation to Gai'mariagal Aboriginal Owned National Park.

Free entry but book your tickets now. Phone: 9905 2135 Email: Judith Bennett email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au

Learn more about the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment here: www.narrabeenlagoon.org.au/