August 4 - 10, 2019: Issue 415


Barrenjoey Commercialised: to be or not to be Back on the Table again

In July 2013 a proposal to commercialise Barrenjoey Headland and its buildings was opened for community feedback and met vocal opposition from residents of Pittwater, backed up by thousands from elsewhere. 

In those places where lightstations and their historic buildings have been made into commercial ventures the records show these are, in effect, excised from the community who are only allowed access once or twice a year over a single weekend. 

In August 2013 an announcement was made by then Environment Minister Robyn Park and MP for Pittwater, the Hon. Rob Stokes, that the proposal was quashed.

The idea is now back on the table with documents released on Friday August 2nd, 2019 relisting the proposal.

According to the NSW Government's Destination NSW website Sydney Tourism Statistics webpage ( Report: For the period of January 2018 to December 2018) where Palm Beach features as a destination, there were 

nearly 4.1 million international overnight visitors  in Sydney - up by 3.2%* on YE Dec 17. Visitors spent nearly 81.3 million nights in Sydney - up by 2.5% on YE Dec 17 and  Sydney received nearly 22.3 million domestic daytrip visitors - up by 10.3%* on YE Dec 17. Note: The number of domestic daytrips to New South Wales increased by 6.5 percent* on last year and was up by 18.4 percent* compared to four years ago.

Holiday’ (43.9%) was the largest purpose of trip for visitors to Sydney, followed by ‘visiting friends and relatives (VFR)’ (31.9%) and ‘business’ (12.2%). Compared to YE Dec 17, visitors who travelled for ‘holiday’ grew by 10.1%* and ‘VFR’ increased by 8.1% while ‘business’ grew by 19.8%*.

International overnight visitors spent over $9.7 billion in Sydney - up by 4.9%* on YE Dec 17. On average, they spent $119 per night - up by 2.3% on YE Dec 17. 

Domestic daytrip visitors spent over $2.5 billion in Sydney - up by 15.5%* on YE Dec 17. On average, they spent $113 per trip - up by 4.8% on YE Dec 17.

Forecast: Domestic visitor nights in Sydney are expected to increase from over 26.8 million in 2016/17 to over 33.4 million in 2026/27, an average annual growth rate of 2.2%.

International visitor nights in Sydney are expected to increase from nearly 76.3 million in 2016/17 to over 137.3 million in 2026/27, an average annual growth rate of 6.1%.

The stroll along Station Beach and up the track to Barrenjoey Headland is listed as one of those 'must do' items for International and Domestic visitors because the beach is a beautiful pristine place with resident birds, the chance to see fairy penguins and seals and views to the green hills of the National Park. The walk through bush and then the view atop the Barrenjoey National Park headland is second to none, while being able to access historic buildings still as they were when first constructed allows visitors to step into a past unchanged by the commercial aspects that change that same experience elsewhere.

Anytime of the year you will find visitors on the beach wending their way to Barrenjoey. On an assignment for another article just a few weeks back, a bitterly cold Winter's morning with fog rolling in, two German tourists on Station Beach's southern end asked a Pittwater Online photographer the best way to get to the track up Barrenjoey headland. They weren't the only visitors seen.

The place is listed on tourism websites and known world wide and domestically for its 'Nature, National Park and Beaches'. Just as millions visit Manly each year, millions come to Palm Beach too.

Station Beach, with Barrenjoey in the background, features in many a wedding photograph. This specific [Barrenjoey] area is the site of films, of a television program, it is the place tours are conducted in, is utilised by walkers, paddlers, rowers, sailors, families with small children.

The contribution to the local economy and the beacon the Barrenjoey Lighthouse remains places Palm Beach on the world stage as one of the few remaining unspoiled destinations. 

Below runs where you may find the references to Barrenjoey in the discussion paper documents - feedback for the proposal closes September 15th. 

Although there will be another opportunity to have your say when the draft plan is completed and put on public exhibition, Draft Plans are being passed as they read currently and carry most of what is in discussion papers forward.


HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE FUTURE OF Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Lion Island Nature Reserve, Spectacle Island Nature Reserve and Long Island Nature Reserve

Correct online address for this consultation is:

As part of preparing the new plan of management NPWS has released five discussion papers exploring some of the key management themes that will be included in the new plan. NPWS is keen to hear what the community has to say about future management of the park. 

The discussion papers explore the following key management themes:

To contribute your ideas and comment on the discussion papers:

Comments on the discussion papers Opens August 2nd and close 15 September 2019. 

IN Recreational activities discussion paper 

See Page 4: Adaptive re-use of heritage buildings is a common, popular and successful way to maintain heritage buildings and provide unique visitor experiences. Successful examples of heritage buildings adapted for short term accommodation include the Lightkeepers cottages at Cape Byron, Seal Rocks and Green Cape and three cottages in Royal National Park. 

New overnight experiences may be introduced to the park by adapting existing buildings following environmental and heritage assessment. The draft Barrenjoey Head Concept Plan explored the adaptive re-use of the lightkeepers cottages and other buildings for short-stay accommodation. Access to these historically significant buildings is currently limited.


IN Natural, visitor experience and shared heritage values discussion paper

Page 9: Proposals for adaptive reuse

reviewing and seeking community feedback on use of buildings at Barrenjoey Head

IN Visitor destinations discussion paper

Page 6: Barrenjoey Head Precinct

Barrenjoey Head is a prominent landmark with high cultural heritage importance, including its historic lightstation. The headland is listed on the State Heritage Register and management is informed by a Conservation Management Plan.

The headland is highly valued by visitors to the area and by the local community. Improvements are needed to protect the precinct’s buildings, enhance opportunities for visitors to appreciate the precinct’s historic heritage and to provide basic toilet facilities and drinking water. Improvements in recent years include repairs to the access trail and Smugglers Track, the installation of sewer and water mains connections to buildings at the base and at the top of the headland and conservation works to the lighthouse and the lightkeepers’ cottages.

Currently, the lighthouse is the only building open to the public, with volunteer-led guided tours for a few hours on Sundays. There is scope for the buildings within the precinct to be appreciated more fully by the public. In 2016 NPWS exhibited a draft Barrenjoey Head Concept Plan with options for improved site access including short-stay visitor accommodation, improved interpretation of the site and the installation of public toilet facilities. This discussion paper provides an opportunity for the community to provide further feedback on ways to manage the precinct. 

Page 4-5 of same Visitor destinations discussion paper document: 

Improvements could be made to visitor destinations

NPWS aims to:

• Manage precinct visitor numbers on peak days, particularly at Bobbin Head, Apple Tree Bay and Kalkari Precinct.

• Upgrade park facilities consistent with the Asset Stewardship program, facility standards, future needs, priorities and resource availability.

• Continue to provide smaller, less-modified day use areas to allow small groups and families to experience the park away from the main visitor precincts.

• Enhance existing visitor precincts where there is high demand for the visitor experience offered, or that could be offered, and where environmental impacts can be managed sustainably, and sea level rise accommodated.

• Provide increased information on the ground, via social media and on the NPWS website to provide early and accurate advice to visitors about changed conditions in the park, including temporary road closures and visitor precinct capacity, and to highlight other similar visitor destinations within the park and in parklands managed by other agencies.

Encourage increased visitation on non-peak days and during the low to mid-season across a range of locations to spread demand and make best use of facilities throughout the year.

• Provide facilities that can be easily serviced and maintained. For example, visitor precincts should ideally be located where they can be readily accessed by vehicle and where adequate support facilities can be provided (such as drinking water and toilets).

Permit temporary infrastructure or facilities during peak visitor season. For example, licenced commercial operators of pop-up cafés and kiosks, temporary toilets and temporary storage for events and park activities.

• Use visitor destinations as hubs for water, road, track and trail activities. The destinations will provide facilities and services such as resting places, potable water and toilets for bushwalkers, trail runners, boat tourers, cyclists and scenic drivers as they move around the park. These hubs would be designed to provide facilities for short-stay visits as well as facilities for single destination long stay visits. The hubs could be linked to enhance the visitor experience at each visitor destination as well as between visitor destinations.

• Use visitor destinations as places to heighten awareness of the park’s special values and how people can help to look after these values. On-site interpretation, guided tours, meet and greet and mobile applications are examples of awareness-raising options.

IN Leases, licences and consents discussion paper

Page 4: Opportunities for commercial activities continue to change

The way visitors want to use parks, and the type of facilities required, is constantly changing. To provide for exceptional visitor experiences while protecting natural and cultural values, NPWS must partner with skilled, industry-specific operators.

A new plan of management provides the opportunity to consider fresh ideas and how we can better deliver visitor services and provide for events in the future.

Pages 6-7: Licenced encroachments

The 59 private residential lots at Cottage Point are surrounded by parklands and many of these lots have associated park encroachments. All of these encroachments are in the foreshore and waterway sections of the park, adjacent to the lower boundaries of private properties. The structures that comprise these encroachments mostly relate to tethering of and access to private boats and include ramps, jetties, floating pontoons, seawalls, parts of buildings and other related land modifications.

These encroachments are managed under individual licences assigned to each landowner by NPWS. These encroachments existed prior to the proclamation of the National Parks and Wildlife Act, which transferred the care, control and management of the park from a trustee to NPWS. Private landholders at Cottage Point who had approved encroachment agreements prior to the land becoming a NPWS park have been issued encroachment licences as they have existing interest rights. Where new private encroachments are  identified, they are typically managed via direction to the private landowner to remove and remediate the encroachment.

Rights of way

Around 10 private residential properties at Cottage Point have an access agreement with NPWS known as a right of way. This allows for vehicular access from the public road through a small section of the park to a shared driveway to each of their properties. These agreements are considered private interests as access roads are for accessing private property.

Licenced private swing moorings

In Cowan Creek and Coal and Candle Creek near Cottage Point, there are 35 private swing moorings secured to the park’s creek bed. A swing mooring is a single anchor at the bottom of a waterway with a rope, cable, or chain running to a float on the surface to which boats are attached. These private moorings are managed under licences issued by NPWS to individual property owners at Cottage Point.

In addition to these individual mooring licences, licences are held by Apple Tree Bay Boating Association and Ku-ring-gai Motor Yacht Club for multiple commercial swing moorings. The public can become members of these two entities and be allocated moorings for their boats. These moorings are not considered private interests as there is a mechanism for the public to be allocated moorings.

Unregulated private interests

NPWS is aware that there may be some unregulated private interests within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. NPWS is in the process of assessing these interests.

Changes to management of private interests may be considered

Private interests in NPWS parks must be carefully managed to ensure natural and cultural values are protected and visitor experiences available to the public are not compromised.

The existing plan of management for Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park places specific limits on private interests within the park. The new plan of management provides the opportunity to take another look at these private interests and their management.

How would you like to see private interests managed in the park?

What do you think?

Your thoughts, ideas and comments on this discussion paper are now invited and can be provided using an online comment form, by emailing or by writing to Manager, Planning Evaluation and Assessment, PO Box 95, Parramatta NSW 2124.

The questions scattered throughout the paper are only intended to guide your thoughts. You may choose to comment on other aspects of the management of commercial activities and private interests in the park. All input will inform the preparation of a new plan of management for Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Lion Island Nature Reserve, Long Island Nature Reserve and Spectacle Island Nature Reserve.

There will be another opportunity to have your say when the draft plan is completed and put on public exhibition. If you would like to be notified when the draft plan is available, please register your details.