February 18 - 24, 2024: Issue 614


Avalon-Bungan-Newport-North Narrabeen-Long Reef Beach Surfers Named Among Finalists Announced 2023 Australian Surfing Awards + Chelsea Hedges To Be Inducted Into The Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame

Northern Beaches Para Surfer Boardriders Inc First Official Competition crew
Left to Right: Lee Ferrier, Lori Foti, Michael Foti, Jack Jackson, Max Devery (from WA!), Sam Bloom, Chris Astill
Back Row: Kirk Watson, John Crampton, Chook Harris
Front Row: Em Dieters 
Notable Absentees: Cam Bloom, Jaz Astill
Photo Byron Chadwick - nomoredahl

Some of the biggest names in surfing have been revealed as finalists in the 2023 Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame, including a number of local surfers and creators.

Milla Brown (Bungan) is a Stephanie Gilmore Female Rising Star Award presented by Griffith University finalist, Laura Enever (North Narrabeen) is a Heavy Water Award finalist.

Kamchatka by Avalon Beach creatives Spencer Frost and Guy Williment featuring surfers Letty Mortensen and Fraser Dovell (both also of Avalon Beach), has been named among the finalists for Surf Film of the Year and both the Northern Beaches Para Surfing Boardriders Club and Long Reef Boardriders are finalists in the Simon Anderson Boardrider Club Award, while NBPSBC members Kirk Watson (Mona Vale) has been named among finalists for the Male Para Surfer of the Year and Female Para Surfer of the Year finalists include Sam Bloom (Newport) and Emma Dieters (Mona Vale).

On July 11 2023 15-year-old Milla Brown showed she remains one to keep an eye on in future years as she took out the coveted Pro Junior title as well as the Under-18 Girls division in the 2023 Skullcandy Oz Grom pres. by Vissla as well as the World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) Pro Junior division. Later that same year Milla won the Let’s Surf Lake Mac Pro Junior 2023.

Milla Brown being chaired after her July 2023 win. Photo: Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

On Wednesday, November 8, 2023 the World Surf League (WSL) announces that Laura Enever (AUS) has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the Largest wave surfed paddle-in (female). The WSL officially analysed, measured, and verified Enever’s 2023 record-breaking ride at 43.6 feet (13.3 meters) as part of the WSL Big Wave Record Chase, making it the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman. 

Laura celebrating with her World Record award at North Narrabeen. Photo: WSL / Matt Dunbar

Kamchatka by Avalon Beach creatives Spencer Frost and Guy Williment follows filmmakers Spencer Frost and Guy Williment and surfers Letty Mortensen and Fraser Dovell as they journey to Kamchatka in the far east of Russia in search of new waves along the frozen, unexplored coastline. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk with more than 150 volcanoes (29 active) the Kamchatka Peninsula in Far Eastern Russia is as remote as it is unique.

After 2 years of planning the trip was almost over before it started. An hour before boarding their flight to Moscow, Russia invaded Ukraine. At a time when the world was seeing the worst of human nature, these guys flew behind the iron curtain and found, to their surprise the best of it. Mi-8 helicopters, skidoos, frozen campsites, and frozen bank accounts, this surf trip quickly became far more than anyone could imagine. 

Both the Northern Beaches Para Surfing Boardriders Club and Long Reef Boardriders are among the best of local boardridng clubs. Members of the Northern Beaches Para Surfing Boardriders Club formed art of the 2023 Irukandjis Team that took home seven medals in November 2023 at the ISA  World Para Surfing Championships.

The Northern Beaches Para Surfing Boardriders Club aims to provide a platform dedicated for para surfers to engage and mentor others in the sport of surfing. Through its services and activities, the club aims to empower para surfers and create a positive impact on their lives by fostering a sense of community and to promote inclusivity by raising awareness in the wider community. This then facilitates skill development and competitive opportunities for the para surfers.

Long Reef Boardriders was established in 1973 and is a community based board riders club for all ages, and one of the at least 18 boardrider clubs in our area. Their focus is on enjoying the waves, looking after the environment they find those waves in, and looking out for others too.

Longy Boardriders Jay Baldwin, Ben Heffernan, Matt Bamberry and another surfer were first responders when a surf life saving jetski operator was injured during a February 3 2023 rescue of three teenagers at Long Reef when a dangerous swell was running. They managed to get the operator back to shore where he was hospitalised due to his injuries.

''Surfers are in the water and are often the first responders...'' the club explains.

''2023 for Longy Boardriders was a blast. We had people flying all over the World and Australia competing in QS, Aussies, States, Junior and Woolworths comps. We turned 50 and got loose, we surfed in the ABB Australian Titles at Newcastle and North Narrabeen, The State of Origin at beautiful Burleigh. We held our Champions of Champions and were lucky enough to hold 9 club competitions in an erratic year for waves.

Our surfers keep raising the bar, all 170 of us. An indication of the continual strengthening of our depth; in the Open Women's we had 3 different winners and 13 different finalists, in the Open Mens we had 5 different winners and 14 different finalists.''

Long Reef Boardriders are about building community and are for community - and having some fun in the waves.

Surfers Sam Bloom and Emma Dieters are women who effectively decided setbacks weren't going to keep them out of the ocean and on the waves they love. Both Sam and Emma are inspirational speakers, mums, SCI survivors, and multi World Para Surf Champions. Both actively mentor others to try and do what they want to do. 



State Government Planning Changes For Medium To High Density Triggers Call To Provide Feedback: Closes Friday February 23

The NSW Government has announced changes to planning laws. The new planning reforms would apply to the “Six Cities” region stretching from Wollongong to Port Stephens and include the Blue Mountains to the West. There are two significant reforms: The Transport Orientated Development (TOD) Program and the new SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy) which comes into effect on 1st April 2024.

Under the second reform, changes to Low- and Mid-rise Housing currently on exhibition, State-imposed zonings and controls would significantly weaken local democratic input into the built form and character of large areas of most Local Government Areas.

The proposed reforms seek to:

  • Allow dual occupancies (two dwellings on the same lot) in all R2 low density residential zones across NSW (up to 9.5m in height, minimum lot size 450 sq.m).
  • Allow terraces, townhouses and 2 storey apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres in R2 low density residential zones across the Six Cities Region(up to 9.5m in height, minimum lot size 450 sq.m). 
  • Allow mid-rise apartment blocks near Transport Hubs and Town Centres in R3 medium density zones across the six cities region -up to 21 metres in height/7 storeys. 
  • Allow residential flat buildings up to 16 metres/5 storeys in height on land zoned R3 Medium Density Residential within the outer part of the station and town centre precinct and are between 400m and 800m walking distance of town centres .

The NSW Government’s Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low and mid-rise housing, December 2023 defines a “station or town centre precinct”, a new term being introduced under the reforms, to include land within 800m walking distance of land zoned E1 Local Centre but only if the zone contains a wide range of frequently needed goods and services such as full line supermarkets, shops and restaurants.

Appendix A in the NSW Government’s Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low and mid-rise housing, December 2023 lists the changes.

To facilitate and encourage these developments, the NSW Government proposes to set non-refusal standards that will override councils own planning controls unless the equivalent local environmental plan or development control plan standard is more permissive.

Council has prepared a submission on the proposed reforms, however, after meetings with residents groups, those attending state it became apparent that the full document (some 40 pages) will be submitted to State Planning by the 23 February deadline  but it will not be debated and voted on in Council until the meeting to be held on 27 February.

Council has sought and been given permission by the State Government to submit its feedback late since then.

Attendees are asking why has the NBC been missing in action while Ku-ring-gai Council has evoked 75% community support for forensically analysing the EIE and making strong demands of the Government before it looks at proceeding further.  With the support of its community, Ku-ring-gai Council has voted unanimously to take action and to demand better planning from the NSW Government.

''Where was a December/January EGM for our elected Councillors to address this draft being submitted as the Northern Beaches Council's official response?'' one resident has asked

Residents have also pointed out the Council has already been approving DA's with height limit breaches and multiple stories across Pittwater.

See: Clear Breach Of Height Limit In DA Recommended For Approval On Old Palm Beach Fish & Chip Site + Rezoning Of Pittwater Plans Ignite Renewed Calls For A Return Of Pittwater Council

The 'Maya' site at Mona Vale in 2023

Additionally, late last year the State Government's NSW Planning Department recommended Pittwater keep all its present Conservation Zones. 

See: A Huge Win For Pittwater's Environment! Pittwater To Keep Its Conservation Zones

At the same time the connection between these proposed new controls and the new affordable housing bonus provisions that came into effect in December 2024 need to be taken into account. The reforms introduce a new bonus Floor Space Ratio (FSR) of up to 30 per cent and a height bonus of up to 30 per cent where a proposal includes a minimum of 15 per cent of the gross floor area (GFA) as affordable housing. The changes also allow state-owned housing agencies to build more affordable housing without needing council approvals.

Although house prices across this LGA make it one of the least-affordable, with a Median listing price of $2,500,000 for a house and $1,100,000 for a unit, Council made adjustments to its own planning for housing requiring developers required to meet the Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme. Passed in December 2021, this allows the Council to collect contributions from developers which it states it will use to provide affordable housing in the LGA, and, in the case of the Frenchs Forest Town Centre, an affordable housing target of 15 percent is proposed for the town centre, and 10 percent for other areas (except land at Karingal Crescent).

Lastly, the Government’s 7-Star thermal performance rating requirement on new residential buildings does not apply to apartments below six storeys. These will be exempt from thermal performance improvement unlike other homes required to go from 5.5 Star rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) to 7 or a maximum of 10 Stars! This will compromise NSW’s climate targets and liveability of the developments themselves.

The new incumbent state government has signalled a clear intention that housing be alongside good transport corridors, alongside train stations and railways in particular, and to build up, not out, to prevent urban sprawl, destroying more habitat and keep what is left of urban bushland intact.

Under the National Housing Accord, the NSW Government has committed to providing an additional 377,00 homes by 2029.

'But we need to do this in areas that are already well serviced by transport and amenities' one of the government's fact sheets state (diverse and well-located homes fact sheet).

As the changes, if passed as is, and even without the transport and amenities already built-up areas enjoy, would still allow the kind of non-refusable development that would destroy what millions of people come to Pittwater for annually; a place of open green space and pristine waters with houses tucked below the treeline, iconic beaches that aren't tourist traps, and iconic heritage buildings and spaces such as Barrenjoey Light Station, Pittwater environment and residents groups are asking everyone to make a submission.

An overview is available on Diverse and well-located homes

Public submissions on proposed changes are on exhibition for public comment until Friday 23rd February 2024.

The NSW State Government intends that the proposals will take effect by the end of June 2024.

Read supporting documents and lodge your submission HERE or HERE

Ku-ring-gai Council is calling for:

  • Consulting directly with communities
  • Working with local councils to understand each community
  • Protecting natural and built heritage 
  • Maintaining the tree canopy, wildlife and environment 
  • Investing in all necessary new and additional infrastructure

Ku-ring-gai Council states the changes will lead to:

  • An increase in traffic congestion
  • Loss of trees and wildlife
  • Loss of heritage and character
  • Strain on existing infrastructure and facilities 


Narrabeen Lagoon Entrance Closed Again: Council's Update - February 2024

Narrabeen Lagoon entrance being opened again. Photo: Thursday November 30, 2023 by Joe Mills

Narrabeen Lagoon entrance on Thursday February 15, 2024. Photo by Joe Mills

Thursday, 15 February 2024: By Council - ; 

In August 2022 the elected Council, following extensive community consultation, approved a comprehensive entrance management strategy for Narrabeen Lagoon which included more frequent sand excavations to reduce the risk of flooding. 

In keeping with this strategy, last year 25,000 cubic metres (around 45,000-50,000 tonnes) of sand was extracted from the lagoon entrance ahead of the busy summer swimming season. 

Despite these significant works, the entrance closed in early February when a four-metre swell washed sand into the entrance, compounded by a high degree of clockwise beach rotation in the Collaroy Narrabeen embayment. 

Beach rotation relates to the width of sand on the beach near the entrance, and North Narrabeen Beach is currently the widest it has been in decades due to large volumes of sand moving northwards up the beach. With sand moving northward, natural closure of the entrance is accelerated and difficult to prevent, especially when the wave and tidal conditions are right. 

Although the entrance has closed, the flood risk to the low‐lying area surrounding Narrabeen Lagoon remains lower than usual as a result of the recent clearance works. 

The works intentionally dredged a higher volume of sand from the west of the Ocean St bridge compared to past clearances in accordance with expert advice. While the area closer to the beach fills up with sand from the ocean, the deeper area to the west will allow for faster flow of water out of the lagoon should heavy rainfall raise the water level to allow an emergency opening at the entrance, thus reducing the risk of flooding. 

Once reopened, the works will also significantly increase the chance of the lagoon remaining open for a longer period. 

Council’s coast and flood engineers will continue to closely monitor weather forecasts, lagoon water levels and the state of the entrance and be ready to open it mechanically when lagoon water levels rise and weather, tide and swell conditions allow for a successful opening. 

Narrabeen Lagoon entrance on Monday February 12, 2024. Photo by Joe Mills

Bayview Walkway And Seawall Set Works To Commence 

Council signage has been placed around Bayview last week, signalling the Bayview Walkway and Seawall works are about to commence.

The footpath between the Bayview Sea Scouts Hall and Bayview Baths has been impacted by coastal erosion which has caused it to become uneven in places and difficult to traverse. Council have approved plans to widen the concrete path (from 900mm to 2100mm) and better protect the embankment it sits on from coastal erosion.

A contract has been awarded for the construction works to the Enter Building Group. Works are expected to commence this month, February 2024, weather permitting, and take around 5 months to be completed. 

Artist's Impression of the works. Image courtesy NBC

The existing seawall will be upgraded to modern engineering standards which will protect the widened footpath and Pittwater Road from erosion.

The footpath will be closed throughout the construction works with a pedestrian diversion in place. One traffic lane will be closed for the duration of the works. Temporary traffic lights will provide a contra-flow arrangement along the affected section of Pittwater Road. 

Access to Bayview Tennis Courts and Bayview Sea Scout Hall will be maintained. It is anticipated that the works will take 5 months to complete.

The proposed seawall will comprise of stepped sandstone blocks and sandstone rock toe protection, which will protect the bank and provide tidal habitat for fauna.

Some mangroves will need to be removed to stabilise the bank. Mangrove seedling replanting will be undertaken at the end of construction with the aim, Council has stated, to replant more than were present prior to the works.



Marine Rescue NSW volunteers have completed more than 700 missions + 1,788 returned to shore so far this year: boating season continues until Anzac Day 2024

Bayview boat ramp is very busy year round with boaters going out onto Pittwater, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury

Data released last week shows Volunteers from Marine Rescue NSW’s 46 units across the state completed 703 search and rescue missions in January, safely returning 1,788 people to shore.

Greater Sydney was the busiest region in NSW with 285 missions while Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie was the most in-demand unit, completing 106 search and rescue missions.

A quarter of last month’s missions were emergency responses and Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell is pleading with boaters not to become a statistic with the boating season continuing until Anzac Day.

“Summer is by far from over at the moment, our message to boaters is to make sure that they don't get complacent, that they keep safety front of mind and they make the right decisions before they go boating on the state's waterways,” Commissioner Barrell said.

10% of incidents in January were for capsized or grounded vessels, which can quickly become life-threatening emergencies and Commissioner Barrell is encouraging boaters to always check equipment and conditions.

“Waterways are great places to be but it is important that you check the conditions and your equipment, not once but twice, make sure that you have everything you need and that you keep safety front of mind.

“What we've seen over recent weeks and months is unstable weather conditions. It may be good at one point in the day, but it suddenly changes, that is why it is important that you check the conditions. 

“Whether you're boating, rock fishing, anytime you are around that coastal environment, it is really important that you continually check the weather,” he said.

Marine Rescue NSW radio operators managed 26,047 radio calls last month including 18 MAYDAYs and 11 PAN PANs while the Service’s volunteers kept watch over 32,256 people on board vessels that Logged On with Marine Rescue NSW either via the free Marine Rescue app or VHF channel 16.

Commissioner Barrell said that many Marine Rescue NSW units are currently recruiting members for radio operations and vessel crew.

“We are fortunate to have so many wonderful volunteers as part of Marine Rescue NSW.

“Our volunteers are professionally trained to the highest standard and are regularly assessed so when that phone rings we have got professional personnel to go out and undertake our rescue work,” Commissioner Barrell said. 

Marine Rescue NSW State Communications Centre at Belrose

Breakdown of search & rescue missions across Marine Rescue NSW regions: 

Northern Rivers – 26 search and rescue missions including 10 emergency responses with 48 people safely returned to shore across all 7 Northern Rivers units – Point Danger, Brunswick, Cape Byron, Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka Yamba & Wooli.

Number of search and rescue missions in locations of highest demand: Iluka Yamba 8, Point Danger 7, Ballina 7 

Mid North Coast – 43 search & rescue missions including 19 emergency responses with 120 people safely returned to shore across all 9 Mid North Coast units – Woolgoolga, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca, Trial Bay, Lord Howe Island, Port Macquarie, Camden Haven, Crowdy Harrington & Forster Tuncurry.

Number of search and rescue missions in locations of highest demand: Forster Tuncurry 18, Port Macquarie 8, Nambucca 7 

Hunter/Central Coast – 215 search & rescue missions including 37 emergency responses with 499 people safely returned to shore across all 8 Hunter/Central Coast units – Port Stephens, Lemon Tree Passage, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Norah Head, Tuggerah Lakes, Central Coast & Terrigal.

Number of search and rescue missions in locations of highest demand: Lake Macquarie 106, Central Coast 40, Port Stephens 39 

Greater Sydney – 285 search & rescue missions including 31 emergency responses with 770 people safely returned to shore across all 7 Greater Sydney units – Hawkesbury, Cottage Point, Broken Bay, Sydney State Communications Centre, Middle Harbour, Port Jackson & Botany Port Hacking.

Number of search and rescue missions in locations of highest demand: Sydney (State Communications Centre) 84, Botany Port Hacking 63, Cottage Point 40 

Marine Rescue Cottage Point Volunteers with Commissioner- Alex Barrell in Spring 2023. Photo: MRNSW

Illawarra – 87 search & rescue missions including 40 emergency responses with 229 people safely returned to shore across all 7 Illawarra units – Port Kembla, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Jervis Bay, Sussex Inlet, Ulladulla & Kioloa.

Number of search and rescue missions in locations of highest demand: Jervis Bay 31, Port Kembla 21, Shoalhaven 17 

Monaro – 47 search & rescue missions including 37 emergency responses with 122 people safely returned to shore across all 8 Monaro units – Batemans Bay, Tuross Moruya, Narooma, Bermagui, Merimbula, Eden, Alpine Lakes & Moama.

Number of search and rescue missions in locations of highest demand: Batemans Bay 25, Narooma 7, Eden 6

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.

Marine Rescue Broken Bay members. Photo: A J Guesdon, 2023


Summer In Pittwater 

Turimetta Beach Sunrise, Tuesday February 13, 2024 - more in Joe Mills' 'Turimetta Moods' running this Issue.
Turimetta Beach Seagull, Tuesday February 13, 2024 - more in Joe Mills' 'Turimetta Moods' running this Issue.
Turimetta Beach Sunrise, Tuesday February 13, 2024 - more in Joe Mills' 'Turimetta Moods' running this Issue.

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