May 27 - June 2, 2018: Issue 361

Potential for Newport Paradise to be expanded: A Greener sydney Spark! 

Recently a Pittwater Online News post on our Facebook platform updating the community on the proposal inherited by the current council to compulsorily acquire the Pasadena and demolish it to create a community green space attracted around 10 thousand 'hits', a lot of shares and a lot of comments, 99.9% supporting the owners and looking forward to revisiting a cherished by many venue. 

Among the comments posted was one from a Newport resident to the effect that money spent on an unpopular proposal would be better invested in acquiring bushland currently on the real estate market at the top of Newport and adjoining the Attunga Reserve. 

This wasn't the first communication from a resident dismayed that a potential extension and enlargement of the Newport series of reserves may be lost. It was followed by more - and more.

The opportunity to expand and add to public community spaces, especially if they adjoin current reserves and would enhance and make better those already in place, in this case expanding what is fondly known as the 'Newport Loop', remains a core ideal and function of community at an individual, as well as local, state and federal government level.

The gentleman who owns this land, 1.06ha or 2.63 acres, has been 'through the wringer' for well over a decade trying to captilise on what is his asset though, and may be wary of any proposal that isn't backed up and proceeded with quickly. 

On Saturday May 26th community leaders from the Newport Residents Association, the Pittwater Natural Heritage Association, representatives from local indigenous families along with concerned residents met to discuss presenting the opportunity to their local councillors and state representative. The Pittwater Community Alliance chairman has also expressed his support for the proposal. 

The outcome is that this group of community leaders and residents will seek to discuss the opportunity this week with their local councillors and state representative. 

Local Reserves are overseen by local government, even if they are kept free of weeds by an army of volunteer bushcarers, and they are added to through funding allocated from local government budgets backed up by state government grants or funds to acquire or help restore them, as has happened at Mullet Creek in Warriewood or the coastal stretches from Turimetta to Mona Vale.

A crowdfunding page to raise the money required, along with a petition to gauge how broad support in the community is, were also discussed and should be available by the end of this week.

The Newport Bushlink, 'From the Crown to the Sea' comprises the Attunga Reserve, Kanimbla Reserve, the Porters Reserve and the Crown of Newport (McMahon's Creek) Reserve at the end of Hillside road. The work to restore these and create an interlinked walkable route was commenced in 1994 by just four Newport Residents.

The reserves allow walkers to revel in glorious Newport vistas, be among Coastal Heathland landscapes as well as Littoral Rainforest and green lit creeklines. They also provide vital fauna habitat and connection pathways.

The site now on the market is approximately 1.06 ha in size, and includes 0.84 ha of native vegetation (Littoral Rainforest) and 0.22 ha of Urban Native/Exotic Vegetation. The majority of the land consists of rainforest associated species, including Cabbage Tree Palms (Livistona australis), mesic tree species such as Lilly Pillys (Acmena smithii) and Pittosporum sp., ferns; such as the Rough tree fern (Cyathea australis), vines and twiners such as Cissus sp. and sparse tussock grasses such as Lomandra sp. 

Other species such as Banksia integrifolia (Coastal Banksia), Ficus rubiginosa (Port Jackson Fig), Eucalyptus botryoides (Bangalay), and Allocasuarina littoralis (Forest Oak) occur less frequently in the canopy but have been recorded. Underneath the canopy a small tree layer is present, comprised predominately of Eupomatia laurina (Native Guava), Synoum glandulosum (Scentless Rosewood), Acmena smithii, and Pittosporum undulatum. The exotic tree species Erythrina x sykesii is present in the canopy in the southern half of the site.

A shrub layer is present in most areas dominated by Eupomatia laurina and Synoum glandulosum and juveniles of the trees Livistona australis and Pittosporum undulatum. Other shrubs species present with patchy occurrences include Wilkiea huegeliana (Veiny Wilkiea), Notelaea longifolia, Pittosporum revolutum (Rough-fruited Pittosporum), and Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry Ash). Vines are common in the understorey and include the species Morinda jasminoides (Sweet Morinda), Smilax australis (Lawyer Vine), Geitonoplesium cymosum (Scrambling Lily). 

The ground level has ferns in most areas, the dominant species on site being Doodia aspera (Rasp Fern) and Blechnum cartilagineum (Gristle Fern), and others such as Adiantum aethiopicum (Maidenhair fern), Adiantum hispidulum (Rough Maidenhair Fern), and Calochlaena dubia (False Bracken Fern) occurring less frequently. Other herbaceous species such as Pseuderanthemum variabile (Pastel Flower), Lepidosperma elatius (Tall Sword-sedge), Schelhammera undulata (Lilac Lily), and the grasses Entolasia marginata (Margined Panic) and Oplismenus imbecillis (Creeping Beard Grass) have a scattered distribution in the ground layer. 

There has been, as it has been in many Reserves prior to bush regeneration, the encroachment of lantana. There are also patches of privet and other exotic weeds association with areas that have been disturbed by development or run off from adajcent sites.

A total of 73 native species and 68 exotic species were recorded on the site and its parts during previous and subsequent development applications. The overall abundance of native and exotic species varies across the land, with native species predominating.

The site slopes steeply from the north-western side to the south-eastern boundary. There is extensive sandstone outcropping and boulders on the upper slopes, wonderful outcrops through which rain would wend.

The site adjoins Attunga Reserve and an old path around its northern perimeter once led to and joined that behind Porter's. A gambol across from Attunga would allow hikers to enjoy the great views and breeze from the peak of the site before ambling along the road to the reserve through which McMahon's creek wends.

People who live adjacent to site report seeing a powerful owl nesting in a tree on the land and a chorus of birds can be heard, during the day, singing from its green understorey. No nocturnal count of animals (or fauna that moves at night) is available but that which frequents the reserves around the land range from ring-tail possums to reptiles to a wide range of resident or seasonally returning birds.

Sounds like a paradise because it is a paradise - and would certainly appeal to anyone who wants a lofty home within a quiet corner with a glorious view and pockets of cooling green flora and fauna around them.

As the land is currently on offer as a subdivision of six large blocks, the sales pitch being a potential 'gated community', and previous discussions to have this green space acquired have availed none, the April 2018 announced NSW Government’s $290 million Open Spaces and Green Sydney package, may be just one way (or potential option for some funding) to get everyone happy this time.

To envision the potential visit: 

Newport's Bushlink 'From The Crown To The Sea' Paths: Celebrating Over 20 Years Of Community Volunteer Bushcare Results