March 27 - April 2, 2016: Issue 257

Barrenjoey Headland Keepers Cottages Slated for Accommodation Development

 Public to Be Excluded From Keepers, Boatman's and Fishers Cottages and Areas Around These

The National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage on Monday March 21st published a Media Release and accompanying Architectural Drawings  for plans to develop accommodation in the Keepers cottages, Fishers Cottages and Boatman's Cottage on Barrenjoey Headland. NO Specifications detailing a description of the proposed works are published with these, as is normal or the usual when providing architectural drawings.

The architectural drawings show a 30-40 person bed count, an extension outwards of the fencing around the boatmans cottage, 'stepping stones for high tide' along the beachfront to the Fisher's cottages, 2-4 units replacing the Fishers cottages within two structures, extensive remodelling and redecorating within the Keepers cottages and installing 'privacy screens' on same.

The public will be excluded from these structures, and areas around them, whenever they are rented out as 'short term accommodation'; (2-3 days or by the week).*

The statements also communicate; "We have not excluded the provision of spaces within some of the buildings for community use and small scale gatherings." 


"The lightkeepers' cottages and a fishermens' cottage will be open 9am to 1pm on Saturday 2 April 2016 to coincide with the public exhibition of concept plans for adaptive re-use of the headland's historic buildings.." - OEH/NPWS

Whether this means people will be on site to explain the details withheld is unclear from this statement. One statement states this will be an Information Day, the other is more general.

The inference, despite a call to 'Have Your Say' is that this is more along the lines of an announcement as part of the statements given are an intention of;

"submitting a Section 60 Application to the Heritage Council of NSW for approval to carry out an activity to an item or land listed on the State Heritage Register."

The Palm Beach Whale Beach Association stated this week that they were concerned whether the plans will preserve the Heritage value of the iconic Barrenjoey Headland and its historic structures. 

There is also concern of what 30 to 40 people installed in these buildings will do to them and the areas around them, whether enlarging the footprint of some structures via bigger fenced off areas, or excluding the public from access to these buildings is in keeping with being good 'Keepers' of a community and state asset that is meant to remain accessible by those who own it. The documents read more like an entity that has raised itself to a bad landlord who will extract rent, and has forgotten its caretaker only role.

Funds raised are slated to be invested back into Barrenjoey in one document and into national parks in general in another. As these same lines also state over 200 thousand people visit the lighthouse and precincts each year, discussions within community this week are asking why the structures are not fully restored to their originals, complete with period furniture etc. and opened, finally, as a proper museum where people may step back in time to a remaining, leaving at least one untouched, example of Australia's past, with funds raised, even if only $5.00 a head, supplying more than enough to maintain the integrity of the historic headland.

As the structures are proposed to be rented out for 'short term accommodation' which is being explained as 2 to 3 days or by the week, and NPWS are required* to have these open at some stage each year for the public to see them, the lack of details on how both will be achieved seems like another 'push it through quick' scenario. 

"Barrenjoey is the Jewel in the Crown of Pittwater. The Keepers Cottages must be retained for the public in their original state, not only for this generation but for all succeeding generations." Richard West AM, President of the Palm Beach Whale Beach Association said on Saturday.

Will the NPWS and OEH be able to 'keep their hands off it' though?

Indications are that they have already settled on the opposite, deeming this latest scheme 'appropriate development'. 

People may send in feedback on the concept plans by Friday 20 April 2016 via online consultation or email to 

*BARRENJOEY HEADLAND CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PLAN Prepared for the Office of Environment and Heritage - published© 2013 State of NSW and Office of Environment and Heritage This Conservation Management Plan was prepared by the Government Architect’s Office, NSW Public Works for the Office.  At:

Page 201 under ‘Guidelines’ - Lighthouse Keeper’s Precinct 

The use of the buildings within this Precinct as accommodation will assist in conserving the historic use of the buildings as residences. This use would result in parts of the Precinct (directly surrounding each cottage) to be closed off from public access. As part of any leasing arrangement, ensure that mechanisms are in place that allow for public access throughout the whole Precinct at regular intervals throughout the year.

The OEH Media Release, and DIRECT links to documents HERE

Barrenjoey Pictures - by A J Guesdon 

 Pittwater Residents Oppose  Warringah's Amalgamation Proposal

Community Members at Pittwater Council's information stall at Avalon yesterday - AJG Pic.

Residents, businesses, sporting groups, community organisations and councillors have spoken out against a proposed council that would see the merging of Manly and Pittwater with Warringah, stating such a council would be too big, too removed and too bureaucratic.

At Mona Vale this week, during the public inquiry meetings, 80% spoke against such a proposal. At Dee Why 50%, including Pittwater people who have not yet attended these meetings previously, rejected the idea.

Some points raised were:

• “The proposal has no strategic emphasis north of Dee Why including the omission of Mona Vale Hospital as a major health facility”

• “We live in a community, not an economy”

• “Control by fewer people away from the people”

• “This is a regional council, not a local council”

• “More bureaucratic structure concerned about efficiencies”

• “What is the real cost to the community? Collectivity doesn’t necessarily contribute to economies”

• “The proposal has no strategic emphasis north of Dee Why including the omission of Mona Vale Hospital as a major health facility”

• “Bigger councils favour candidates from political parties. Back to total disengagement and weaker democratic process”

• “Unacceptable diminishing of representation”

• "Areas of environmental sensitivity being under threat by over development"

• “We are one northern beaches geographically, but we have different needs and different aspirations. Local government is not about being a business case. It’s about serving the community effectively. It’s about people”

“We are a council supportive of reform but not when it will negatively impact our community. Even local government expert Professor Dollery has said that SHOROC two council model is ‘the most sensible and economically responsible for the region possible’. Let's work together to create a council linking areas of similar character, culture and density with appropriate levels of representation and community connectedness,” Mayor Townsend said this week.

The NSW Government is seeking views on the proposal until April 8th. As 89% of the Pittwater community (Micromex Research 2015) does not support this amalgamation, there will be continued opposition despite David versus a Goliath resident numbers in the varying current councils of Pittwater, Manly and Warringah. 

Pittwater residents will continue to maintain they want a council that is connected, agile and responsive - a council of environmental integrity that will retain Pittwater’s identity of 'connected villages inspired by bush, beach and water.'

Community comment on the mega council option is open until 8 April 2016. Everyone can lodge a submission HERE

Pittwater Council will also have community information stalls in the village centres including Avalon, Elanora Heights, Mona Vale, Newport and Warriewood as well as at Mona Vale Library and Avalon Recreation Centre next Saturday, April 2nd.


Community Expresses Frustration at nbn 'Disconnect' Experience

Photo showing proposed placement of nodebox at Palm Beach - image provided.

In late February we were contacted by a frustrated Palm Beach resident who had been notified of the placement of a nbn nodebox in the middle of their front lawn and had sought to have the plan modified so it would not impact on their home and the use of it. Although the resident stated they had sold a portion of their front lawn so a road could be widened they reasoned the placement of this box as shown could quite easily be moved to the side of the property, and even forward, so as not to impact as shown above.

Since then we have been contacted by other residents who express anger at not having been contacted at all through any form of notification and finding that they too are in a similar predicament. Others have found that even when making a complaint there is a disconnect between the nbn company in charge of rolling out these connections and those contracted to do the work as, while a complaint is 'pending' a contractor appears before their home ready to do the work and states they have received no notice from nbn that a case is open.

In one instance the mapping section of Telstra in Brisbane had been contacted who informed two side by side neighbours that as they had received no complaints the file had been closed and was unable to be reopened, that if they had objected the nodebox would have been able to be moved, and that it was just 'process' that the file could not be reopened. 

When the caller stated they wished to make a complaint about the 'process' another Telstra employee from their Complaints Department stated bluntly the nodebox would not be moved based on their reasons. Their reasons?: ' the size, location, an eyesore, health effects, vicinity to bedroom windows, children playing in this area and devaluing of our property.'

The resident was informed someone would call them regarding their health concerns - they're still waiting on that call. A request for the employees Manager's name and contact details, to escalate their complaint,  was refused. They then found out their complaint case had been inadvertently closed by nbn, an apology received for that, and it was reopened.

On Tuesday this week the contractors turned up to measure the ground to install the nodebox. Fortunately one of these side by side complainants was at home and saw the gentleman. He explained they had received no notice a complaint was open and, after contacting his boss, placed the installation on hold for a week pending a resolution. 

This week, with instances growing, we contacted nbn, who firmly maintain that those homes adjacent to these nodeboxes have been sent notification, and that it is sent three months prior to installation.

Also that: 'These nodes are installed as an exercise of telecommunications carrier powers under Schedule 3 of the Telecommunication Act 1997 (the Act).  Broadly speaking, this Act provides telecommunications carriers with the power to install certain types of equipment without the express consent of the owner or occupier of land as they are deemed to be ‘essential infrastructure.’

Marcela Balart, State Corporate Affairs Advisor NSW/ACT for nbn stated, “While nbn understands that some local residents are unhappy with the placement of the node cabinets, the Council, who is also the landowner has been notified, as per our legal requirements under the Act.”

The Telecommunications Act 1997:

'o  The Act requires nbn to provide notice of proposed telecommunications infrastructure to the legal owner/occupier of the land, in this case, the local Council. nbn notifies Council, as per our legal requirements, and provides it with an opportunity to dispute the intended location. As the landowner, they are the only party able to formally object.

o Councils are engaged well before the design phase prior to issuing formal notification of our intention to install infrastructure on their land.

As part of our commitment to community consultation, nbn proactively notifies local residents of proposed equipment locations via a letter and/or pamphlet drop approximately three months ahead of the build.

o These courtesy letters notify residents that nbn infrastructure will be placed near their property, on council land with a picture and fact sheet. Opportunity is provided for residents to comment with concerns revised in good faith where it can be achieved without compromising the safety of workers or the integrity and proper functioning of the network.

o In determining the most appropriate position for a node, nbn is required to consider some 30 criteria relating to safety, design, network requirements and serviceability. These include:

o   Proximity to existing telecommunications infrastructure including Telstra pillars and maintenance pits;

o   Property access and local government requirements;

o   Environmental conditions including the presence of trees or other vegetation; and

o   Safety considerations such as maintaining sight lines for drivers, away from streets with high speeds and traffic volume, and safety of our workers.

As part of the nbn rollout, more than 8,300 homes and businesses in the local community will be able to access the benefits of faster internet from October this year.'

So it seems that a discussion can take place.

For those who haven't received a pamphlet or letter with some photos of where a nodebox is proposed to be placed, or work and may not see an installer pop up out the front of their home due to being at work, and absent from home, should a nodebox be going to be placed somewhere possibly not appropriate, or for those whose notice may have gone astray, nbn do provide some contact details in the sample letter they kindly provided us with:

For more information call 1800 687 626 | visit  - email

If you would like more information or you believe there is a significant issue with the location of an nbn™ cabinet, please call nbn on 1800 687 626

Make sure you keep a record of conversations, the dates these occurred and Case numbers. 

Unfortunately there is no page on the nbn website where you may sight or read where nodeboxes are proposed to be placed. There is only a 'rollout map' where you may enter your address and be informed 'Build commenced - Work has started in this area.' or 'The nbn™ network rollout has not started in your area. Keep checking the website for more information.', so it may be too late by then if your home is 'adjacent to' and your pamphlet or letter went astray. Hopefully the disconnect people have been experiencing will be resolved.

A Reminder, as run in a previous article, you can Register with nbn and they'll let you know when you can switch to the nbn™ network.

Register Here

Clearly this is going to be great for Pittwater, and wonderful to know it should be completed by the end of the year in some areas of the community, but there will be a few shifts some of us may have to make and plan for prior to 'switching over';

That other aspect is factors that need considering over the next few months if you have a Medical Alarm. As one staff member does have a family member with one of these that requires 24/7 monitoring through a landline, and there were more than a few kinks and six weeks of stressful delays for them via their chosen provider when their changeover occurred, it would be great to 'Be Prepared' and look into what you may need to do to make a smooth transition.

As an nbn document indicates some people may need rewiring of home etc., and nbn are asking people to register with them if they do have a Medical Alarm, we provide their information and links to where you can do this as well as information on possible fees that may be charged by your server - we spoke to Telstra about their fees for rewiring should you require this.


Pittwater Artists Bring Delightful Colours To Newport Easter Art Festival

 Artists Julie Hickson, Tony Edwards, Elfriede Bartnitzky and Geoff Searl on Friday evening (25.3.2016) - AJG Pic.

On Good Friday evening Artists who are part of the 2016 Pittwater Artists Trail opened their exhibition as part of the inaugural Newport Art Festival.

The event, coordinated by Council’s Enliven Pittwater program and supported by organisers of the Pittwater Artists Trail, featured the art exhibition, running from through to Easter Monday at the Newport Community Centre, and on Easter Saturday a series of events and activities for all ages ran throughout the day.

The art exhibition features the most recent prints and drawings, paintings, ceramics, textile and glass artworks, alongside a selection of hand crafted jewellery produced by 25 renowned local artists; Julie Hickson, Jacqui Giuliano, Elfriede Bartnitzky, Nada Herman, Robyn Park, Martin Wale, Geoff Searl and Tabitha Higgins to name just a few. 

Tony Edwards, beloved as Captain Goodvibes to some, was cajoled into officially opening the Art Exhibition on Good Friday evening, providing the large crowd attending with some fine words in his address.

For those who could not attend, Mr. Edwards is allowing us to share this and keep for Pittwater records HERE

Some of the great fun that formed part of Easter Saturday activities, including Easter craft, storytelling and face painting for youngsters runs as part of a special Easter Saturday at Newport - this week's Pictorial - HERE

Great story - great storytelling at Enliven Pittwater's Newport Easter Art Festival - AJG Pic.

 Enjoying the sun and rock sculptures at Enliven Pittwater's Newport Easter Art Festival! - AJG Pic.

Rock Pools and Rock Shelfs: Wonderful Playgrounds for School Holidays

 'Found by our three year old fossil-cker! ' - photo by Adriaan van der Wallen

During the next few Issues we'll be running some ideas on fun things that youngsters love to do that don't cost anything - FREE is good when you have a family budget to keep an eye on!

This week we share some glorious photographs by dad and teacher Adriaan van der Wallen - taken at Avalon Beach which shows some of the things he and his three children find when exploring and how you can have a great time in and around our rock pools and rock shelves learning about what came here thousands of years ago and what was brought in on the last tide - as well as have fun in sheltered waters splashing around or building things.

Adriaan's pictures run as this Issue's Aquatics Feature

We've also been collecting some old new and pictures on Pittwater's Rock Pools, which we'll run next Issue, as this week's is too large already for a holy-day, holiday time.

For now; these boys and their dad were having fun at Newport Rock Pool when we went to get some images for comparison with the old ones found:

Steve (dad) with sons Dominic and Charlie having a great time at Newport Rock Pool - Easter Saturday 2016 - AJG Pic.

 Pittwater - Autumn 2016

Paradise Beach, Clareville - Sunset  23.3.2016 - photo by Adriaan van der Wallen 

Full Moon over Avalon Beach 23.3.2016  - photo by Joanne Seve

Ramaria botrytis, commonly known as the clustered pink-tipped coral mushroom, or the cauliflower coral, photo by Penel Bigg

This is an edible species of coral fungus in the family Gomphaceae. A widely distributed species, it is found in North America, North Africa, central and eastern Europe, Australia, and Asia. The fungus is mycorrhizal with broadleaf trees, and fruits on the ground in wooded areas. There are several species of coral fungi that are superficially similar in appearance to R. botrytis, and although comparison of habitat or characteristics like color or branching morphology is often sufficient for identification, sometimes microscopy is required to definitively distinguish between them.

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