Why doesn't the Tuross Head community trust Council over Kyla Park: a history lesson for council
The Beagle Editor,
The Kyla Park proposal first came to public knowledge after a brochure with the proposal for the development of the 288-hectares landed on the desk at the Southern Star office in Moruya about 1976.
The brochure had been found by a local resident in a real estate office in Sydney. It was a front page story for the Southern Star and caused an almost instant response from the public, largely Tuross Head residents.
Irrespective of the virtues of the proposal, and there were some, a great deal of the opposition came as a result of the manner in which Eurobodalla Shire Council had apparently been dealing with the plan in secret for some time.
If the peninsula were to be developed it seemed that the proposal would have been a good way of going about it. Instead of having houses spread across the land in individual lots the plan was for them to be built in four separate clusters…hamlets…retaining much more of the natural landscape than would a ‘normal’ development. Most of the land would be left as open space including reafforestation areas, wildlife habitats and grazing areas. A golf course was also included.
One cluster, apart from houses and units, was to contain a recreation centre with sauna, swimming pool, tennis courts and a small boat jetty while the others had similar proposals. There were to be walking and riding tracks linking the clusters.
The development would, among other things, the developers said: “preserve the rural setting and ecology of the peninsula while enabling Kyla Park to develop as a recreational resource for the area’.
It wasn’t allowed to happen as the developers decided not to go ahead due to public opposition.
It seems very possible that if not for the council’s secrecy it would have happened. The smaller clusters went ahead and the sprawling subdivision that was planned that would see all the lands developed was canned Then in 2000 Council tried it on again. This time the Council secretly plotted to reclassify the land into Operational so that it could be sold off. Their plot however came undone and there was immediate community backlash when it was discovered that Council had also knowingly lied to the community about a developer wanting to grow grapes for the Tuscany of The South. It was revealed that there was no such developer and the story had been made up by Council media. Battered and bruised the council, backed into a very embarrassing corner, moved a motion that :1. The issue of the proposed reclassification and rezoning of Council owned land at Kyla Park be deferred. 2. A public meeting be held as soon as possible to provide information on the proposed reclassification and rezoning and all relevant processes and to canvass all the issues.(The Motion on being put was declared CARRIED.) The Public meeting The residents were told at that subsequent Public meeting held in Tuross Head at the Progress Hall (chaired by Rob Pollock) that changes to Council's Local Environment Plan and NSW State Government laws meant that the Council now owned these lands - not the community. The meeting was told the Council would like to subdivide and sell the lands and the residents should agree to change the classification of the lots from Community to Operational and the zoning from Rural 1c to Rural 1a. A senior Council planner read out pages 4 and 5 that described what could be done on Rural 1a land... and for whatever reason, chose not to tell the meeting of the additional things that would be allowed on the grazing lots under this rezoning, omitting on informing the full house of all the additional types of development that would be allowed such as crematoriums and minor industry identified on page 17. The room, well aware of the contents of page 17 responded with a collective shout of "Read out page 17". When he chose not to read it , Rob Pollock, the chair, was then asked to read out to the meeting the text of page 17. This bought the house down with shouts of "Shame" and other more expletive comments.When the community were made aware of the type of industrial, commercial, residential etc development allowable for these beautiful lands under the proposed Rural 1a zoning they were adamant and universal at the meeting in saying "It's our land, leave it alone!" The full to capacity meeting was then informed by the chair and that their voice had been heard and the proposal to change the classification was "no longer on the table' Then 18 months later..........a media release from Council Thursday, March 07, 2002 TUROSS PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS KYLA PARK GRAZING LEASES A public meeting is to be held at Tuross Head next Thursday night to discuss ways of achieving a long term lease for the Kyla Park grazing lots. The meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 14 March at the Tuross Head Youth and Sports Club Hall, Kyla Recreation Area Mayor Peter Cairney said council controls the land used for grazing at Kyla Park which is on both sides of the drive into Tuross Head from the highway. “It is classified as Community Land and has been leased for grazing,” he said. “However long-term leasing of Community Land for grazing is no longer possible." Following receipt of a petition signed by 450 residents of Tuross Head, council wrote to the Minister for Local Government asking that special dispensation be given to allow a lease for grazing of up to 20 years. The Minister has replied, saying he has no power to exempt council from any of the Community Land provisions of the Local Government Act. Cr Cairney said the aim of the public meeting is to determine a course of action that will meet with the wishes of the community and allow for the proper upkeep of the grazing land. The Plan of Management “Kyla Park – Areas of Cultural Significance” was prepared by Eurobodalla Shire Council with the assistance of the Kyla Park Steering Committee. The Plan of Management was adopted at the Works & Facilities Committee on Tuesday 9 December, 2003. Plan of Management No 27. In an article printed in the Bay Post Oct 30,2013 Jocelyn Righton wrote ”Councils efforts to subdivide the land for possible industrial , commercial or residential developments fell flat through the courageous efforts of residents who were adamant “it is our land, leave it alone”. I February 2003 Councillors voted unanimously for the lands to be included in Councils Rural LEP as heritage lands and to be included in Councils Heritage register. The five lots, now categorised as an area of cultural significance through the historical grazing of the land by the Hawdon family are still used for grazing and most importantly are protected for future generations.” (you can read the whole article here ) There are more recent events that continue to stir a very strong distrust by the Tuross Head community of Eurobodalla Council, its councillors and planning staff. This however is enough of a history lesson for any Councillor "stupid enough" to try and wrangle the Kyla Grazing lots away from the Tuross Head community. Name and address supplied.