What is a plan of management and why is it needed?
A Plan of Management is a rule book that sets out how a specific site, such the Mt Keira Summit Park, will be managed into the future. We are required to develop a Plan of Management for any land classified as Community Land.
Finding out the community’s thoughts is a key part of the development of a draft Plan of Management, and by talking with our community and stakeholders it means we develop clear outcomes and an agreed plan for the site.
By engaging with our community and stakeholders we also meet our requirements under Section 38 of the Local Government Act which asks us to put a draft Plan of Management on public exhibition and collect feedback.
Will the Plan of Management restrict access to Mt Keira?
The purpose of a Plan of Management for Mt Keira isn’t to stop people from being able to use the site. Instead, it will provide details of the types of uses that might be permitted on the site into the future. These possible uses will also be in line with the Vision and Planning Principals.It’s important to note, that if a proposal for any specific infrastructure for the Summit Park was to be made in the future, it will not automatically be approved. The proposal would undergo a separate review process. Depending on what the proposal is, this process could include, for example, assessment against local and state planning policies, community engagement, a development application and/or environmental assessment processes and financial feasibility assessments.
Who ‘owns’ and manages the Summit Park?
The Park is owned and managed by Council, and is a natural annex of Wollongong Botanic Garden. The escarpment around the Park is managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and is part of the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area.
Why has it taken so long to develop a Plan of Management?
Working with the community and stakeholders to develop a Plan of Management for this site should not be a quick, overnight activity. It’s important the Plan of Management reflects the community’s aspirations for the protection, use and sustainable management of the Park that were developed in 2016. We have also been working closely with agencies, including the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure the draft Plan of Management reflects best practice when it comes to caring for our natural environment. We also want to make sure we gather feedback from our Aboriginal community. This is a significant cultural site and we value and respect their feedback and the influence they will have on the final outcome.
Have you consulted with the Aboriginal community?
We know this site is of major significance to our local Aboriginal community, and in particular to Aboriginal women. We have had ongoing conversations with a number of Aboriginal representatives as we have worked through the development of this draft Plan of Management. Our engagement with our Aboriginal community representatives won’t end here. We will continue to talk, consult and hear their thoughts and feedback throughout this process.
Will there be a gondola?
The draft Plan of Management isn’t about deciding on future uses of this site, it’s about setting out an agreed direction on how it will be managed into future. Any proposal for initiatives or activities such as a gondola ride would need to meet the rules set out in the Plan of Management and require further consultation before they could be approved to go ahead.
What about mountain biking?
There is currently a lot of mountain biking in the escarpment. Council is working with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to develop a Mountain Biking Strategy for the Illawarra Escarpment. This strategy will be on public exhibition from 30 October until 10 December 2018. For more information and details go to www.environment.nsw.gov.au/
What about walking tracks and pathways?
Landslips and slope instability has led to the closure of the Five Islands Lookout and parts of walking tracks in the adjacent Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area. The walking tracks below the Summit Park are the responsibility of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The draft Plan of Management provides for the upgrade of the walking tracks and lookouts on the Summit Park.
Will the container food option stay?
The draft Plan of Management suggests that a demountable or permanent structure may be erected however, there are no plans to remove the kiosk in the short term. Any future structure will be designed appropriately for the natural character of the Summit Park.
How can I have my say or get more information?
There is a range of ways to find out more or have your say:
Recognising the cultural significance of the site, Aboriginal community members are invited to meet with on 14 November 4-5.30pm at Wollongong Library Theatrette.
A general information session will be held on 24 November 10-12pm at Mt Keira Summit Park.
A public meeting will be held regarding the POM on 21 November 6pm at Level 9 Function Room Council Administration building
Contact the Engagement Team on 4227 7060