Darkum Creek, Woolgoolga Lake, Willis Creek and Hearnes Lake Estuaries are significant coastal features and Council wants to know what locals value about these waterways so we can help make them even better.
This community feedback will form an important part of a new Coastal Management Program (CMP), which has been funded through a grant from the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment. You can provide your feedback via an online survey which is now open.
“The beauty of our local environment is a key part of what draws people to our region,” said Marcy Mills, Council’s Section Leader Local Planning (Acting). “By putting well-researched strategies in place to protect important coastal features, we are not only safeguarding our environment, but also helping maintain the attractions that bring people here to live or visit.”
Council is working with specialist coastal management consultants on a scoping study, which will include key stakeholder, as well as wider community consultation.
The Coastal Management Program will consider estuary and catchment health issues such as bank erosion, water quality, catchment and sediment inflows, as well as recreational opportunities.
“The key to ensuring the continued health and protection of these estuaries is to achieve a balance between the community’s needs and the environment’s – and that’s what the Management Program will seek to do,” added Ms Mills. “We’d like anybody who is interested in, values, or lives near these estuaries to have a say in their management. Of particular interest is knowing what people think is great about the estuaries and what would make them even better and also what concerns do locals have and how could the overall management of the estuaries and catchment be improved?”
Under a new Coastal Management Framework required by the NSW Government, Stage One of the CMP process is to conduct a scoping study, which outlines the strategic context, reviews current management arrangements and sets forward a path for carrying out the Program.
This Scoping Study Stage is the first of five in the CMP process. Stages Two to Four will involve identifying threats and pressures impacting on the estuaries and developing targeted management actions to address them. Stage Five will focus on implementation. It is expected that the CMP will be finalised in 2021.
The community will be asked for further involvement throughout Stages Two to Four through community drop-in sessions, which are set to take place in 2021.
The survey is open until April 4 2020. The survey can be taken anonymously, or if you wish to supply your contact details, we can keep you informed as the project progresses.