Have your say by Jan 5 – Closure of the Esplanade – Chili Beach – Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park

Chili Beach

Chili Beach

NOTE: We’ve closed the petition as we had to have all communication to DERM by 5pm Jan 5th.

Thank you to the people who signed and I’m sure emails direct to the member (Lorinda.Morrissey@derm.qld.gov.au) after the close date can’t hurt.

 

Have your say by 5pm Jan 5 on the proposal for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to close the ‘Esplanade as Road’ for Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park CYPAL which includes Chili Beach. (Chilli Beach)

The QPWS will be able to remove the iconic Coconut Trees that line the beach. The trees are part of the history of the area and are part of the beauty and special character of Chili Beach. Nearby islands have had esplanades closed despite objections from Cook Shire and their Coconut trees have been removed. This is also of concern as coconuts can be a lifeline to stranded seafarers.

QPWS will also be able to restrict vehicle access to the area in front of the Chili Beach Camping Area and restrict marine vessel access to the National Park shoreline.

Residents of the area – Portland Roads, Weymouth Bay and Lockhart River are concerned and have only been given until Jan 5 to respond. Portland Roads and Weymouth Bay have a very low population with some 20-30 residents, they have created a petition but would like to include the many travellers who visit in the dry season.

Here are the notices of intention to close the esplanades as road and our letter to the minister

Notice lot 6 DP241419.pdf

Notice lot 8 DP241421.pdf

Download letter of Petition ref 2005/004670 to DERM from the landowners, residents and interested parties of the Portland Roads, Packers Bay, Pascoe River, Restoration Island, Chili Beach and adjoining areas.

Lynda Morrissey
Department of Environment and Resource Management
Level2, William McCormack Pl
PO Box 2066
Cairns 4870

File reference: 2005/004670

Community Objection to Application for Permanent Closure of Road

DP241419 and DP241421

Being made under section 100 of the Land Act 1994.

This objection to permanent closure of road is regarding areas of about 43.7ha of esplanade abutting the north-eastern boundary of lot 46 on NPW712 and shown as area of closed road on DP241419 and about 47.4ha of esplanade abutting the south-eastern boundary of lot 46 on NPW712 and shown as area of closed road on DP241421.

This objection is submitted on behalf of landowners, residents and interested parties of the Portland Roads, Packers Bay, Pascoe River, Restoration Island, Chili Beach and adjoining areas whose details are listed as Attachment A. This objection letter is available for access under the RTI act without consultation.

This objection is part of the wider concern that if the road is closed, it will be the first step to include said ‘esplanade as road’ areas into the adjoining state land (NP) whose policies and practices differ markedly  to that which is current; a public right to use the esplanade.

Following the due process of “public notices and appropriate enquiries about closure”, it is also of concern when, DERM, the applicant for the road closure, also provides the assessments and advices on the decision to the minister (DERM). There is no decisional transparency for our community when DERM is advocate, judge, and jury on the road closure.

This objection is consistent with the Land act 1994 section 101(3)

By definition:- Roads

An area of land, whether surveyed or not, dedicated, notified or declared to be a road for public use, the term “road” includes esplanades, reserves for esplanades, pathways, thoroughfare or track. A “road” does not need to be constructed as a pre-requisite to dedication to public use.

The road is an integral part of our community.

Our community objects to the road closure:

  • The road (esplanade) ensures ongoing access
  • Historical access
  • Lawful public access
  • Connectivity for locals
  • The ownership of the land within the road is already vested in the state and local government has trustee management over public use.

The road (esplanade) ensures ongoing access

The need for ongoing, full and unrestricted, access for gazetted public use needs to be protected not only for current uses but for potential uses.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Protection from any land use or tenure changes on adjoining lands.
  • Current Land uses on adjoining land which are not that of a road for public use
  • Access to the coast line regardless of the tide
  • An alternative access to the constructed road network

 Historical Access

  • The history of use of this declared road predates the establishment of the adjoining National Park and it continues to be used as gazetted.
  • This road/esplanade has been used as the land access point to access safe mother shipping anchorages in the monsoon season and in times of adverse weather. Utilizing the natural protective features of both Cape Griffith and Restoration Island requires access to the full length of Chili Beach.
  • Use of this road as a motorised thoroughfare for direct access the mouth of Chili Creek, as the old local tracks, not gazetted, via Portland Roads road through NP were closed by QPWS.
  • Use of the esplanade to walk and exercise domestic pets as permitted under local government bylaws and not permitted by QPWS in the adjoining area.
  • Access by public to safely launch small craft at any point off the beach.
  • Conduct social functions and gatherings as permitted under council bylaws on the esplanade.
  • Use of the esplanade to scavenge or “beach comb”

Lawful Public Access

  • Under the current tenure the ‘esplanade as road’ provides lawful public access for all to the waterfront, regardless of tide.
  • Lawful public access is for lawful activities and offers protections and commitments for those using this area for public use and from those who try to restrict its use.  Any unlawful activities are issues for local and state law enforcers in this state owned, local government controlled asset. Rangers could be authorised by council to ensure local government compliance in jointly managed areas.
  •  Lawful pursuits, such as possible extractive industries would need to have permits granted to operate. As these esplanades are adjoining both a national park and the GBR, both state and federal approvals would be required. Neither DERM nor EPBC would issue environmental licences to operate from this location (QPWS are well aware of this considering their current application for a riverine sand extraction stalled under Wild Rivers legislation). Therefore the foreshores are already protected from these types of activities/developments.
  • Access to current lawful pursuits such as land based licensed commercial fishing.
  • Lawful right to use the esplanade to access a marine vessel or be accessed by a marine vessel, moored or otherwise at any point along the esplanade and regardless of tide.

Connectivity for locals

  • With historical vehicular access tracks to Chili creek now restricted or blocked by QPWS, the only vehicular access to the mouth of Chili creek is along the full length of the esplanade.

Ownership of the land is already vested with the state

  • The state owns the existing land title; it is gazetted as a road/esplanade for public use.
  • QPWS has stated in correspondence, that including foreshores in national parks allows public access, to allow no net loss of access to foreshores; the existing esplanade already gazettes public access to the foreshores at this location therefore is already consistent with state policy. The opposite could be put; that QPWS restricts access to the public in areas under their management as demonstrated through and not limited to park signage, restrictions, conditions of entry and the authority given to rangers to ensure adherence to policy under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. History is not a good judge for the QPWS in allowing public access.
  • QPWS, in correspondence states that, camping is not legally permitted in a road. It is currently permitted and is the situation, with designated camping on the esplanade/foreshore; designated camping is permitted under the authorization and agreement of the trustee of the esplanade, Cook Shire Council.
  • QPWS in correspondence state; rangers need the authority under Nature Conservation Act 1992, to manage public activities in the foreshore. Authority of rangers for management of lands under the Nature conservation act 1992 includes all policies and practices of QPWS in how they manage public activities and is not necessarily consistent with public use rights of a road. Matters of illegal conduct or noncompliance of local government by laws observed by rangers should be reported by rangers to the relevant authorities. Local government could allow an extension of their authority into designated camping areas within the esplanade.
  • QPWS already has a relationship with trustee, Cook Shire, the two parties could formalise a management agreement that would preserve the tenure and allow an outcome suitable to all parties and the owners of the land, we, the people.

In conclusion, our community objects to the road closure and requests the tenure of DP241419 and DP241421 remain as Esplanade as Road. Further, our community requires an itemised response to all points raised as part of the minister’s decision on this matter.

Regards

Portland Roads and surrounding Communities

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