Bays group opposes demolition of historic boatshed
The caretaker of a historic boatshed at Horsfield Bay has gained the support of the Bays Community Group in his efforts to save the building from demolition.
A demolition order has been issued by NSW Crown Lands following storm damage a year ago.
Department of Planning, Industry and Environment media manager Mr Scott Tucker said: "The boatshed has been held by the holder under a Crown licence since October 20, 1960.
"The licence conditions have not changed and have always stated that the boatshed should be removed at the end of its life.
"An insurance assessment obtained by the licence holder has found that the storm damage left the structure beyond repair and it needs to be demolished.
"It is also creating a safety hazard.
"Once cleaned up, the site will be restored to public open space for the safe enjoyment of the community," Mr Tucker said.
However, caretaker Mr Stan McDonald said: "Melita Boatshed is a landmark and must be preserved.
"It has been an icon in the Brisbane Waters area for a century and is an important part of the area's history," he said.
The Bays Community Group president Ms Cathy Gleeson agreed, saying the potential loss of the boatshed would be a crippling blow to the rich heritage of The Bays.
"The Melita Boatshed has been an integral part of the history of The Bays and, in particular, Horsfield Bay.
"It is over 100 years old and is the last of several sheds that were built along the foreshore of Horsfield Bay," Ms Gleeson said.
"The Bays Community Group has, over the past 25 years, supported and asked for assistance to have the Melita acknowledged by Gosford Council (at the time) as a heritage item and to be preserved and given financial support to help be maintained.
"Unfortunately, this has not been forthcoming, and as such the boatshed has suffered.
"The Bays Community Group, on behalf of residents of The Bays, is asking for assistance and support to have this important part of our local history given as a matter of urgency, financial assistance by way of heritage listing by Central Coast Council and for its historical significance to be recognised and preserved so that it can be restored and remain an integral part of our area's history," Ms Gleeson said.
Mr McDonald said the boatshed suffered extensive damage following a severe storm in November last year which saw it dislodged from its foundations and partially submerged in the bay.
He said that, after a lengthy insurance claim that lasted 12 months, he was informed the boatshed had been approved for repair, but the Crown Lands department had since stepped in, claiming the boatshed's current state had made it a safety hazard and that it must be demolished.
Mr McDonald said he was aware the foundation of the boatshed could not be saved but argued that the remainder of the structure could be preserved to retain the culturally and historically important structure.
He said he had been told that following further assessments of the site he could have just 60 days to get the boatshed demolished and is now in the process of launching a submission to Crown Lands calling for the decision to demolish Melita Boatshed to be overturned.
Mr McDonald said he had discussed the situation with Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch and was encouraging concerned residents to write to NSW Crown Lands seeking the preservation of the boatshed.
Email, 7 Nov 2019
Interview (Dilon Luke), 18 Nov 2019
Stan McDonald, Horsfield Bay
Media statement, 18 Nov 2019
Cathy Gleeson, The Bays Community Group
Media statement, 19 Nov 2019
Scott Tucker, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment