Council staff sense concern about track closures
A public consultation about apparently trivial track closures in council bushland reserves on the Peninsula appears to have been caused by Central Coast Council staff perceptions of "general community concern in relation to track closures in other natural reserves".
At least some of the tracks are already effectively closed or overgrown, according to bushcare volunteers.
A Council media statement, issued in response to an inquiry from Peninsula News, said: "The current consultation was instigated following the release of funds by the Protection of the Environment Trust Management Committee, held in the Trust for Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland."
The funds would be used "to undertake works including access control, rubbish removal, weed control and bush regeneration, community awareness and education and preparing management plans in the 2021/22 financial year".
"The works were identified based on the high priority management actions detailed in the Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland Endangered Ecological Community Restoration and Rehabilitation Management Plan.
"This plan was prepared in 2007 to identify and prioritise the management actions to restore the community.
"A link to a copy of the management plan is provided on the Your Voice Our Coast page.
"Council undertook a track audit in November, considering a number of factors to determine which tracks should be closed to best rehabilitate and manage Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland.
"Factors considered included track usage for recreation and land management (including site management plans), track age (recently created or historical), track alignment relative to other tracks (i.e. duplicate), evidence of unauthorised activities (such as tree vandalism, dumping, unauthorised structures, or arson) along a track, total clearing footprint of a track and Council's capacity to close tracks and maintain areas while regenerating in the current financial year.
"In December, Council's project officer also met with the Burrawang Bushcare and Ettymalong Creek Landcare groups to discuss which tracks they use or would like to see closed.
"Their feedback has been incorporated into the plans.
"Wider community feedback is also now being sought, acknowledging general community concern in relation to track closures in other natural reserves."
Announcing the consultation, Council administrator Mr Rik Hart said the remnant vegetation on the coastal sands of Umina Woy Woy Peninsula was "unique and worthy of protection".
"We need to strike a balance between access routes for the community and ensuring this ecological community is looked after," Mr Hart said.
"In addition to the works that Council undertakes, local environmental volunteers also dedicate their time to help maintain and preserve the woodland to ensure the unique flora and fauna is around for future generations.
"I invite locals and other interested residents to participate in the consultation and share your thoughts on the management of these areas and the plans to consolidate informal tracks".
Media statement, 29 Mar 2022
Sue Davies, Central Coast Council