Site feasibility the issue

Accessible but environmentally very sensitive.
Accessible but environmentally very sensitive.

THE NSW Lands and Property Management Authority says it did not make any commitment to undertake a feasibility study into a proposed tidal swimming facility at Urunga.

Yesterday a spokesman for Tony Kelly, NSW Minister for Lands and Planning, said at the December 16 meeting between his department, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Bellingen Shire Council and Urunga community representatives, LPMA agreed to progress a foreshore strategy for the area.

“A strategy would, among other things, identify some possible sites for a swimming facility,” the spokesman said.

“It would then be up to council to determine whether those sites were feasible.”

He said the council was advised to lodge applications with the DECCW for dollar-for-dollar match funding under the Coast and Estuary Program for any feasibility studies.

Known locally as ‘Golden Ponds’, the Sea Lido is where many of the town’s older residents come for a swim, some daily.

Long-time Urunga residents, Roy and Pauline Prior, are strong supporters of keeping the old site, mainly because of the ease of access.

“It’s wonderful here because you can park so close – for young families with children and prams, it makes things very easy,” Mrs Prior said.

A few hundred metres north, just behind the Morgo St Reserve Sound Shell, is the site of an alternative proposal, which has no adjacent parking and a nearby stormwater outlet.

Back at the Sea Lido, the presence of Urunga lagoon and mangrove swamps make it extremely sensitive environmentally.

Bellinger Landcare president Ross Macleay said the lagoon supported diverse bird and plant ecologies. He said with the constant movement of marine sand from the mouth of the river, dealing with siltation would be an ongoing maintenance issue.

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