THE newly adopted Jones Beach/Cathedral Rocks management plan will seek to address issues such as weeds and use of illegal staircases on popular community-owned land at the reserves.
In February 2013, council resolved to prepare a revised plan of management for Jones Beach and Cathedral Rocks, Kiama Downs.
During the past 18 months a revised draft plan of management has been developed.
The main issues arising from the plan of management review process and submissions included sand dune vegetation, other vegetation (non-dune areas), coastal walk around the Cathedral Rocks headland, cliff edge vegetation buffer Cathedral Rocks headland, Landcare group formation, access steps constructed in the public reserve and maintenance of the reserve by adjoining owners.
The plan combines the current individual plans for Jones Beach and Cathedral Rocks.
The area has reportedly been rife with instances of tree vandalism and illegal vegetation removal, and has many stairways built from beachfront homes across community land.
While these structures are unauthorised, many were in place before plans of management for the area were created.
‘‘Previously constructed access steps through the reserve are identified in the POM to be upgraded to a specification to make them safe for use to minimise risk exposure and liability for council,’’ council’s report said.
‘‘The revised Plan of Management seeks to take a more proactive approach to dune vegetation management in the future, with the formation of a Landcare group a critical component.’’
Mayor Brian Petschler was pleased the endorsement followed 18 months’ worth of planning and public consultation.
“We want to move forward and get a Landcare group set up out there with volunteers, and then start bringing back the areas of the reserve that have been over-run with lantana and other non-local weeds,’’ he said.
‘‘We were very concerned when we started because there were a number of illegal staircases, which we will bring into the plan of management in a way which enables them to be maintained safely and to be of general use, not just for particular people.
‘‘We’ve taken a couple of the really dangerous ones out.”