Historian condemns Ward for ‘interfering’ in Blowhole Point talks

Graham Mackie at Kiama Harbour in 2014. Photo: GEORGIA MATTS
Graham Mackie at Kiama Harbour in 2014. Photo: GEORGIA MATTS

Historian and former Kiama resident Graham Mackie has condemned Kiama MP Gareth Ward for “interfering” in preliminary discussions about development at Blowhole Point.

Mr Mackie, who has written history books about Blowhole Point, would like to see the Kiama Harbour Cabins relocated.

In a letter to Mr Ward and NSW Lands Minister Paul Toole, Mr Mackie penned his frustrations.

“It is unfortunate that as the Member for Kiama you will not be supporting the interests of the hundreds of thousands that are entitled to enjoy all of Blowhole Point but are currently thwarted by cabins,” Mr Mackie said.

“I have read in detail the comprehensive Kiama Tourism Opportunities Plan 2018 report prepared for council by consultants expert in tourism planning.

“It needs to be given a properly-considered hearing so as to plan Kiama’s tourism future, without rushing to press as you (Mr Ward) and Mayor (Mark) Honey have in an attempt to veto discussion…

“Crs Matt Brown and Warren Steel are council’s representatives on the Tourism Advisory Committee and they should be allowed to deal with the recommendations of the report without further interference.”

Mr Mackie said he supported Cr Brown’s view that the cabins could be moved to Jerrara Dam.

“Cabins need to be removed to allow for a better, fairer and potentially more interesting use for visiting tourists and Kiama and district ratepayers,” Mr Mackie said.

Gareth Ward. Picture: Georgia Matts

Gareth Ward. Picture: Georgia Matts

Mr Ward dismissed Mr Mackie’s statement.

“Graham Mackie is a resident of Western Australia,” he said.

“I will stand alongside the overwhelming majority of locals who are fed up with overdevelopment in our community.”

On Wednesday, Mr Ward tabled a Notice of Motion in the NSW Parliament opposing overdevelopment at Blowhole Point.

Mr Ward said the motion reflects the strong support he is continuing to receive for his petition opposing the overdevelopment of Blowhole Point and the overdevelopment of villages in the electorate.

“The community have spoken loud and clear – we do not want to see the overdevelopment of Blowhole Point,” Mr Ward said.

“I have been astounded with the number of people who have visited my website or my office to sign our petition and register their strong opposition to the damage the development of Blowhole Point would do.

“Because this is Crown Land and in the ownership of all of the people of our community and our state, I will not allow development that detracts from the natural beauty of this asset that brings hundreds of thousands of people to our community each and every year.”

Mr Ward gave notice of the following motion on the floor of the Legislative Assembly today:

1.    Notes that Kiama Council has released the Tourism Opportunities Plan;

2.    Notes recent public comments that support the removal of cabins and promote the overdevelopment of blowhole point;

3.    Oppose any plan for the overdevelopment of blowhole point;

4.    Recognises the importance of blowhole point as a tourism icon; and

5.    Oppose the overdevelopment of our villages that detract from our natural environment and village character.