It ‘s hard to believe more than a year has passed since almost a hundred of us met at the Wooli Community Hall and formed the Coastal Communities Protection Alliance. At that meeting, environmental activist Aidan Ricketts talked to us about how a community facing a problem could make a difference by applying intelligence, research, determination and willingness to work with other parties and each other.
In the 12 months since CCPA was formed:
- We have become an official incorporated body with well over 100 paid-up members, and this number is steadily growing.
- We ‘ve had steady media coverage and interest from Daily Examiner and Clarence Valley Review. Our president Bruce Bird has been interviewed on radio and television. GetUp! publicised our campaign and collected over 200 signatures for our petition, which now has over 1500 signatures.
- We formed liaisons with several other hotspots, including Belongil, Old Bar,LakeCathie and Gosford-Wyong and have regular communication with them.
- We hosted a meeting with Dr Shaw Mead from coastal research consultancy ASR and now have a preliminary report on which to base our approach to research processes.
- Also at this meeting, Catherine Cusack, then Shadow Minister for the Environment, expressed staunch support for rejection of the â€œplanned retreatâ€ policy proposed in the Coastal Zone Management Plan. Although she was ultimately not given the ministerial position, her support was important to us and was a great morale booster.
- Kristin Stubbins has met with the new Minister Robyn Parker and presented our position on changes to the coastal zone management plan.
- We have presented a CCPA position paper to Clarence Valley Council management staff outlining our concerns and have had several meetings with them to discuss changes to the draft CZMP.
- Wooli Art Group was formed and had a resoundingly successful debut exhibition in the hotel. A generous donation was made to CCPA from the several sales of artworks.
- Mike and Gail Koolen put a coffee machine in the Bowling Club andMain Streetshop, with proceeds from sales going to CCPA much appreciated.
- Wooli was battered by possibly the most violent storm experienced by most residents a mini-tornedo damaged many trees and buildings in north Wooli. The beach withstood some severe weather and high tides in the past year and looks great
- Goanna Pulling finally got off the ground on October 2. CCPA was there, displaying our banner, enrolling new members, talking to people, selling raffle tickets, facepainting, etc. Thanks to all volunteers.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
- We ‘ll continue working with CVC to move the CZMP away from planned retreat towards a well-researched beach protection strategy. CCPA delegates had a positive meeting with CVC management on November 4.
- We hope to start crucial research into the processes shaping Wooli beach. CCPA member, professional surveyor Brian Saye, will instigate survey measurements from Wilsons Headland to Jones Beach to give us an accurate baseline from which to measure quarterly changes.
- Kristin Stubbins and her team will continue to press Minister Parker and her department for research funding and legislative change to support beach protection.
- CCPA President Bruce Bird will lead our delegation to a Coastal Protection workshop hosted by the Department of Environment and Heritage at Ballina on November 16. We and several other hotspots will get a chance to put our concerns and recommendations directly to state and local government.
The revitalised Dunecare group, under the guidance of Len O ‘Shea and Dave Richardson, is powering ahead. Workshops have been organised and construction of sandtraps is proceeding. They have organised funding for materials and volunteers for working bees are much appreciated to keep this important work going.
Sad to hear that Basil Jefferies suffered injuries in a fall from a ladder during October. He has a long stint in hospital ahead of him, but from all reports is in good spirits and feeling quite philosophical about it. He and Beverly have been supporters of CCPA since the beginning and we wish Basil a speedy recovery.
Margy Hewetson and Russ Stevens have bought the Wooli real estate and rental agency, now Clarence Holiday Coast Real Estate. Recent sales inKendall StreetandMain Street, andWaratah Crescentin Minnie, have been very encouraging. Prior to this, there hadn ‘t been any property sales since March 2010. Margy says, â€œthat a property right on the dunes sold just after CVC withdrew â€œplanned retreatâ€ indicates significant returning confidence in Wooli ‘s future. We ‘ve had a steady stream of enquiries for all types of properties including vacant land and more enquiries about absolute beachfront properties than we expected, given the GFC and the council ‘s CZMP. It ‘s good to see these positive signs.â€
PROTECT WOOLI WEBSITE
Our website is currently down due to ongoing technical difficulties. A new one is under construction, still to be called â€œprotectwooliâ€ and containing the original posts plus updated CCPA information. An email will go out when it finally hits the waves.