Jumping in the deep end: Stunning plans for quarry
Plans to convert Bexhill Quarry into a stunning parkland have taken a vital step forward with a presentation made to Lismore councillors last week.
Nick Alderson, from the Bexhill Quarry Committee said the aim of presenting the plan to councillors at their weekly briefing session on Tuesday was to seek the council's endorsement going forward.
Mr Alderson said community support, as well as the support of community leaders - Lismore council and State and Federal politicians - was needed to make a successful presentation to the NSW Lands Department to relinquish the land for the purpose of a parkland.
The committee would ask the department to transfer the ownership of the land to a local authorised trustee, such as the council, who would then decide how the land could be used by the community management group.
Mr Alderson and two other committee members spoke to councillors about the benefits of transforming the site, which he said was "unauthorised and unmanaged", but very popular with swimmers despite being closed to the public.
"The site has gone crazy this summer," he said.
"There have been rumblings in the community - people getting miffed about cars parking everywhere and turning across double lines, the noise and the rubbish left behind."
He said this was a way to not only provide a great asset for the community, but also provided a solution to mitigating the troublesome site.
Mr Alderson said the problems they would need to overcome to create the parkland - unstable cliff face, water quality and public safety - were problems the site faced now, but they were unmanaged.
He said the council was shown examples of other sites where a similar project had been undertaken with great success.
"This is what should be done with ex-mining sites," he said. "They should be repurposed and not left in a degraded state."
Mr Alderson, a landscape architect, was passionate about getting people out into nature, and saw the parklands, coupled with the rail trail, as an opportunity to increase community recreation.
"This offers a fantastic lifestyle," he said, describing how a family, once the parkland and rail trail was complete, could jump on their bikes in Lismore and cycle to the parklands for a swim and a coffee, enjoying the beautiful landscape along the way.
The committee now plans to lodge a formal submission requesting Lismore City Council endorse the project.
Mr Alderson said the committee was not asking the council to fund the project, just offer support with submissions at this stage, and would apply for grants and funding from a variety of sources at a later date.
The committee will also engage in broader community consultation, including information days and publicity, to gauge community support for the project.
Mr Alderson said while the councillors did not give a "ringing endorsement"of the project at the briefing, after viewing the committee's comprehensive plans for the site, he believed they were warming to the idea.