Newsletter – May / June / July 23


10 MAY 2023


Congratulations to the Palm Beach Whale Beach Association (PBWBA) on another wonderful year, marked by your AGM on 9 May 2023. The PBWBA is Pittwater’s oldest resident association with its antecedents forming in 1918. Pittwater is renowned for its active and considered resident associations. Over the past year, PBWBA has proactively advocated for its community regarding developments, conservation zones, the future of Barrenjoey Headland and its heritage buildings, and more. I thank the PBWBA and congratulate the elected executive: President, Dr Richard West your dedicated leadership has held the PBWBA in good stead; Vice President, Frank Bush your ability to distil complex issues into easy-to-understand submissions makes the PBWBA a formidable force; Vice President, Virginia Christensen your long-term knowledge of the region and commitment to helping small businesses rounds out the skill set of the Executive well; Treasurer, Douglas Maher often a thankless task, your commitment makes sure all runs well; and Secretary Robert MacKinnon your insightful works on the history of the region are a drawcard for many. Thank you also to the incoming and outgoing committee – too numerous to name in the brief time I have. Here’s to a great 2023/24!

– Rory Amon


We are very concerned to learn that Penny Sharpe, as the Minister responsible for NSW National Parks, appears to be wavering in her commitment against commercialisation of the heritage listed Lighthouse Keepers’ cottages on Barrenjoey Headland Palm Beach.

Rory Amon, Member for Pittwater tabled a question to Minister Sharpe on May 9th 2023:

In relation to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Lion Island, Long Island and Spectacle Island Nature Reserves Draft Plan of Management:
(1) When is the Plan of Management due to be finalised?
(2) Will the proposal for the permissibility of short-stay visitor accommodation at Barrenjoey Headland be removed from the Plan of Management prior to it being finalised?
(3) Will the proposal for the permissibility of short-stay visitor accommodation at any other locations covered by the Plan of Management also be removed prior to the document being finalised?

The answer received on June 13th 2023 was
(1) A new plan of management for Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is being finalised for the Minister for the Environment and Heritage’s consideration in the near future.
(2) The heritage value of buildings at Barrenjoey Head and other locations within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park will continue to be protected by any new plan of management. Management options for heritage buildings will be considered by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage when reviewing the final plan of management.
(3) See response to Question 2.

This ambiguous response has renewed concerns in the Community that Barrenjoey Lighthouse Keepers Cottages may be removed from public hands for private users.

Just as we have done in the past, the PBWBA will continue to campaign against providing paid accommodation on Barrenjoey Headland. In doing so, we emphasise that this is not a NIMBY response. Rather, we stand with the people who make over 250,000 visitations to this site annually, and the generations after them who’ll benefit from the buildings being used for cultural purposes honouring the indigenous, colonial and natural history that abounds in this unique area.
In so doing, we urge Ms Sharpe to the stand by the principles she espoused at our January rally, and remind her of the motion that passed unanimously on the day to:

  • Remove any reference to “accommodation” in relation to Barrenjoey Headland;
  • Alter the PoM to prevent NPWS or the Minister making Barrenjoey Headland available for any purpose which might relate to accommodation;
  • To protect and preserve the natural, cultural, historic and built environments of the headland in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Act;
  • Encourage daytime use of assets on the headland for cultural, educational, artistic and informational use;
  • To prepare a separate PoM specifically for Barrenjoey Headland.

We have requested a meeting with Ms Sharpe to discuss the matter but have not received a response.


Councillor Sue Heins (Curl Curl ward) was elected Mayor in May as Michael Reagan stepped down from the position. He remains as a Councillor. Mayor Heins will hold the position until the next Mayoral election in September 2023. Mayor Heins has served as a Councillor since 2012 on both Warringah and Northern Beaches Council and has served as Deputy Mayor for three terms.
Some of the PBWBA Committee had a very productive meeting with Mayor Heins on 19 June to discuss our priorities, thoughts and concerns for Palm Beach and Whale Beach.

Rory Amon stepped down as Councillor for Pittwater Ward to focus on his position as the newly elected Member for Pittwater. The NSW Electoral Commission conducted a countback to fill the Council vacancy and Karina Page, who was second on the Liberal ticket, is now the third Pittwater Ward Councillor joining Cr Miranda Korzy and Cr Michael Gencher. Ms Page was a councillor on the former Manly Council from 1996 – 2004.

Scott Phillips has been appointed as the new Northern Beaches Council CEO replacing Ray Brownlee who has returned to Randwick Council. Mr Phillips has 30 years experience in both local and state govt sectors and is leaving the role of Chief Executive of Local Govt NSW. Previously he was general manager of Sutherland and Hornsby Shire Councils. He begins at NBC on 24th July under a 5 year contract.

We are looking forward to meeting Ms Page and Mr Phillips as soon as possible.
The next Council Meeting will be held on 1 August 2023 at 6pm, at Dee Why Civic Centre. It can be viewed live (or later) on the Council Website.


We have requested that no filming for film and TV productions be undertaken on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays in Gov Phillip Park. Recently there have been several major projects undertaken at those times which have made areas of the park, the beach and parking spaces unavailable to the public. We believe this is unacceptable at these peak visitation times. Filming should be undertaken Mon to Fri only.
We have also requested that the Community be notified when filming of large productions is to take place by displaying detailed notices at both entrances to the park.


The recent funding/contracts for weed control at Governor Phillip Park concluded at the end of the financial year. The new contracts will be commencing in late July / early August.

Works will continue at the entry points in the south of the Park controlling asparagus fern and other weeds (approximately two-thirds of grant funding) [see Area 1 on the map]

There will also be a focus on controlling the last remaining bitou bush in Governor Phillip Park located to the north of the reserve that adjoins the National Park (approximately one third of the grant funding) [ See Area 2 on the map]

Council will also be expending Council funds on the beachfront (between 7 and 11 Ocean Road) controlling a variety of weeds including lantana, cassia, turkey rhubarb and asthma weed. [Area 3 on the map]


One small step, in fact quite a few, as seen in GPP today. These new steps link North Palm Beach Surf Club and the lower part of the park and was previously a heavily eroded, sandy track, difficult to negotiate for many. A welcome improvement!


The Northern Beaches Council is preparing a Conservation Zones Review of the LGA for the Dept of Planning.
Earlier in March, Council met with the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) to agree in principle to a Pilot Project to further investigate the methodology and mapping used in Council’s approach to the Conservation Zones Review and to explore possible changes in response to community and stakeholder feedback. Over three hundred submissions to Council raised concerns with the accuracy of mapping,
The process is slow and complex. It is presumed that other Councils in NSW are “watching and waiting” to see the outcome. NBC are negotiating and discussing with Planning the criteria used.
An enormous amount of work has gone into submissions prepared by local Community groups including PBWBA .
Once Council reaches agreement with the DPE on a revised methodology, additional mapping will be undertaken, and site inspections will be arranged for landowners whose submissions on mapping have not been resolved.
Council is aiming to complete all relevant work by early September and bring a draft LEP and DCP to Council by the end of 2023. These documents will then be put on public exhibition, with feedback being sought from the community in 2024.


A DA has been received by Council for the demolition of the existing dwelling known as “Pegasus” and the construction of a new dwelling at 18 Rock Bath Rd. The site is one of the most iconic in Palm Beach, highly visible from the beach and ocean, located on the eastern side of the headland above Palm Beach pool, beside the public pathway to the pool and as such deserves careful assessment.
Documents can be viewed here: DA 18 Rock Bath Rd Palm Beach
Submissions close 28th July.


Thank you to the approximately 40 people who attended the “Traffic and Parking in Palm Beach & Whale Beach” coffee meeting in June. The guest speaker was Phil Devon, Manager, Traffic Dept, Northern Beaches Council.
It was a lively meeting and many questions and comments were made regarding problematic parking and traffic flow on narrow roads including faded line markings, managing vehicles and trucks associated with building developments, impassable roads and footpaths, deterioration of road surface and road subsidence, encroachments on public verge, speeding, hoons and shortage of compliance officers.

We believe the parking and traffic problems in our area need to be viewed holistically and a plan developed to address issues – for example renewing line markings – in a whole of area approach, not in a piecemeal way.
A Local Traffic Management Scheme (LTMS) including a reduced speed limit (30km/h) for the eastern side of Barrenjoey Rd will be developed and funding allocated by Council for 2023/24 financial year. Design work is underway, to be followed by community consultation.
We continue to collect photos and details of areas of concern and liaise with Council to try to rectify the problems. We are waiting for follow up from the Traffic management team regarding our concerns and the LTMS plan.

“Hoons” continue to be of concern and regularly roar into Palm Beach and Whale Beach at night, driving dangerously and in incredible noisy vehicles. The member for Pittwater, Rory Amon, has called on the State Government to trial noise cameras in Pittwater, in particular Palm Beach and MaCarr’s Creek Rd.
Link to Rory Amon’s press release

Whale Beach Rd and Florida Rd is impassable at times and dangerous for pedestrians.


Despite working with Council, viewing plans and walking up and down Whale Beach Rd with Council officers many, many times over the last five years we have been advised that there is no money left from the State Govt grant received by NBC to complete – or even start – the project.
Council’s response to our question – WHY? – follows –
“The budget identified for the Coast Walk project through Whale Beach Road was based on the provision of a footpath and kerb and gutter only. As the engineering requirements and the scope of the project have progressively increased the construction cost estimates now far exceed the available budget. Grant funding that was included in the overall budget for the Coast Walk did not anticipate the inclusion of a wider upgrade to the road and drainage infrastructure of Whale Beach Road. In addition to the section of Coast Walk along Whale Beach Road, works are also yet to be completed between Newport and Avalon. Due to insufficient funds being available, remaining works on the Coast Walk will need to be prioritised. Some sections will need to be deferred to future works programs and additional funding sought.”

Council has advised that the priority is to complete the Newport to Avalon section.
We are shocked and disappointed at the news that, after 5 years of preliminary work, investigation and discussion, the Whale Beach section will not proceed at present. We have requested a meeting with the new CEO, Scott Phillips, to discuss the matter as soon as possible.


Work commenced in late May. This project is funded by the NSW Government through the Get NSW Active Program 2022/23.
For details please view this link. Revised footpath plan April 2023


Works will continue until Friday July 28th from 9.30am to 4pm. Reduced 40km speed limit, traffic control will be in place.


A suitable contractor has now been identified and Council expects to receive a quotation before the end of July.


Staff in Council’s Traffic Network team are currently working with TfNSW on pedestrian and vehicle safety options for this dangerous intersection.


To notify Council about potholes, road surfaces and edges on Council managed roads, please use the link below to log requests directly with Council. REPORT A POTHOLE – Council roads
For main (State) roads such as Barrenjoey Rd, Beach Rd and Ocean Rd (to Palm Beach Rd) please use this link Contact Transport for NSW | NSW Government



Council is currently seeking your feedback on a proposal to install eight more JOLT electric vehicle charging stations. Once installed, you will be able to charge your vehicle for free for up to 15 minutes in selected locations. They will be powered from 100% renewable sources and are Green Power accredited. Submissions close Sun 23rd July.

We support the proposal and further have suggested the installation of a charging station in Governor Phillip Park.
See our submission.


Council has recently partnered with Heart of the Nation to introduce 15 AEDs at transport hubs across the LGA. Funding for the AEDs has been provided through the ClubGRANTS program.

The two bus stops with AEDs closest to Palm/Whale Beach are at 345 Barrenjoey Road, Newport and B-Line terminus, Village Park, Mona Vale.

Council installs AEDs at Council facilities and welcomes a location request by email.
A list of the current Council AED locations is available via the below link.
Council locations list | Northern Beaches Council (
Please note there is one on the amenities block in Pittwater Park (north) near Palm Beach Wharf which needs to be added to the list. We have also requested an AED be installed on the northernmost amenities block of Gov Phillip Park. There is an AED on Barrenjoey Headland on an external wall of the cottages.


The Northern Beaches Local Strategic Planning Statement – Towards 2040 identified the need for a local character study to assist in the preparation of the new Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP). Tract Consultants were engaged to prepare a local character study based on community feedback from previous engagement work, site investigations, analysis of natural features, urban design and land use and the identification of important scenic and cultural landscapes in the LGA.

Local Character is defined as “The combination of built and natural, public and private environments which give a place its unique feel It is distinctive, differentiates one area from another and is often highly valued by the community”.
The current control mechanism (Pittwater 21 Development Control Plan) in Section A4 lists the definition of localities.
Palm Beach is currently listed under A4.12 as a unique locality.
Link: PittwaterDCP (
It designates the uniqueness of Palm Beach (and about half of Whale Beach).
Based on the latest study by Tract Consultants, 28 local character areas were identified, and draft statements subsequently prepared for preliminary consultation with key local community groups including PBWBA. Following a review of the feedback received from local community groups, the draft statements will be refined before being exhibited for public consultation.
Read our submission here.

In summary we believe:
· All Local Character Statements must be part of the LEP (for strength) and not the DCP.
· The Local Character Statements need to include:
*strong locality and character identifiers
*clear regulations which can force compliance and be able to be enforced
· There must be a commitment to comply with and enforce the specifications of the Local Character Statements.
· The Character Statements must be designed to preserve the unique features of the many different parts of the LGA not homogenise the region
· Palm Beach and Whale Beach must be defined as one unique conservation zone.
· The Current Local Character Statements as defined in the Pittwater 21 Development Control Plan should be reviewed in consultation with the PBWBA and the community for currency and relevance
· The reviewed and revised Pittwater 21 DCP Local Character Statements must be included in the new LEP



The Stormwater Design and Delivery Team is currently reviewing a final draft design report for repairs to the Whale Beach Stormwater Outlet. Once the preferred option is determined the design consultant will need approximately 5 weeks to finalise technical specifications and construction drawings. This is anticipated to be complete early July 2023, however staff will negotiate with the consultant to try and expedite the work, with procurement of a contractor to immediately follow.

The construction phase of the project is included in the 2023/24 Capital Works Delivery Program and it is anticipated to commence in the first quarter following engagement of a contractor.

On two occasions staff have had beach scraping and make safe works undertaken, including 15 March and 6 April 2023, following erosion of the beach around the outlet. Staff have arranged for some further beach scraping to be undertaken in the interim, to improve safety in the area.


Northern end of Whale Beach (near access stairs 265A Whale Beach Road). Council has finally – after 3 years – received connection approval for a beach shower from Sydney Water on 10 July, 2023. A works order will be issued by Council and should be installed prior to summer.



A meeting with Pittwater Community Groups and Council Officers was held in May.
Some of the issues discussed included: Coastal contamination by storm water, pollution, erosion of beaches and in Pittwater, irregular regulation of boating permits, potential risk of commercial accommodation in Pittwater, care of mangroves and other environmentally sensitive areas, amongst others.


  • Council has adopted some strategies, for example on pollution of North Avalon Creek near the mangroves, erosion on beaches and Pittwater.
  • Good to meet the Council staff designated to deal with the areas related to Risk and Strategies in this regard. Importantly, a staff designated to Climate change issues.
  • Willingness of Staff to communicate with local Associations and community members, although not being able to ensure prompt resolution of issues.


  • A general recognition that Council lacked the financial and human resources to effectively deal with matters of concern.
  • Long delays in tackling existing problems and uncertainty about other issues not on the top priority lists.
  • Complex web of government organisations responsible for different areas and at times, lack of regulations to deal with some issues, such as is the case with commercial houseboat/airbnb style ccommodation on the Pittwater waterway.
  • Uncertainty about possible repercussions of Climate Change in the future, some of them current, not only on Coastal management of Pittwater, but on the Northern Beaches overall.

Another meeting will be held in August.


According to NSW Police records there was a spate of thefts and break-ins in Palm Beach in May & June.
Incidents occurred in Barrenjoey Road, Ralston Road, Pacific Road, Bynya Road, Norma Road and Cynthea Rd and involved homes and vehicles. Please make sure you take appropriate measures to secure your property.


We are surprised and concerned to note that the tree canopy cover for Palm Beach is only 42% and Whale Beach is a meagre 36%. In an area of such significant natural beauty this is completely unacceptable.
The aim of the NBC Draft Tree Canopy Plan is to maintain and improve the tree canopy and prioritise actions in areas of high urban heat, socio-economic disadvantage, low canopy and in biodiversity corridors.
We would argue that, at minimum, maintaining and better yet significantly increasing tree canopy should be the focus in ALL areas of the LGA.

Read our submission here. 


– NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS)
QUESTION: In the event of bushfire or other disasters do you know where the designated “safe places” in Palm Beach and Whale Beach are located?
ANSWER: North Palm Beach Surf Club, Lucinda Park and Whale Beach Surf Club.
RFS has considered the risk to people and assets across the Northern Beaches to determine the most appropriate and effective way of managing that risk.
We have requested an extension of time in order to make an informed submission as the criteria upon which risk is assessed residential, economic, environmental, cultural or fuel load are not included in the paper and were not accessible on the Rural Fire Service website (at the time of printing this Newsletter) and without the criteria, no assessment of the policy is possible.
Bush Fire Management Plan Northern Beaches


The first unit is located at the Ebor Rd end of Mackay Rd and the second unit will be located at the Ralston Rd end. Volunteers are needed to join the team!
The Palm Beach CFU is a team of local residents who are concerned about the potential danger we are in by living so close to Mackay Reserve. We are supported by Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW). As a volunteer CFU member you will learn how to prepare yourself, your family, and your home ahead of the bushfire season. You will learn how to make informed decisions about whether to leave early or stay and defend your property when bushfires threaten.
Given the current extreme weather conditions being experienced in the northern hemisphere the importance of preparation for a long hot summer here cannot be underestimated.
For further information please contact Wendy Quinn on 0408483307


The draft Plan proposes a targeted focus on four strategic directions

  • Experience – explore and engage. There is something for everyone at the Library
  • Connection – Belonging and Pride. Libraries connect our community by showcasing our area’s stories and history.
  • Together – Partnerships and Collaboration. We will work together for our reading, learning and information needs.
  • Leadership – Excellence and Innovation. We will continue to invest in our people and innovation.
  • Your feedback on the draft Plan will help inform the final Library Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028. Submissions close Friday August 11th.


Would you like help navigating technology?
Tech Tables drop in
Visit “Tech Tables” for drop in technology help at Mona Vale Library Mondays 10am -11,30am.
This is a free service facilitated by volunteers. No bookings are required.
Simply bring your questions or your device and have a chat with the friendly library volunteers (subject to availability).


The changes made in Avalon Beach Village called “Streets as Shared Spaces” is a temporary trial funded through the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Streets as Shared Spaces program.
Council wants to hear what you think about the changes and if you’d like to keep them when the trial ends – please share your feedback in the survey. The survey is open throughout the trial period and closes on Sunday 1 October 2023
You can comment on things like loss of parking spaces, the new positions of the pedestrian crossings, bus stops, street furniture etc. and there is space to suggest solutions to problems you identify.
Survey – Avalon Streets as Shared Spaces or call in to the Council Customer Service Centre in the Avalon Rec Centre (opp Woolies carpark).


NBC Volunteering Opportunities


Located shop 4 & 5 Old Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach (down the laneway).
Call into the shop or phone 8414 1801

Seeking donations of warm coats, doonas and blankets either new or in excellent condition,



Sunday August 27th Newport Beach 8am to 3pm after the Beach2Beach charity fun run


Sundays – 23rd July, 27th Aug, 24th Sept, 22nd Oct, 26th Nov


Tues July 25th – Updates on submissions we have lodged, Council and Govt responses to our questions, Whale Beach Rd, Florida Rd, Gov Phillip Park etc
Wed Aug 30th – Guest speaker from Northern Beaches Council, Peter Robinson (Executive Manager Development Assessment)
“DAs 101 everything you’ve wanted to know about Development Applications”.
Thu Sep 28th – Regular meeting
Fri Oct 27th – Guest Speaker, the Local History Librarian from Northern Beaches Council.
Mon Nov 27th – Final for year


Sunday December 10th at Dunes in Governor Phillip Park 6pm – 8.30pm.
Further details to come.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your comments, concerns or questions. We hope to see you at one of our informal coffee meetings.

Prof Richard West AM
0407 942 941