Tempers flared as two resident groups clashed at council’s Tura Head Coastal Reserve workshop and listening post last week.
Held at Tura Marrang Library on Thursday, June 29, around 70 Tura Beach residents turned up at 4.30pm and stayed at the library until past 8.30pm with the sole purpose of expressing their opinions on the future direction of the reserve.
But the large contingent of North Tura Beach Residents Association (NTBRA) members said they felt as though they were completely railroaded by council management.
NTBRA have a specific interest in a small (less than two hectare) and unique part of the Tura Head Coastal Reserve at Dolphin Cove and The Point. The residents turned out in force for the sole purpose of discussing the future of this area.
The group had made their plan for the area clear to council and the community in the weeks prior to the workshop and as a result, the Living with Nature Group at Tura Beach was formed.
While the NTBRA wants to see the area cleared then restored and returned to grassland with only low flowering natives planted to ensure they preserve the wildlife corridor, the Living with Nature Group wholeheartedly opposes this plan.
The two groups were fired up and ready to butt heads and try to come to some sort of conclusion at the workshop, however they were not really given the opportunity.
“At the workshop, council strategically deflected our pleas for discussion on the unsightly regrowth areas at The Point and Dolphin Cove which are a small but vastly different part of the large area of natural coastal heath comprising the Tura Head Coastal Reserve,” NTBRA member Chris Young said.
What instead eventuated at the workshop were group discussions with council natural asset officer Andrew Morrison, NSW Rural Fire Service community safety officer Marty Webster and council's manager of leisure and recreation services, John Grady about the entire coastal reserve.
People clashed with differing opinions until they were split into small groups and asked to come up with a plan to work together to best manage the reserve. It was then that they found common ground in the areas that need to be marked out.
Halfway through the workshop Tura resident Lesley Merry said she was completely frustrated as she felt that they were not addressing the real issue but, by the end she changed her tune.
“We may have achieved something, while there is a lot of frustration from both groups, hopefully this will improve with more discussion,” Ms Merry said. “I just hope this workshop has shown council just how important this issue is to the residents of Tura Beach.”