Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Meeting - Walk 18th August

Present   Luke, Anthony, Keiran, Fay, Christian, Ron, Andrew, Mike

Task  -  To review the condition of the trail - From Pandanus Ave over Cabarita Hill and to Norries Headland.

The following is a list of points for discussion concerning the trail in question. These were my notes but as there was frequent separation into small groups I suggest other points be added by others to supplement these notes.

  • There is a trail sign at the end of Pandanus Ave. It was suggested that this may be an excellent site for a supplementary sign to give an overview of the numerous recreational walking trails in Cabarita Beach / Bogangar.
  • Heading south the first viewing platform requires some maintenance , repair of the stainless steel wire balustrade and Oiling of the decking timbers and handrails. (issue - safety and amenity)
  • The first garden bed near this platform is very disappointing and should be replanted with native species to enhance the commencement of this trail.
  • It was obvious that the homeowners above the hotel or hotel gardeners are dumping garden cuttings adjacent to the path. This has allowed non indigenous plants and weeds to escape and degrade the slope. (issue - bush integrity)
  • The path has been substantially damaged below the Norfolk Island Pine and needs lifting levelling and relaying (issue - safety)
  • There are some safety hazards like the tree branch stump facing down being able to strike someone in the head. White paint on the edge of the steps could be redone.
  • Keiran advised that he has surveyed the Littoral forest and identified over 200 native species. This constitutes a precious biodiversity locality. Interpretive signs re this flora would help to educate our community and enhance our levels of respect and care for this region. He indicated that council has a bush futures officer who may be able to link us to some resources for this purpose.
  • Mention was made that some History of the Littoral Forest may be gleaned by contacting the author of a book about the region. (lives in Palm Ave right next to the foreshore)
  • Keiran informed us that the Littoral Forest is regenerating itself and that our actions should be to identify the major issues that affect sustainability, safety or aesthetics so that the ecosystems can hold up under the pressure.
  • The walkways skirting the headland carpark are becoming a problem.(issue safety and sustainability) Walkers in this region try to keep their separation from the traffic / parking area. 
  • The frail nature of the soils combined with high rainfall and increased numbers of walkers have created several eroded goat tracks of dubious safety. Paths following the contours of the hill could help give separation and safety without compromising the aesthetics.
  • Erosion at the foot of the Casuarina tree at the edge of the car park could start to jeopardise this tree soon.
  • Hopefully council signage in this car parking region can be kept at low levels to ensure the sea vistas are not degraded.
  • The trail through Lions Park is another meeting point which could be home to an interpretive sign showing an overview of walking trails and options for visitors and residents. Some mentioned the foot of the boardwalk as a possible site.
  • The coucil is currently working on restoring the fencing leading to the boardwalk at the base of Norries headland.
  • The midden site might be be restored as part of this work.
  • The flowers on the headland are quite susceptible to damage from people stepping off the boardwalk.
  • The grass on the headland is a special kind of coastal grass. (Kieran made a comment about this being rare. Ant)
  • The boardwalk itself was once covered in green paint and needs to be redone to prevent corrosion of some of the major bolts holding the structure together. If it fails or degrades to the point of being unusable that would be a major loss of amenity to the local and tourist users.
  • There was considerable debate re the crest of Norries headland. On stepping off the last of the boardwalk, erosion and level changes are becoming severe. The natural rock becoming more exposed is a tripping hazard. 
  • Should our group play a role in trying to draw attention to these issues? Have we the confidence that council will provide ongoing monitoring and maintenance of these points of issue. Keiran suggested this viewing platform if properly constructed from local stone and comprising a couple of terraced levels suitable for seating, may define a small area for crowd control and reduce (not eliminate) the impact of the meandering spread of damage over the top of the headland.