Sutherland Shire’s newest park, Hungry Point Reserve at the head of Gunnamatta Bay, is open to the public.
Temporary fencing has been removed from the top of the former fisheries research centre site revealing beautiful grassed areas, bordered by sandstone blocks, for picnics or simply a place to sit and take in the wonders of nature.
There are two areas available to the public at the top of the 3.3 hectare site, which will be linked by a landscaped path.
One enjoys panoramic views over Port Hacking towards the coast and Bundeena, and the the other has views to the west, through trees over Gunnamatta Bay.
A car park has about 40 spaces, with a four-hour time limit to deter campervans staying overnight.
The opening to the public of the top of the site – Marine Rescue NSW occupies the bottom section – comes six years after fisheries staff moved out and about three years later than what was originally forecast.
The move was accompanied by an announcement the state government will provide funding to build a picturesque walkway connecting greenspace between Salmon Haul Reserve and Darook Park via the cliffs at Hungry Point.
There is already a rough track for most of the link, but it is not accessible for people with mobility problems.
It was also revealed expressions of Interest will soon be called for the use of vacant buildings on the site, with the assurance that only “proposals which will not impact on the amenity of the local community” will be considered.
Planning Minister Anthony Roberts announced funding for the walkway, which Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman said would provide “a missing link between the Esplanade and Gunnamatta Bay”.
“It will create a complete waterside walking loop around the South Cronulla peninsula when the tide is low enough,” he said.
The Hungry Point Reserve Land Manager (previously Trust) will complete preliminary surveys, studies, design and applications required to obtain the necessary planning approvals.
Sutherland Shire Council will help plan the project.
Hungry Point Reserve Land Manager board chairman John Rayner said, “The fence has come down and the landscaped area on the northern section of the site is open to the community to use and enjoy”.
“Hungry Point Reserve now contributes to the magnificent park areas of South Cronulla,” he said.
Mr Rayner said recent works undertaken by the board, with state government funding and council support, included demolition of the former caretaker’s cottage and shed and turfing a car park to increase the open space available to the public.
“Further works will include demolition of a shed, interpretative signage, additional seating and tables and protection of aboriginal middens,” he said.
“Bush care works to remove weeds will continue to improve the reserve and the retention of remnant littoral rainforest.
“The site is heritage listed in recognition of it being a highly utilised Aboriginal site prior to European settlement and its use for Defence, by the CSIRO, as a migrant hostel and most recently as the NSW Fisheries Research Institute.
“The history and values of the site are important and contribute to a complex and lengthy approval process.
“Mid-year, the board will invite expressions of interest for the use of vacant buildings on the site.”
Mr Speakman said the new walkway could become part “our very own Great Southern Coastal Walking Track, enhancing tourist opportunities for stops along the way like Bundeena”.
It would connect via the ferry to the Royal National Park Coast Track, which is undergoing an $11 million upgrade.
Mr Speakman said the state and federal governments were funding new ferry wharves at Kurnell and La Perouse which, when completed, would provide a further option to extend a walk to La Perouse and on to South Head.
Murray Trembath – St George and Sutherland Shire Leader
11th March 2019