Sandon Point site to be made permanent

Members of Wollongong's Aboriginal community could be allowed to erect a building and camp permanently at Sandon Point under one option outlined in Wollongong City Council's draft land management plans for the site.

The plans, which set out what uses are allowed on the 14-hectare stretch of land, include four options to retain and formalise an indigenous presence on a section of the site now occupied by the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE).

The option with the smallest footprint would allow for daily use of the site from "sun up to sun down" for "Aboriginal cultural and heritage activities", but restrict overnight stays to a maximum of 42 nights a year and only six individuals/families at a time.

Option two allows for a community centre to be built on the site but would keep camping at a minimum (same as option one), while option three suggests a manager's residence be erected and allows for indigenous people to camp there year-round.

The final option, which represents the most intensive use of the land, allows an education centre, a caretaker's residence and either temporary or all-year camping.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the community would get the chance to nominate their preferred option, provided councillors backed the staff recommendation at next Monday's council meeting to publicly display the documents for three months.

"Sandon Point is a site of great importance and tradition to Aboriginal peoples; it is also a site of great pleasure and significance for all people in our community," he said.

"Historically it has been a traditional and significant site used by Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years. The council recognises this and the draft plan includes measures to help preserve this significance."

The plan also suggests cutting the number of access points to McCauleys Beach and Sandon Point from 33 to 18, and paves the way for viewing platforms to be erected north of the Point Street car park and at the southern end of McCauleys Beach.

The draft management plan took more than a year to put together and involved extensive pre-report consultation between council staff and stakeholders, Cr Bradbery said.

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