Controversial plans governing the future use of Sandon Point and McCauleys Beach will be released for community-wide comment, Wollongong City Council has decided.
Councillors voted unanimously last night to put its draft Sandon Point plan of management on public exhibition for an extended three-month period.
The plan, which sets out what uses are allowed on the 14-hectare stretch of land, includes four options to retain and formalise an indigenous presence on a section of the site now occupied by the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
The options range from limited camping and an educational facility to year-round "camping", a manager's residence and a community centre.
The council's decision came just hours after the region's Aboriginal leaders issued a statement through the media urging the council not to release the document, claiming the general public should not have a say over "the destiny" of the embassy.
Representatives from the Aboriginal community did not raise their concerns as part of the council's public access forum at last night's meeting, and it is unclear if councillors were aware of their position when making their decision.
However, councillors did agree they needed widespread community feedback on the plan, acknowledging that the Sandon Point precinct had a long and controversial history.
"There's lot of information here that needs to go into the public realm," Cr David Brown said.
"I am aware there are items that will need to have more consultation. It might take longer than 90 days to come back to us, but we need to go the extra mile for consultation because of the history and the sensitivity [of the site]."
Michelle Blicavs said the aim of the consultation process was to "find a solution that works for everybody". She urged councillors to be open to other suggestions from the community.
Vicki Curran thanked council staff for their work, saying the document was the product of "a really tremendous engagement process" with stakeholders, including the Aboriginal community.
The plan also paves the way for reducing the number of access points to McCauleys Beach and Sandon Point from 33 to 18, and erecting viewing platforms north of the Point Street car park and at the southern end of McCauleys Beach.