Plan set to protect Kiama coastal jewel

Jones Beach, Kiama. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Jones Beach, Kiama. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

A new plan of management for the Jones Beach and Cathedral Rocks reserves at Kiama Downs will help Kiama Municipal Council protect an area labelled as a jewel of the South Coast.

Despite its popularity, the area has been plagued with tree vandalism in recent years.

Multiple unauthorised stairways have also been built from beachfront homes across community land down to the reserve below.

Kiama council has now adopted a plan, which Mayor Brian Petschler said would enable the council to control the issue of unauthorised stairways and hopefully, the problem of tree vandalism.

The council's previous plan of management was adopted in 2001 and the current review process began in February, 2013, leading to some "tense" meetings.

Cr Petschler said some stairways would be removed because they were deemed dangerous.

"A number of others we will be happy to assess and if they can be brought up to a reasonable standard of safety, we will maintain them with assistance of residents," Cr Petschler said.

'The ones we will retain are located some distance from property boundaries and will link with accessible pathways across the top of the reserve ... These will be for general public use."

Cr Petschler said a "long-term planting regime" would be put in place for the whole reserve, not just to manage the issue of tree vandalism but to assist dune restoration works.

"One of the issues residents had related to the height of trees being used ... Now what trees can be used are identified in the plan of management."

He said there was strong support for developing a landcare group, which over time would clear lantana and exotic species.

"We hope once the landcare group gets under way and the residents gain a sense of ownership of the area, then the vandalism will disappear."

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