For a growing group of Shellharbour residents, the environmental vandalism visited upon Bass Point at Easter time was the last straw.
Scores of people, mostly from Sydney, descended on the point – famous for its ecology, recreation and fishing – camping overnight, defecating on the rocks, and fishing well in excess of legal bag limits.
The Facebook page Protect Bass Point already has more than 1000 members and is gathering steam.
Shell Cove photographer and mum Christine Bernasconi, 54, said the community wanted to make a change.
“At Easter time, there was a lot of stuff written about people coming down to Bass Point by the busload – and I mean busloads of people – who would then camp illegally and then they would overfish,” she said.
“Sea urchins, pippies, they were using nets, taking fish under size – and well over their bag limits.
“They were even bringing their own meat grinders so they could grind the meat and fill their bags with the rest. That information came to me from [council].
“This place is a jewel in the crown down here.
“I’m living by the sea mouth so I see and hear all this stuff. So I decided to make an appointment with the general manager at council.”
She made a Facebook page to advocate for better protection of Bass Point, and within a night the page had 800 members. It had clearly tapped a strong vein of care for this environmental gem.
After a meeting with Shellharbour City Council top brass it was clear they needed to organise community input during the budget deliberations for the next year.
Many believe permanent rangers should be redeployed to Bass Point. They were told $160,000 would fund two permanent rangers.
Through the social media group, more than 100 people made their opinions heard.
The council had previously told the Mercury that the ranger situation would be reviewed in the wake of the Easter shenanigans.
“We hope when the councillors vote on any changes that will come forward we will have people on side,” Ms Bernasconi said.