THE worst fears of Crowdy Head residents have been confirmed, with a Port Macquarie-based developer outlining his desire to turn the former Crowdy Head Fishermen's Co-operative into a caravan park, cafe and boat moorings.
The as-yet unnamed developer has told local residents he has bought the former co-operative building on Crowdy harbour foreshore from the fish co-op liquidators, and is now in negotiations with Crown Lands to lease and develop the site.
Although the site is currently Crown land, the developer has indicated he will be seeking a change to Greater Taree City Council's current Local Environment Plan, in order to accommodate his plans.
The developer has been meeting with officers of Crown Lands and council, and has gone so far as to inform residents that both are in favour of the development.
He needs however to submit a development application which would have to gain Crown Lands' approval before being lodged with council.
A meeting between residents and Crown Lands was held on the site last month, and residents were assured there were no proposals currently on the table.
Residents have told the Times since that the developer has indicated that a caravan park is "going ahead".
The residents are concerned about transparency and that the proper processes are not being adhered to.
The foreshore area of Crowdy harbour on which the former co-op stands, is currently zoned IN4 'working waterfront', which would preclude accommodation facilities.
A local group comprising 98 per cent Crowdy Head residents the Crowdy Head Foreshore Preservation Group (CHFPG) has flagged its opposition to the proposed development and will seek the land to be given over for public use, and zoned accordingly.
"Crowdy Head is a pristine coastal area and its harbour foreshore is part of one of the few remaining coastal hamlets on the NSW coast and as such should be preserved for future public recre ational use," a spokesperson for CHFPG told the Times this week.
"Crowdy Head sits surrounded by National Park. It is the second most easterly point of NSW, with no through traffic, and one road in and out.
"Crowdy Head is frequently referred to as 'the jewel in the crown of the Manning Valley', and provides recreational and tourism facilities to local people and visitors to the valley.
"As such it is of vital economic and environmental importance.
"Any development in this area will have an impact on both the local and the wider community."