Please help us, Minister
By SALLY GORDON
A CORE group of Diggers Headland campers want the NSW Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly to step in and seize immediate control of the coastal reserve.
Leon Capra said Diggers campers yesterday were puzzled as to why the Clarence Valley Council voted to ignore advice from the Department of Lands.
Following council's February meeting, which resolved to ban camping at the reserve, the NSW Department of Lands issued a letter suggesting council fully review the adopted plan of management for the area before any decision to stop camping at the site. The letter told council its decision to stop camping at Diggers Camp should be rescinded or postponed until the management plan had been reviewed.
"I don't know why council would be acting against the advice they've been given," Mr Capra said.
"Our only course of action now is to write to the Minister and request that he or his office step in and take control of the process from here on in."
On Tuesday councillors voted 5-4 against a rescission motion for their earlier camping ban.
Yamba councillor Doug Mackenzie claimed the department had provided conflicting information.
"We acted on the best legal advice from a council solicitor, there was no mention that a plan of management overrided the regulations we decided the matter on."
Councillors Terry Flanagan, Joy Mathews, Ian Tiley and Kerry Lloyd were adamant that council should heed the department's advice.
"We have acted outside our ambit ... the only thing that can change the status quo is a review of the plan of management," Cr Flanagan said.
The Department of Lands yesterday declined to comment on council's decision and said it was in the process of preparing a response.