Why is Council undertaking this project?

    The Project was developed in response to the recommendations of the Birubi Point Aboriginal Place Master Plan

    The Masterplan aims to establish a conceptual planning framework to guide future development of Birubi Point. The project marks the first stage of works following the adoption of the Masterplan and is centred around upgrading recreation facilities and landscaping.

    How much will the project cost?

    Detailed cost estimates will be developed during the development of detailed design. The project budget is set at $1.67 million and is funded by Council and the NSW Government.

    Will the toilet block in Ocean Avenue be retained?

    The toilet block in Ocean Avenue will be removed once a new building is constructed in Robinson Reserve. The building will be replaced with a beach shower and drinking station

    Who has Council spoken to in the community?

    Council has undertaken extensive community engagement to inform the concept design including:

    • An online survey run from 8 October to 28 October 2018.

    • School workshops held on 17 October 2018 at Tomaree High School and St Philips Christian College.

    • A community workshop held at Birubi Surf Life Saving Club on 31 October 2018.

      Ongoing collaboration with Registered Aboriginal Parties.

      Presentation to the Birubi Point Cultural Heritage Advisory Panel on 4 April 2019.

    • Community Drop In Sessions at TYCA Skate and Scoot, Port Stephens Pro and Birubi Seaside Scavenge.

    • Newsletter letter box drop to local residents.

    Why is the project not commencing until October 2019?

    The commencement date of October 2019 has been identified to provide enough time for Council to undertake investigations, obtain the necessary approvals to commence works and engage contractors to complete specific components of the project. Robinson Reserve and its surrounds are rich in natural beauty and Council is taking every precaution to ensure the project protects this natural beauty whilst providing a functional recreation space.

    What approvals are required to commence works?

    The approval process applicable to the project is set out in Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. A copy of the Act can be accessed at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au. Part 5 of the Act requires Council to give due consideration to the environmental impacts of an activity being undertaken in a public reserve. Key environmental impacts being considered are native vegetation, coastal processes, residential amenity, hydrology (stormwater management) and Aboriginal heritage. Identification, assessment and management of environmental impacts are documented in a Review of Environmental Factors Report and signed off by Council.

    Due to the proposed works being located within the Birubi Point Aboriginal Place, Council is also required to prepare an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment to inform an application for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP). An AHIP is required when a proposed activity is likely to directly or indirectly harm an Aboriginal object or place. Before applying for an AHIP, Council must thoroughly investigate and assess the cultural heritage values of the area (documented in a Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment). The AHIP process has strict consultative requirements with minimum timeframes and these must be strictly adhered to. Works are permitted to commence upon the receipt of an AHIP.

    Why is Council not implementing the concept design made public back in 2017?

    A draft version of the Birubi Point Aboriginal Place Masterplan included a proposed relocation of  the playground and skate park within Robinson Reserve. After recognising the potential risk of proposing a park layout without further consideration of the site constraints, this detail was omitted prior to the Masterplan being finalised and adopted.


    How did Council identify the preferred concept design?

    The preferred concept option was identified as it best met the desires expressed throughout community consultation and the Recreation Facility Design Principles adopted by Council (see Council’s Recreation Strategy - https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/grow/development-controls-plans-and-strategies/open-space-and-recreation-planning/recreation-strategy). Some of the features of the concept design includes:

    • An integrated water strategy that protects coastal environments and key recreational infrastructure.

    • Centralised amenities providing for easy access from activity zones, barbeques areas and the beach.

    • Landscaped open space providing for informal recreation and community events.

    • A cleared landing area for rescue helicopters.

    • Maintain vehicle access for emergency services onto the beach.

    • Improved car parking efficiency.

    • Skate park sheltered from windblown sand (south-westerly winds).

    • Separation of activity zones from adjacent residences.

    • Minimising risk of vehicle and pedestrian conflict.

    • Maintain clear lines of site from adjacent residences to the beach.

    • Provide safe places for motorists to pull over and view the surf.

    Why is Council relocating the car park?

    In considering the future of Robinson Reserve, popular feedback Council received included more car parking. Relocating the car park was determined to be an optimal outcome for the following reasons:

    • A more efficient layout – the proposed car park would provide approximately 10 more car parking spaces and reduce the amount of land required for car parking by 20%.

    • A safe vantage point for surfers – positioned in an elevated area, the car park would allow surfers to pull up safely in their cars to check the surf instead of parking on Fitzroy Street.

    • Improved user experience – relocating the car park would increase separation between users of the reserve and passing vehicle traffic on Fitzroy Street.

    • Improved safety – the proposed configuration would reduce the need for pedestrians to cross designated vehicle routes, reduce the amount of reserve fronting the street and increase separation between activity zones and vehicles.

    • Deter anti-social behaviour – locating the car park closer to passing traffic on Fitzroy Street will increase passive surveillance and deter anti-social behaviour such as illegal camping, loitering and hooning.

    • Protect key assets – relocating the car park allows key assets such as toilets, barbeques and play equipment to be located outside of designated overflow and coastal inundation areas and utilise existing mature vegetation as a windbreak from strong winds.

    • Maximise green space – relocating the car park allows built structures such as the playground, skate park and toilet block to be located outside of the designated grassed recreation area and maximise green space.

    • Maintain coastal views – relocating the car park allows permanent structures such as the toilet block, playground and skate park to be located in peripheral locations and avoid obstructing views towards the beach.  

    How does Council propose to manage anti-social behaviour?

    While managing anti-social behaviour in public areas is largely the responsibility of Council’s Ranger Services and the NSW Police, there are a number of initiatives that can be factored into the design of a space to minimise the opportunities to partake in such behaviour. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is a culmination of principles that have been considered in developing the concept design and will be further considered in subsequent design phases. Particular attention has been focussed on deterring hoon activity and illegal camping within the car park through increasing passive surveillance, installing speed bumps and providing a quality asphalt surface.

    What is a Masterplan?

    A masterplan, such as the Birubi Point Aboriginal Place Masterplan, is Council's guiding document for a locality that sets out the look, feel and aesthetics for the specified location.