FoMH members attended the Community Consultation Meeting conducted by the Headland owner, the Commonwealth Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD), on 16 January 2013 at Maroubra Surf Club. At the meeting, further information was provided about the Commonwealth’s current program of activity by Headland Program Director, Adrian Kirk.

The DoFD budget for headland works is approx. $2m for 2012/13 and $6m for 2013/14, and Adrian Kirk outlined the major projects that are planned.

Lot 301, the Rifle Range area

A Remediation Action Plan for the whole of Lot 301 is being written, and should be complete by the end of June 2013.

The project to collect leachate from the rifle range (now Lot 301) is about to commence.

By June 2013, the northward flow of leachate from the rifle range, which merges with the Randwick City Council South Maroubra stormwater drain and flows into the sea at South Maroubra (and on occasions into the childrens rock pool), should cease.

This will result from the DoFD project to build a wall, trench and interception drain at bedrock level that will collect the leachate as it drains from the base of the landfill to the north of Lot 301. The leachate will be pumped into an expanded wetland where it will be partially treated.

The aim is to totally separate the leachate emanating from the landfill from the stormwater in council’s drain and to retain the leachate on the rifle range site for treatment.

A contract is about to be let for this project. The works will commence in the last week of January and are scheduled for completion by 30 June 2013

An adjunct project will reshape and reline the Randwick City Council South Maroubra stormwater drain, so that it consistently drains to the south and east of the children’s rock pool. This project is also scheduled for completion by 30 June 2013.

The proposed works will not treat the stormwater from the Council’s drain and pollutants in the drain including gross pollutants such as plastic bottles will continue to enter the ocean after storm events. South Maroubra Precinct is trying to get Randwick City Council to remedy this by placing a gross pollutant trap on the stormwater pipe in Byrne Reserve.

Once these works are in progress, Adrian Kirk will attempt to arrange an inspection for those who are interested.

A similar project is planned for the southward flow of leachate that impacts on the Sydney Water STP and the waters of Long Bay (Malabar Beach). Completion date for this project is 30 June 2014.

Once partially treated in situ at the north and south ends of Lot 301, leachate will be pumped back to the centre of the lot where a large settling and treatment pond will be created, in the vicinity of the riding school (now demolished).

When these projects are completed, Lot 301 will be capped. Surface rainwater (stormwater) will then not be able to penetrate deeply and only stormwater, which should largely be free of contaminants, will leave Lot 301.

DoFD has not decided how to manage the large gully on Lot 301 which contains a Sydney Water sewer main.

Methane gas has been detected at various locations on Lot 301. The levels of gas emissions are insufficient to consider capture, and are not at sufficiently dangerous levels to prevent shooting activity.

If large amounts of asbestos are found they will be dug up and removed. Small amounts will not be disturbed as the whole landfill will eventually be capped. There is to be as little digging and disturbance as possible on Lot 301.

Following a request from Margaret Vazey, DoFD will consider preserving the long bore rifle range target mechanisms which are of heritage and social significance.

Despite various representations to DoFD, the Minister and the local member, the 1920s Caretaker’s Cottage was demolished as DoFD did not consider it to be of heritage and social significance.

A great deal of bitou slashing has been done by contractors on the rifle range, but roots have been left in situ to stabilise unconsolidated fill slopes, until replacement planting with native vegetation can be done.

Western Bushland

A large deposit of waste which includes some asbestos has been identified at the south (stop butt) end of the pistol range. The pistol range and its buildings are now fully demolished and it and the rubbish will be remediated in 2013/14.

The pistol range land will then be incorporated in the Western Bushland as part of the National Park, with the eastern boundary of the park following for most of its length the Lot 301 western boundary gravel road and fence.

Other developments

Vehicle access is to be provided to the Byrne Crescent fire break so that fire trucks can enter it.

DoFD are reluctant to erect and repair site fences, as people continually cut holes in them. They are now attempting to block off all roads and access points with large rocks, which will stop vehicles. There is no plan to erect a fence between the Eastern Bushland and the rifle range.

No date has yet been set for transfer of areas of bush adjacent to the Eastern Bushland, at the northern and southern sides of the rifle range, which still require remediation.

The community group with an interest in the headland is to be invited to contribute to the process of designing a Concept Plan for the future development of Lot 301.

Adrian Kirk refused to comment on the Commonwealth’s relationship with the NSWRA and the South East Equestrian Club.

In answer to a question, Adrian Kirk stated that he had no reason to believe that the present plans for remediation and transfer to NSW of the Headland would not be followed through by a Coalition Government.

Further information about the Commonwealth’s activities on and plans for the headland can be found at the Department of Finance and Deregulation website.