Monday, March 4, 2024

Crowning Cape Liz

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Patrick Goldsmith, Yorke Peninsula Country Times

Yorke Peninsula Council is considering handing back care, control and management of Cape Elizabeth to the state Minister for Climate, Environment and Water Susan Close.

Council is now seeking public feedback about the proposition which, if successful, would result in the land reverting to unalienated Crown land status.

Cape Elizabeth comprises eight Crown land parcels, four of which were placed under the care, control and management of council by way of a licence and dedication in the early 1990s.

Prior to this, the largest parcel had been privately owned and was transferred to the Crown, in the belief it would be handed over to the Narungga community for management.

‘Significant environment degradation’ hits Cape hard

Current objectives for the management of the land include its retention as a conservation reserve, minimisation of harm to coastal areas, allowing trails for conservation use, and exclusion of any commercial or recreational activities.

YPC environmental officer Letitia Dahl-helm said council had noted the land is utilised by locals and visitors for inappropriate activities, including camping and off-road vehicle driving.

She said, over time, this has led to significant environmental degradation.

“Whilst council has lacked resources for conservation management as per the purpose of the licence and dedication, the environmental degradation caused by inappropriate recreation has escalated rapidly,” she said.

“Of greatest concern is the impact to Narungga heritage by inappropriate recreational activity; Cape Elizabeth contains a huge amount of cultural significance, with protections under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988.”

If the proposal is successful, the project could create a new approach for Narungga people to directly manage the area and ease of management through just one tenure.

The principles of Crown land management also include the safeguarding of life-supporting capacity of air, water, land and ecosystems, as well as to avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effects of activities on the environment.

Conservation across the land is difficult due to varying land tenures, according to Ms Dahl-helm.

“For example, vehicle users entering one of council’s land parcels are in breach of council’s by-laws,” she said.

“However, access to this parcel is via a track on unalienated Crown land, therefore council cannot close this track, as it has no authority to do so; if it did so, it would be in breach of the Crown Land Act 2009.”

Mayor Darren Braund said council is keen to hear feedback on the matter from members of the community.

“If the licence is cancelled and the dedication revoked, the affected land would cease to be under the care, control, and management of the council,” he said.

“As part of the decision-making process, council is actively engaging with the community and encourages feedback on the proposed actions.

“For those interested, a comprehensive report detailing the proposal is accessible for review at the council offices located in Maitland, Minlaton and Yorketown, as well as on the council’s official website.”

Deadline for community feedback on the matter is 5pm, Friday, February 2. 

Yorke Peninsula Country 16 January 2024

This article appeared in Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 16 January 2024.

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