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Friends or Currawong need your help to save historic holiday camp

The following letter was sent to me by Geoff Dowsett of Bushwalking Sydney ( www.bushwalkingsydney.com)
See also Historic NSW holiday retreat for workers' children threatened by developers

Dear Bushwalkers ,Greens and Conservationists

Friends of Currawong share the view of many heritage and environmental commentators, that the entire Currawong site-all of it-should be placed on the State Heritage Register.

Currawong's future is now in Frank Sartor's hands. Under the Part 3A process the Minister may ignore the Heritage Office, which is the consent authority for State Listed items. Professional bodies, councils or committees can inform the Minister but have no authority. But the show must go on. To win we need your help.

The Heritage Council of New South Wales says the entire Currawong site should be listed. The Heritage Council says Currawong meets an exceptionally high five out of seven of the criteria required for listing. An item need only meet one to be successfully listed.

To get their sub-division the developers want a re-zoning of the 20 hectare site. Currently 16 hectares is zoned Community Open Space. The acquisition authority is the State Government. That is why Friends of Currawong believe the State should acquire the entire site for National Park.

How you can Help

The Minister of Planning's panel is holding a public hearing on Wednesday 4 June 2008. The hearing will be at Mona Vale Surf Lifesaving Club, Mona Vale Beach. It is open to the public.

You can make a submission - in writing or in person - to the Department of Planning. Deadline for submissions and bookings is 23 May 2008.

To present to the Panel, call Paula Poon, the Panel Secretariat, on (02) 9228 6516 or email paula.poon@planning.nsw.gov.au before 4PM Friday, 23 May 2008. Better still do both.

Your letter is important in the fight to Save Currawong. An excellent template letter is below written by Jan Roberts.

Following last month's overflowing public meeting at Avalon Community Centre a more formal committee structure has been set up. (Friends of Currawong North).

As always, thanks for your fighting spirit over these years.

Jo Holder and Shane Withington
Co-convenors, Friends of Currawong

Donations: may be sent to:
Ken Hughes
Treasurer, Friends of Currawong
38 Loblay Cresent, Bilgola Plateau, 2107
Please make cheques payable to Friends of Currawong

An excellent template letter: add your own observations about Currawong, Pittwater and the National Park.

The Director
Strategic Assessments
Department of Planning
GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001

Dear Sir/madam

Re project no MP 070117 - Currawong Beach - 19.77 ha on the western foreshores of Pittwater

We wish to lodge our strong opposition to Development proposal MP 070117. I am writing on behalf of four generations of a Pittwater family. Led by a war damaged ex-serviceman, we moved to what was then remote Avalon Beach for peace and quiet immediately after the war. Our family has never needed to use Currawong but has always valued what it represents to others.

The battle to preserve this historic and sensitive workers holiday village from the predations of developers has been waged for many years, so many it is a small miracle that the valiant band of opponents has not withered away. Such is the strength of their altruistic work. Is anyone out there in State Planning and the Labor Party listening to the voices of respected people like architect Richard le Pastrier, the local Pittwater branch of the Labor Party, environmentalists, conservationists and heritage experts in the National Trust, not to mention the Friends of Currawong? Most of these people are Labor supporters who value what the party's post-war reconstruction leaders achieved for its members. To destroy their gift and sell it off for the benefit of a few millionaires is really sinful; and I do not use that strong word lightly.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity now to merge the land with Ku-ring-gai National Park and use the cottages in new ways, for example for holidays for indigenous families, residential workshops for troubled adolescents and meditation retreats for cancer sufferers and others. If trade union members no longer use the place, our society has many needy people who would benefit from a holiday in Currawong. It is a unique and healing place.

Please listen to the many, many voices who want Currawong to remain in public hands. The land was home to aborigines who have long gone but their spirits are there too. Let us continue the visionary work of the original union leaders and save Currawong for the people to use in ways appropriate for the 21st century.

Yours faithfully

Dr Jan Roberts, historian