What is being exhibited?

    We are seeking community input on two key documents:


    1. Munibung Hill Draft Concept Plan

    The draft Concept Plan is designed to protect the important natural and cultural values of Munibung Hill and to respond to the significant constraints affecting recreational use of the site, e.g. erodible terrain, contamination, with complex and evolving land tenure and land use context.

    The exhibited documents can be downloaded from our document library.


    2. Munibung Hill Draft Management Plan

    The draft Management Plan explains how Council will implement the Concept Plan, which identifies access points, tracks and track uses that are feasible over the next ten years.

    The draft plan provides a framework and set of actions for Council to maintain and enhance the area. Council has identified fifteen objectives to focus management activities over the next ten years. Measurable targets for each management objective will enable council to monitor and report progress.

    The draft plan incorporates:

    • An understanding of current uses of Munibung Hill and the community’s needs and aspirations for future uses 
    • An understanding of the cultural, aesthetic, social and environmental values associated with Munibung Hill.
    • Site constraints, including topography and health and safety considerations. 
    • Recommendations for possible infrastructure inclusions, such as access routes and facilities.

     


    What community consultation took place to develop this draft Management Plan?

    Broad community consultation on the development of a draft Management Plan occurred between 22 March - 12 April 2021.

    Residents, landholders, recreational users, Council officers and others with an interest in the management of Munibung Hill contributed to the development of the Management Plan through:

    • personal interviews with landholders, land managers and community organisations with an interest in Munibung Hill. Interviews were conducted to raise awareness of the project, clarify the existing situation and landholder plans, and to obtain feedback about management options
    • consultation with public authorities having a planning or regulatory role. Examples include the NSW Heritage Office, which is currently reviewing an Aboriginal Place nomination for Munibung Hill and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which has regulatory oversight of pollution and contamination
    • online survey, inviting input from the general community
    • social pinpoint map tool, also inviting input from the general community, about the uses and values of specific places on Munibung Hill
    • Aboriginal community stakeholders participated in the planning process. This included an inspection of Munibung Hill that highlighted its significant cultural and archaeological value. The Aboriginal community stakeholders were also consulted on the Concept Plan and will be consulted about the Management Plan. Information about Aboriginal cultural value is in Section 3.4 of this Management Plan.


    Details of community involvement and analysis of feedback are summarised in Appendix A of the draft Management Plan.

    Does the draft plan propose that Munibung Hill will be developed for housing?

    No, Council’s objective is to provide a framework for the future use and management of Munibung Hill. The framework seeks a balance between protecting, managing and restoring areas of high ecological, scientific, cultural and aesthetic values, while facilitating safe public access and recreation. The framework also needs to account for Munibung Hill’s unique natural character, cultural values, environmental hazards, and community desires.

    What area does the draft Management Plan cover?

    The scope of the Management Plan study area includes the southern areas of Speers Point and Warners Bay, east towards the rear of Lakelands, the western area inclusive of Boolaroo, and the northern section of the precinct in Macquarie Hills.

    Who is Umwelt Australia?

    Council engaged consultants Umwelt Australia to help us review opportunities and constraints of the site and identify possible future uses for the Munibung Hill Precinct. The feedback received by Umwelt Australia was used to guide the development of the Munibung Hill Management Plan.

Site considerations

    How will biodiversity be supported at Munibung Hill?

    Active and passive vegetation management will be used to improve vegetation condition, habitat diversity and canopy cover, with a focus on endangered ecological communities and habitat for threatened species.

    Biodiversity management will focus on four key risks: fire, invasive species, illegal vehicle use on tracks and trails, and legacy contamination. The Implementation Action Plan includes actions to reduce each of these risks, to enhance the protection and recovery of healthy ecological communities on Munibung Hill.

    Refer to the action plan table under Biodiversity Strategy (pages 58 – 61 in the draft Management Plan.)

    How has the draft plan considered the cultural heritage of the site?

    The majority of Munibung Hill is mapped as a Sensitive Aboriginal Cultural Landscape in the Lake Macquarie LEP 2014. The LEP requires that development applications for projects in Sensitive Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes are supported by studies and consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders. One of the actions in the draft Management Plan is to develop and implement an ongoing governance and engagement framework for Aboriginal culture on Munibung Hill.

    Local Aboriginal community representatives have shown general support for bush regeneration activities such as erosion control, weed management and native planting. Passive recreation on existing tracks and potentially a scenic lookout would be viewed favourably, subject to detailed design and protection of archaeological sites.

    The Munibung Hill Conservation Society lodged an Aboriginal Place nomination with the NSW Heritage Office in 2020. The nomination is being reviewed by the NSW Heritage Office. If the Heritage Office determines that Munibung Hill should be gazetted as an Aboriginal Place, a management plan to protect the cultural values of the Place will be required (consistent with guidelines prepared by National Parks and Wildlife Services) and must be prepared in close collaboration with Aboriginal community representatives, including traditional owners and elders

    Refer to the action plan table: Culture and Heritage Strategy (pages 63 – 64 in the draft Management Plan).

    How does the plan propose to manage contamination?

    The draft Management Plan is proposing low level recreation activities which will have minimum disturbance of existing soils. A full contamination assessment will occur during the detailed design phase for any project that is proposing an upgrade to the site.  

    Refer to the action plan table under Contamination Management Strategy (pages 61 – 62 in the draft Management Plan.)

Recreation, trails and access points

    What are the proposed recreation access points?

    Two new track head sites are proposed:

    • off Blaxland Road in Macquarie Hills, and
    • off Quarry Road at Speers Point.

    These sites were identified because they allow for off road parking and trail head facilities such as picnic tables, signage, and toilets.

    What is Council doing about the trails/tracks on Munibung Hill?

    Council will upgrade tracks to and along the main north south ridge crest from the proposed track head sites. These tracks will provide safe access for independent walkers and other related passive recreation:

    • erosion on tracks will be stabilised
    • stairs or other features added to align track standards with Grade 4 (on steep slopes) or Grade 3 (on flatter land) of the Australian Walking Track Grading system
    • hazards associated with steep slopes, cliffs and any potential soil contamination will be managed
    • track routes will avoid places of Aboriginal cultural value and high conservation value bushland
    • residents of local suburbs will still be able to access the upgraded tracks using connecting tracks from existing local access points which are on council land. These are often at the end of narrow suburban streets and are not suitable starting points for people arriving by car.

    How will the proposed recreation access points affect parking in the area?

    It is a high priority action to start on the design work for the tracks and supporting infrastructure at the site.

    All access options have some constraints which limit their capacity to service a regional scale recreation facility.

    The options which are deemed to have space (Blaxland Road Macquarie Hills and Quarry Road Speers Point), will require:

    • assessment of impacts on biodiversity
    • additional consultation with local communities during the detailed design phase to ensure that any traffic management and vandalism issues are considered.

    Refer to the action plan table under Access and Track Management Strategy (pages 64 – 66 in the draft Management Plan.)

    Why hasn’t mountain biking been proposed in the draft Management Plan?

    The draft plan does not propose mountain bike riding as a key recreational activity on Munibung Hill. 

    This is because:

    • the access tracks onto Munibung Hill requires a steep climb
    • constructing a track suitable for bike riding would require clearing of a larger area and significant earthworks, including in soils that are potentially contaminated. This is not consistent with protection of the natural and cultural values of Munibung Hill
    • a shared path for walkers and mountain bike riders would increase risks for walkers and potentially create user conflicts
    • compared to other reserves in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle where mountain bike riding is permitted and encouraged, Munibung Hill is a small area with complex constraints.

    The draft Management Plan is proposing low level recreation activities which will have minimum disturbance of existing soils. Full contamination assessment will be included in the detailed design phase for any of the trails proposed for upgrading.

    Is public vehicle access proposed for the site?

    Vehicle access on Munibung Hill will continue to be restricted to essential service, maintenance and emergency vehicles only. The draft Management Plan does not cater for four-wheel driving, motorbikes or any general public vehicle access.

    These trails are not intended to provide vehicle access for the public. They are narrow and steep, suitable for only very infrequent and controlled vehicle use.

    Upgrading these tracks to allow two-way traffic and parking areas would be counter to protecting the biodiversity and cultural values of the site. 

    A Vehicle Access Strategy will be implemented to control recreational access by the public. This is in order to protect biodiversity and Aboriginal culture, ensure safety to the tracks and discourage antisocial behaviour. 

    Refer to the action plan table: Vehicle Access Strategy (pages 66 – 67 in the draft Management Plan).

Making a submission

    Where can I view the documents on public exhibition?

    Online: View the proposed changes via downloadable PDF file in our document library.

    Hard copy: Printed copies are available for pick up at the Council Administration Building at Speers Point.

    How can I make a submission?

    A formal submission must be in writing and sent via one of the following channels:

    • via our online form
    • via email to council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au
    • via post to ATT: Brendan Callander, Lake Macquarie City Council, Box 1906, Hunter Region Mail Centre, NSW 2310.

    What should I put in a submission?

    Your submission can be as concise or as long as you wish:

    • if you do not support the draft plan, or any element of it, please make a submission and tell us what your specific concerns are. Please, be detailed and specific so that we can take it to Council to make an informed decision.
    • conversely, if you do support the draft plan, or any element of it, please make a submission and tell us specifically why you support the plan.

    Your specific feedback may result in further changes being made prior to a report being prepared for Councillors.

    At the Council meeting, the Councillors will review the formal submissions and concerns raised. They may either adopt the final proposed plan or ask for further amendments based on community feedback.

Community information sessions

    How can I register for an information session?

    Information sessions are a chance for the community to meet in person with the Council and ask any questions.

     

    If you are having difficulty registering for a session, please email us on council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or call 4921 0333 and we will help you with your registration.


    In-person information session

    • Registration is required for this COVIDSafe meeting
    • Click here to view the session times and register
    • Proof of vaccination will be necessary in order to attend. If this presents a barrier to your attendance, please consider attending our online information session.


    Online information session

    • Registration is required for these events
    • Click here to view online session times and register
    • The session will be held using Microsoft Teams. You will not need to download any software to join the meeting
    • Once you have registered, we will email you the meeting link the morning of the session, along with instructions on how to join the call.

    Who can I talk to if I can't attend a session?

    If you cannot attend a session, but would like to speak with a member of the project team, please call Council on 4921 0333 or email council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au and we will be in touch to arrange an appointment to discuss the draft plan with you.