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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

May 1, 2024

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 25, Issue 1206

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians of Pittwater, as well as our Indigenous readers


Church Point Landscaping

The Council's latest plans

Northern Beaches Council has released their revised proposals for Thomas Stephens Reserve, the paved area between the Pasadena and the general store at Church Point. This is the latest stage in implementing the Church Point Plan of Management, adopted in 2009 by then Pittwater Council.

The Council’s latest proposals replace its earlier plans for the reserve, which were the subject of community consultation in early 2021. Most notably, NBC is now proposing to retain the current location of the ferry pontoon.

The redesign includes a number of other features:
  • removal of many of the existing trees, while new trees will be planted;
  • a new boardwalk connecting to the ferry wharf;
  • new decking and paving for the reserve, with sandstone features;
  • new garden beds, bins, tables and benches, together with other seating;
  • a new bike rail, tap and drinking station;
  • repointing and backfilling the existing seawall;
  • steps leading down to the beach.
The existing phone box, flag pole and memorial will be retained.

Council is planning for landscaping to commence mid-late 2025. This will be after realignment of the adjoining road, which is expected in mid-late 2024. Revisions to the road realignment design are due for public exhibition shortly.
Council is asking whether we have questions or concerns about the latest iteration of the plan. To view the plan, click here (click on ‘view the revised landscape design’). If you wish to contact Council, you will find the relevant contacts towards the end of the page linked to above.
Below Jenny Cullen, a long-term resident of Scotland Island, shares some of her views on the new plans.

Thomas Stephens Reserve

Jenny Cullen

Thomas Stephens Reserve during ANZAC Day, April 2024

This year Thomas Stephens Reserve was again packed for the Anzac Day service. It is the village square for both onshore and offshore locals. Where we meet and chat, have a coffee or a beer, collect our mail, buy a few basics and walk through every time we come or go. Church Point is also an historic area with three heritage listings: the post office and store, the old Church Point wharf and the cemetery. But the reserve will look very different from mid-2025, according to Council’s plans.

In March 2021, Council exhibited a plan for public comment. There have been substantial changes since then and Council is ready to proceed. To see their plans, click here.

Below I outline items that I believe are likely to be of most concern to locals, together with some of my own views. If you want to comment, you need to say so now. Write to council@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au and ask that your letter be forwarded to the relevant Council staff and all councillors.

What’s planned?

The existing ferry wharf stays where it is, spoiling the view and the beach
The current location of the ferry pontoon was a ’temporary’ fix about 20 years ago while a long-term plan was developed. In the gazetted 2009 Church Point masterplan, the ferry wharf was to be permanently relocated to the west of the waterfront store. That is why the boardwalk is so wide in front of the store and the expensive ramp and pontoon have been installed there. Transport for NSW would need to move a few moorings for the wharf to be relocated.

Instead, a new timber ramp to the existing wharf is proposed in the plan, perpetuating the temporary location with the little beach unusable. Why isn’t Council pushing forward to relocate the ferry wharf as adopted in 2009?

Gone! The old stone wall and garden bed near the phone box and along the post office boxes is to be removed. Why?

This wall is constantly used, attractive and part of the historic character. It’s really useful, being where we drop and pick up people and bags, meet, put our stuff while getting mail, having a chat, and so on.
The stone wall also has heritage value. A Heritage Impact Statement should be done for the adjacent work. The stone wall around the garden bed was built about 50 years ago, designed to align with the old wharf and reflect the original stone retaining wall built in the 1890s to support the jetty and ferry shed, now buried below the reserve.

Instead, the plans propose two new garden beds and only a very small new straight stone wall facing the road, with two longer ones in the reserve. As yet there are no design details on the materials for the new walls, but large sandstone blocks are being used everywhere at the moment. How will the proposed wall retain the historic character?

New – a long bike rail where people now sit
The rail and surrounding area are intended for the large number of visiting cyclists. This small reserve is for people, not bikes. These should be kept by the street or other spaces nearby, such as the bus lay-by opposite.
All trees except one are to be removed.
The paperbark near the Pasadena is the only tree to remain. The reason given for the removal of other trees is that their roots are problematic for the pavement and the repair of the seawall. Is it really not possible to keep any others?

Instead – planting six 'new semi-advanced native trees in tree pits'.
The current Spotted Gums and Casuarinas are local natives which give filtered shade. As yet there are no details given on what species will be used or what size the new trees will be.

Three permanent bins opposite post boxes

See item 8 on the plan, which suggests that three bins will be placed along the access to post boxes and the store. This thoroughfare needs to be kept clear and attractive. Three more bins are proposed by the ferry shed. The central area needs to be uncluttered and open for community gathering, views to Pittwater, and easy access to key points.
The design should enhance rather than reduce the historic character of Church Point, together with careful choice of materials such as stones, paving and furniture.

Now it’s over to you – what do you think?


Cancer Council Fundraiser

28 Richard Road, Scotland Island

Sunday 5 May, 9.30 am - 12 noon

This event is being hosted bySharon and Billy Dwyer.
Both cash and EFTPOS payments will be accepted.


Charity Boat Race

BYRA, Bayview

Sunday 5 May, 12 noon

The Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA) is organising an 'off-the-beach' boat race to Lion Island and back, commencing at noon, 5 May. The event is to raise funds for the Peter Loft Foundation, established to assist junior BYRA members in improving their sailing skills.
BYRA is looking for someone with a power boat to act as an extra support craft for the event. In return, BYRA will offer free food afterwards. If you are able to help, please contact BYRA Commodore Leah at lsjsinger@gmail.com.

Further information about the race can be accessed here and here.


Fire Shed Dinner

Scotland Island Fire Station

Saturday 18 May, 7 pm onwards

To buy tickets, click here

The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 21 May, 11 am - 12.30 pm

The Recreation Club runs a discussion group, meeting on the third Tuesday of each month, from 11 am to 12.30 pm in the Recreation Centre. Everyone is welcome.

Members take it in turn to design a session. For the April session CB Floyd led a discussion on whether there is such a thing as free will.

For the May meeting, Robyn Iredale is asking the group to consider strategies for the survival of pastoral nomads.

Nomadic pastoral societies face increased threats to their way of life. Population growth, climate change, loss of communal land to private developers, out-migration and civil wars are some of the threats.

Let’s focus on strategies that could be used to help preserve this way of life.


1. ‘Pastoralism: governance and development issues’, Elliot Fratkin, (1997) Annual Rev of Anthropology. (You will need to open a free account.)

2. ‘Promoting Peace and Managing Farmer-Herder Conflict: The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Agogo, Ghana', MB Setrana, (2022);

3. ‘Pastoralism under threat’ Geographical, (2023).

The group is administered via a WhatsApp group, which will be used to distribute further information about this and future discussions. If you would like to be added to the group, send your mobile phone number to editor@scotlandisland.org.au. Alternatively, contact Jane Rich (janebalmain@hotmail.com) for more information or to express your interest in participating.

The Recreation Club asks for $5 per person per attendance to defray expenses.


International Folk Dancing

Community Hall, Scotland Island

Saturday 25 May, 7 pm

The Recreation Club asks for $5 per person per attendance to defray expenses.

Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 26 May, 10 - 12 noon

To register your dog, click here

Winter Café and Market Day

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 23 June, 10 - 1 pm

To book, click here


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The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Scotland Island Residents Association (SIRA),
or the Western Pittwater Community Association (WPCA)
Original Newsletter Design:Paul Purvis & Julian Muir