Community calls on Council as black swan habitat threatened



Locals have called on Northern Beaches Council to address concerns regarding the impact construction of an aquatic boardwalk in Narrabeen Lagoon is having on the habitat of the area’s black swans.

Emeritus mayor David James OAM says the current works, which include drilling into the rock shelf to install structural supports and the use of motorised barges to transport materials, are causing water turbidity from stirred-up seagrass as well as excessive noise.

According to Mr James, such works have likely resulted in the dispersal of the swan community that once used the shallow waters for feeding and breeding.

“We were shocked by the industrialization that’s going on in this peaceful little bay,” Mr James tells Peninsula Living.

“Almost by a miracle, I counted 91 swans a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, most of them seem to have gone.”

As a result of Mr James’ and other residents’ concerns, Councilor Vincent de Luca took questions to Council regarding how the works are being carried out and the impact on local bird life.

Despite the Questions on Notice being included in the June agenda, Cr de Luca says they were not responded to at the meeting due to the complexity of the issues presented.

“Some of the concerns regarding the works are legitimate and further analysis of the engineering and environmental impact need to be done,” Cr de Luca states.

“Pittwater and Warringah councils spent millions trying to improve water quality to bring back the swans. This could be a waste of that money.”

The final design for the aquatic boardwalk was accepted in December 2018, despite the opposition of many locals and environmental groups.

The plan responded to the safety issue posed by the narrow section of trail adjacent to Wakehurst Parkway.

According to the initial March 2017 design papers, the existing path could not be widened without removal of all vegetation along the riparian zone and negative impact to Indigenous artefacts. The embankment was also found to be too unstable to support a cantilevered structure.

As such, Council decided on an aquatic structure that was suggested to “minimize environmental impact” while allowing for an “aesthetically pleasing” recreational experience.


Stephanie Aikins

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