09 Aug 2019
At either end of Cumberland State Forest there are two residential cottages, which were previously used by staff and their families who lived on-site as part of their forest management roles.
These former caretaker cottages on Castle Hill Road and Oratava Avenue are homes with cleared backyards that are separated from the public areas of the forest and have never been available for public access.
The cottages were built last century to house caretaker staff and their families and remain in their original condition today. Technology has changed since the days of caretakers living on site and Forestry Corporation no longer needs these houses. In fact, these houses have been sitting empty for more than five years, diverting resources from the management of the public areas of the forest.
When Cumberland State Forest was established 80 years ago, it was common practice to declare any property managed by the then Forestry Commission as State forest, including buildings in the middle of towns such as Coffs Harbour and Batemans Bay that were not in the vicinity of any forest. In line with the practices of the time, these cottages were classified as State forest despite not being forest.
Forestry Corporation has applied to Council for these two house blocks to be rezoned from ‘forestry’ to ‘low density residential’ with a height limit equivalent to a two-storey house. This is a more accurate zoning for these blocks that reflects how they have always been used.
Once the zoning is consistent with the traditional use of the blocks, Forestry Corporation will look at subdividing the titles for these cleared blocks from the forest, so they can continue to be used as two-storey houses with backyards, consistent with the neighbouring homes in these two local streets.
Cumberland State Forest has four picnic areas, free barbecues, walking trails, a visitor centre, community shelters, a nursery, café and Tree Tops Adventure Park. Forestry Corporation offers several public programs at Cumberland State Forest, including a volunteer bush regeneration program, school excursion programs and school holiday activities.
The proposal to rezone the two cottages adjoining the forest does not affect or detract in any way from these facilities that are available to the community in Cumberland State Forest.
If you would like more information, contact us.
Media contact: 02 9407 4265/ 0408 779 903