North Head is under the spotlight with plans unveiled for large sections of the headland.
The plans for North Head Sanctuary - the central area of the headland - are particularly grand. This section is managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the Federal Government agency tasked with preserving and rehabilitating defence and other Commonwealth lands around Sydney Harbour. It contains a large number of military buildings and sites, including the former army barracks and parade ground, and is highlighted in the map below. The rest of North Head is State Government land, which is managed by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW).
The plans for North Head Sanctuary would see empty buildings adaptively re-used, a public event space in the former parade ground, a ‘world-class’ interpretive centre, less intrusive parking, more walking paths and more bushland. If it all went ahead we would get an Environmental Education Centre and the Other Officers Mess (the big ‘barracks’ building) would be reclaimed from the possums.
Concept plans for the North Fort and the Artillery Barracks precincts are below.
However none of this is funded and commercial partnerships will need to be made. One of those partners may be Northern Beaches Council, who have already started talks with the Trust to establish a new Environment Centre.
Consultation with the community and stakeholders will be necessary to determine appropriate commercial uses for buildings on site. As well, the site has Aboriginal, military and of course, environmental significance, which must be respected.
Details and the chance to contribute are here.
National Parks and Wildlife (NSW) have presented more modest plans for North Head Scenic Area - the headland's car parks and public look outs.
The plan focuses on visitor access and safety and includes: reconfiguration of the car parks to provide more accessible parking spaces; installation of pedestrian crossings and a path; and expanded landscaped areas for visitors to admire the incredible harbour views. A 20kph zone would apply to the carpark and lookout area, starting just west of the Bella Vista cafe. The plan is costed at $3.9M and is open for comment.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.