UPDATE: In a big win for Little Manly, Northern Beaches Council has accepted my motion to knock down the house at No 40 Stuart St and add the land to the beachfront park next door. Councillors also agreed to reclassify the block as 'Community Land', which safeguards it as open space.
Demolition work will not begin until 2022/23, but the reclassification process will start right away, putting an end to years of community angst that the property would be sold off.
The extra land opens up exciting possibilities for the popular park, including relocating the access ramp, which frees up more space again. As part of the Little Manly Masterplan process a draft plan has already been prepared by council staff (see below) with this possibility in mind.
This step is in line with a 40-year vision to return this part of the harbour foreshore to the public. Thanks also to residents and groups Save Little Manly Foreshore & Manly Community Forum who have fought for years to keep the vision alive.
No 40 was purchased by the former Manly Council in 2012 for $4.2M. It has since been rented out for $100,000 a year to part way offset the debt.
12/8/2019: Enhancement, Not Changes, for Little Manly
A revamp of Little Manly Reserves is one step closer after Northern Beaches Council completed a second round of community consultation this month.
But not much will change after strong community feedback that Little Manly is almost perfect as it is. Council staff have tailored the draft masterplan to make ‘minor adjustments’ only, meaning the area’s laid-back ‘look and feel’ will be kept and much-loved Little Manly Kiosk will stay the same.
Potential ‘adjustments’ include;
New toilet facilities at Little Manly Point park, located at the top near the carpark. The end of the point, now used on both sides for fishing and barbeques, will be upgraded with landscaping, shade trees, sandstone wall seating – like East Esplanade, and viewing seats. The existing playground will get a revamp.
At Little Manly beach itself, a new path will be built in front of the kiosk to fix the choke point caused by the accessible access path going right through the middle of the café. There will also be more shade trees, but none blocking the Marshall St harbour sight lines, new decking around the Norfolk Island pine, and better access to the beach down the main steps. Repositioning the swings, and adding more seating, depends on community feedback.
Images clockwise from top left: two views of Little Manly Point, space around this Norfolk Is pine to be enhanced by decking, Little Manly beach from Stuart St with clear harbour sight lines.
The unclear future of No 40 Stuart St – the council-owned block next to the open space – has generated community concern that it was about to be sold off. That won’t happen, according to Cr Candy Bingham with the Northern Beaches Council committed to protecting public open space. The situation will continue as it is – with No 40 rented out, and generating about $100,000 per annum, until the loan to purchase the property is substantially paid off.
The other council-owned house – No 34 Stuart St – is also up for review, with council canvassing ideas for community use of the property. Any new use would be limited to recreational or educational activities, with final selection to be made by a public tender process. Improvements are planned for the nearby kayak and boat storage areas to make better use of space.
Other recommendations include widening a narrow section of the footpath on the beach side of Stuart St, and a possible new footpath through No 34 to move pedestrians away from busy Craig Ave. Parking in Stuart St may be reduced from eight hours to four and traffic calming put in place. In the water, powered boats may be kept out of swimming areas.
Images: Boat ramp access to beach, narrow footpath on Craig Ave
Northern Beaches Counillor Candy Bingham praised staff for listening to the community as they drew up the plan.
“Most people love this area as it is, so what they have done very effectively is that they haven’t changed things so much as enhanced things," Cr Bingham said. “The opportunity of this round of consultation is that it will just tweak things and I’m sure the community will be absolutely delighted with the final outcome”.
Council staff will now review submissions from the consultation process and complete the Masterplan accordingly. It will be presented to Council for adoption later this year.
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.