The Duke Newsletter – February 2017


Local residents and various organisations are being invited to join a Master Plan Project Team to scope and generate policy directions on the use of public areas around Freshwater Beach. When finalised, the Coastal Space Master Plan will be put to the newly elected Northern Beaches Council in September 2017 for approval.

The Plan will encompass improvements for Freshwater View Estate; Undercliffe Reserve; Freshwater Beach Reserve; and the McKillop Park coastal strip from Lumsdaine Drive, South Curl, to the northern end of Freshwater Beach at Ocean View Road. Much of these Reserves have long been in need of upgrading and improvements. Friends of Freshie has continually argued that the missing boardwalk link from South Curl Curl to Freshwater Pool and the beach needs to be finally constructed. As a prelude, Council and volunteers, including Bushlink disabled workers, have done excellent work in returning the McKillop Park coastal strip to its heathland natural state.

The two children’s’ playgrounds in the Beach Reserve need to be upgraded as they haven’t had maintenance upgrades for twenty years. Heritage-listed Freshwater View Reserve, the scene of 4 deaths at Secret Rock in the last five years, needs a plan of Management and nearby Undercliffe Reserve, also needs substantial bush care to bring it back to its natural state.

The Plan does not involve consideration of the dunes.

The Friends of Freshwater has been allocated two positions on this Project Team.


The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian and Cabinet Ministers will be visiting Freshwater on Thursday, 16 March to hear directly from the community about important issues and priorities. The meeting will be held at Freshwater Surf Club.  Friends of Freshwater have been invited to attend.




A volunteer group generated by Friends of Freshie and professionally supervised by Northern Beaches Council has been working for the last two years on removing weed infestation from Freshwater’s southern headland.

With 480 hours of volunteer work already provided by local residents, we are starting to make real progress and stabilising areas that were dominated by weeds. Where once spectacular views of the Beach were impeded by lantana and morning glory, now native plants are returning.


If anyone would like to join us in our project, you would be most welcome. We work on a fortnightly basis for 2 hours, every second Thursday, and our next session is on Thursday 16 March from 1pm.



In correspondence with the Friends of Freshwater of 15/2, Optus has confirmed that the Optus Mobile facility at McKillop Park will be completely removed by 31 March 2017, at the very latest. The various contractors are currently being organised.

This is a great victory for our community in preserving the integrity of the heavily used McKillop Park public land.

 Meanwhile in order to overcome Curl Curl coverage black spots Optus is still planning to proceed with a replacement site in the Curl Curl area. Unfortunately, there has been significant delays in finalising a suitable site and obtaining the necessary clearances from NSW Crown Land and Northern Beaches Council.

These issues are now largely resolved and Optus expects to be in a position to lodge the necessary DA in April/May.

It is important to note that this DA process was also part of the consultation agreement reached with Optus by Friends of Freshie and Northern Beaches Council.

Many thanks to Samantha Ansley, Phil Curry and Peter Harley who were closely involved with this negotiated outcome.



In closely scrutinising Development Approvals, Friends of Freshie interacts with developers, owners and other parties. Often this is either within the Approval Process, Assessment Panels or the Land and Environment Court. Suffice to say that our involvement has led to some success (and failures) in this process. Clearly some developers do not welcome such close scrutiny, particularly when we extend this to ensuring that the approval conditions are properly complied with.

Recently, we received a “courtesy” call from a developer who wanted to make the point that the Friends of Freshwater were merely “troublemakers” and should better spend our spare time working for a charity rather than for the interests and amenity of the Freshwater community.

Developers have discovered that the Freshwater community, in particular, will not idly allow, as it did in the past, non-compliant developments to be approved, the consent conditions ignored, or their amenity trampled.


Various Freshwater residents have raised concerns about traffic control issues in the Village relating to the Hindmarsh Construction site.

This situation was always going to be problematic as the construction is in a critical, high traffic and pedestrian area.

When major concrete pours are occurring or equipment is being delivered involving overhead crane operations, one expects the community to be protected by adequate traffic control. This is often not the case, and pedestrians are denied access to formal crossings and are left to fend for themselves.

One alert resident has photographed a traffic controller asleep in a car while traffic control signs were in place and on-street construction activities occurring.

Not good enough!


A member of Freshie Community Garden and the Friends of Freshwater, James Partington, has turned adversity into opportunity by the simple art of baking bread.  While recovering from a major heart operation, he decided to develop skills in baking sourdough and other specialist breads. After 5 years of pursuing this passion, his bread has been awarded a silver and bronze prize at the Royal Agricultural Society professional baking competition. He now sells his bread in Balgowlah Heights under the brand Staple Bread and Necessities. Apparently his output is keenly sought and literally flies out the door.



The new three storey education facility at Harbord Public School is nearing completion. This will alleviate the substantial overcrowding of the school caused by the continuing upsurge in enrolments.

These enrolments have also placed pressure on the maintenance of existing buildings. Department of Education documents reveal that Harbord Public School, along with Manly Selective Campus, are among a list of schools in NSW with exceedingly high maintenance backlogs. HPS has a backlog of $822,000 with a yearly allocation of $69,000. By this rate it will take 12 years to clear. Manly Selective is in a similar position.




In its 13th year, this zany, wacky, boat journey between Shelley Beach and Manly attracts 100’s of entries in craft costing no more than $50. Most of these are themed and inflatable. This year’s event was held on Sunday, 26 February.


Freshwater resident, triathlete, developer and mortgage broker Denver Beven has organised the event since its inception.  He devised the event in order to raise funds for charities such as Tour de Cure. Boat paddlers pay a $50 entry fee which goes directly to charity.


Freshwater Community Bank continues its Outstanding Support for the Community.


Over the last decade, Freshwater Community Bank, with its one branch, has generated more than $2.4m in sponsorship for 70 of our community groups.  Many groups have placed their accounts with the Bank, and, in return, have shared in its revenues, 80% of which is returned to the community.

One project of which the Bank is particularly proud is its Tertiary Scholarship Program. To date, 44 students have received scholarship support for their first year of tertiary education, while 5 students have also received support for the whole of their undergraduate years. The Bank, is working directly with 9 local high schools in this program and has so far committed $275,000.

This year a Freshwater Student, Olivia Flower from McKellar Girls Campus, was awarded the Ken Ward Memorial Scholarship, as the Freshwater student of the year, and received $15,000 from the Bank.

She will use this support for her undergraduate studies at the ANU.



A landlord, who owns shops and properties in Freshwater Village on the southern side of Lawrence Street, is grandly offering to upgrade long vacant shops as part of what he calls a “Freshwater Facelift”.  It remains to be seen what will unfold. Will the “facelift” be a nip and tuck, or a major facial reconstruction? We have heard that current business tenants will be both exchanging sites or moving into renovated premises, but apparently no major reconstruction is to occur. 


Our article on the demise of the weatherboards in Charles St. brought about a wonderful and nostalgic discussion from people who had either lived in them, or had enjoyed barbeques and dinner parties in them.  Sadly, no more.




The Friends of Freshwater is one of the biggest apolitical activist community groups on the northern beaches. If you wish to join or renew membership please renew or join here.



One Reply to “The Duke Newsletter – February 2017”

  1. rkeeptest says:

    This was very good work

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