On tonight’s Agenda of Randwick City Council’s Ordinary Meeting is a proposal to expand Botany Cemetery into Bumborah Point – foreshore open space in Yarra Bay (Crown Land Lot 4858 including 2 registered Aboriginal maddens). It is being presented as a ‘swap’ for the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) Licence over Lot 1079 of the Market Gardens. In reality Lot 1079 is a liability for the Cemetery as they cannot expand into this heritage listed floodplain and instead are incurring ongoing expenses for noxious weed removal.
Bumborah is a swimming, fishing and diving area serving a catchment with a growing population. Locals and visitors from all around Sydney use it. There is parking along the NSW Ports managed Prince of Wales Drive and in the Council car park on Military Road making it more readily accessible than beaches nearby. It is on the Eastern Beaches Coastal Walk which finishes at Molineux Point at the end of Prince of Wales Drive. The section around Bumborah needs to be brought up to standard for wheelchair access and cycling and natural, cultural and historic heritage items protected. At present the path around Yarra Bay leads through the Council carpark and onto the footpath at Military Road. Under the Cemetery proposal access would be restricted to a strip of land around the beach and rock platform. There is no description of the size of the ‘strip of land‘ that would remain but it would be overlooked by graves.
The conclusion from Council’s report:
SMCT has advised of three actions it has undertaken to facilitate the preparation and future submission of a planning proposal for cemetery use in the Lot 4858 at Bumborah Point, namely, (1) the signing of a Deed of Agreement with the Local Aboriginal Land Council to remove Aboriginal Land Claims in exchange for an Aboriginal Cemetery over the land; (2) the relinquishing of SMCT’s licence for cemetery use over the market garden land; and (3) the offer to Council of a strip of foreshore land for access and recreational use. In view of this, SMCT has requested Council’s in principle support for a rezoning of Lot 4858 for cemetery use.