Stakeholders and Issues to Address
Issues to Address
Since 1949 Australian Canoeing (AC) has been the Peak Industry Body for canoeing in Australia. They are very supportive of the idea of a Woronora River Canoe Trail.
Formed in 1953, the peak state body is also extremely supportive of the idea and keen to be a partner. Canoe NSW help to provide training and implement the AC award scheme for guides, instructors, and participants. They see the Woronora as being a suitable river for a prototype Canoe Trail in NSW because of:
- The proximity of the river to urban Sydney
- The location of access facilities in the central reach of the river
- The position of the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club facility on the banks of the river.
Sutherland Shire Canoe Club
The local canoe club was established in 1972 and has been based in Jannali Reserve at its current location since 1980.
The SSCC's mission is "to promote recreational canoeing in the Sutherland Shire by providing a facility and safe environment where participants of all ages can learn the basic skills in all types of canoe and kayak to further their enjoyment of not only the waterways of the Sutherland Shire but all the rivers of Australia." They have a number of qualified instructors and coaches and are willing to assist in the establishment of a Woronora River Canoe Trail. The Club fully supports the trail concept, seeing it as a way to encourage more canoeists, potential members and assist in the Club's long term plan to set up a Canoe Centre for Sutherland Shire at the northern end of Bonnet Bay Reserve next to the boat ramp.
Lilli Pilli Kayak Club
Formed in the early 1960s, the Lilli Pilli Kayak Club promotes mainly competitive canoeing and kayaking including sprints, marathons, middle distance, whitewater, flat water, slalom, but they are keen to acknowledge the worth of a recreational canoe trail. Their 40 plus members utilise the Woronora River for training and races because of its sheltered conditions.
The Local Community
The local community is likely to benefit considerably from the establishment of a canoe trail. Virtually every waterfront property along the river has a canoe or kayak.
The Woronora Valley Precinct Residents Association have indicated their preference for canoeing/boating against walking/cycling as the way to explore the more environmentally sensitive areas reaches of the river upstream of Deepwater.
The Star Boatshed hires out canoes, kayaks and small boats and is ideally placed to benefit financially from an increase in visitors. Since the construction of the high level road bridge across the river in 2000 there has been a steady fall-off in casual customers, as traffic no longer has to drop down into the valley.
Other businesses are likely to benefit including the Woronora RSL Club and the Riverside Café and Woronora Caravan Park
Sutherland Shire Council
Council manages a range of assets along the river foreshore including the boat ramps and car parks at Prince Edward, Jannali and Bonnet Bay Bay Reserves - the main access points for the trail.
In the case of The Brisbane River and Bremmer Canoe Trails in Queensland, Ipswich City Council was responsible for promoting the trail through education and publicity materials.
The support of council will be vital to help fund a brochure and manage any increase in use of Reserves.
Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council
The entire Woronora River downstream of Heathcote Road below the high water mark is currently under claim by Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council, under the Aboriginal Lands Rights Act 1983 legislation. Also the Land Council has lodged claims on crown land along both banks of the river.
Whilst DIPNR is investigating the claims no development can take place without the consent of the Land Council. This includes the construction of any new canoe launching facilities such as floating timber slats.
There is an opportunity for involvement of the Land Council and the indigenous community in the future management of a Trail including organised guided tours focusing on the significance of the river for Aboriginal people.
The large natural areas of the upper Woronora catchment provides an important source of clean water to counterbalance the polluted water emanating from the urbanised lower catchment and the larger Georges River catchment. While the lower estuary is fairly rapidly "flushed" (every two to five days) by the Georges River water, the water is generally of poorer quality. However in prolonged dry spells there is little inflow from the freshwater river and/or the immediate tidal catchment.
Certainly canoeing should be avoided for up to three days after rain when stormwater run off and sewage overflow contribute to poor water quality in the river.
The gross pollutant trap in Forbes Creek is close to the central launch point for the Canoe Trail and increased maintenance of the trap is desirable. Local people feel that the trap has caused more erosion and led to muddying and siltation of the lower creek.
- For general safety, Canoe trail literature will advise that canoeing should not take place in the event a flood.
Although the existing access provision is quite extensive, it is suggested that as part of the project better facilities be provided for disabled canoeists, including separate vehicle parking and an on/off water access facility eg pontoon.
Cultural Heritage and Significance
The river and its shores have played a central role in the lives of Aboriginal people, providing places for birth and ceremonies. Also Aboriginal people were dependent on the river for food supply, including fish, worms, freshwater mussels, prawns, and yabbies.
Links to other recreation activities
- Primary e.g. swimming, and secondary e.g. boating, picnicking.
- Increased pressure on number of car park spaces at Prince Edward Park and Jannali Boat Ramp, in particular.
Plan of Action
- Develop the concept map
- Involve the community along the river - WVPRA, SSCC, SSC, individual residents
- Field investigations and consultations
- Consult regarding points of interest
- Develop design of trail markers
- Seek funding to produce a brochure - SSC, Star Boatshed, NSWCanoeing, NSW Sport and Recreation.
- Seek funding to provide timber ramps next to concrete boat ramps in Prince Edward Park and Jannali Foreshore Reserve