In 2007, Unions NSW decided to sell the Currawong site to a company called Eco Villages Pty Limited. Eco Villages proposed to develop the Currawong site for private residential development.
In September 2007, Eco Villages requested that the Minister for Planning declare the site as being of State Significance and for their proposal to be dealt with as a Major Project under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and assessment Act, 1979. The Minister agreed to this request, which essentially meant that Council would no longer be the consent authority for the proposed development.
The Project Application for development by Eco Villages was exhibited for public comment in April/May 2008. It proposed subdivision of the site to enable the development of 25 private dwellings with associated communal facilities such as pools, a gym and open space.
To assist with the assessment process, the then NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor, appointed a panel of 3 independent experts. The Panel conducted public hearings in June 2008 to listen to public submissions on the proposal. As well as assessing the Project Application itself, the Panel was also given the task of reviewing the recommendation from the NSW Heritage Office that the Currawong site should be listed on the NSW State Heritage Register.
Pittwater Council made a detailed submission to the Panel objecting to the proposed development and calling for its refusal based on the compelling environmental constraints, planning, heritage and infrastructure issues which exist. There was also significant community opposition to it being developed, as evidenced by the number of submissions made to the Panel hearing. Council’s submission also called for the site to be listed immediately on the State Heritage Register.
Planning Minister Refuses Currawong Residential Subdivision
On Wednesday the 29th April 2009 The Planning Minister refused the proposal for a residential development at Currawong and the entire site will be State Heritage listed, and any future proposals for the site will go before Pittwater Council.
The Department of Planning have released the determination and associated documents.
Council’s submission to the Department of Planning on the Eco-Villages proposal.
Currawong Sale Finalised
Pittwater Council announced that the sale of Currawong to the NSW Government was finalised, Friday 8 April 2011. With the finalisation of the sale, an historic agreement between the Council and the government to create a new state park has been confirmed.
Mayor Harvey Rose said that six months of bipartisan negotiations between the government and the Council will result in Currawong and other key reserves forming Pittwater State Park. Mayor Rose hailed the sale of Currawong as ‘a great day for the people of Pittwater and New South Wales.’ Mackerel Beach Reserve which adjoins Currawong, Pittwater Park at Palm Beach and its ferry wharf, Governor Phillip Park at Palm Beach, Barrenjoey Beach, North Palm Beach and McKay Reserve will also become part of the Pittwater State Park.
State parks provide camping and caravan sites, bungalows and cabins, plus a range of recreational activities such as picnicking, bushwalking, swimming and watersports, cycling and fishing.