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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 8 of 9. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 140 | 141 to 160 | 161 to 176
Author
Sydney National Parks - Climbing & POM Review

davidn
16/12/2010
1:16:00 PM
Tony, WW - put yourselves in a public servant's position (difficult, I know) and presume as this nameless, faceless public servant you don't actually do any of these recreational activities yourself, and therefore you have no particular reason to think climbing is the best thing since sliced bread in comparison to other activities that might be undertaken in the area.

Which lobby group are you going to listen to? The one that rants about 'wankers' and 'scum sucking maggots', or the group that is positive and constructive?

Public servants often search the web for info (or use google alerts, or other such fancy things), so there's probably one reading, and discounting your views (and potentially the views of other climbers as a result) right now.

The worst thing climbers can do as a group is to act like pariahs - it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

kuu
16/12/2010
1:17:28 PM
On 16/12/2010 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>On 16/12/2010 wallwombat wrote:
>>Just received an email from DECCW notifying me that the draft management
>>plan is available for viewing. Everyone who registered and made a comment
>>on that NP forum/discussion thing will be getting one.
>>
>~> then wouldn't it be good if they now receive a response from all
>who made comment before*, to the effect that it appears those comments
>were not taken seriously as feedback, in this apparently less than transparent
>process!
>
>(*We really do need to follow this up, and not let them get away with
>marginalising us.)
>
Yes! Most emphatically 'Yes'

The climbing community as a whole needs to get behind a push to "Keep the Bastards Honest". It is totally insulting and arrogant of them to invite user input into preparation of the Draft Plan then completely ignore that input. For far too long the Parks Service has operated as a 'closed shop' in this regard. All who work for the Parks Service are Public Servants. They are, ipso facto, our servants!

Whilst understanding that conservation of the resource is the primary purpose of protected areas it is also part of the charter that they provide recreational opportunities for the public. For the moment it would seem that some influential members of the Service, possibly very few in number, are able to advance a private/personal agenda that paints climbers as demoniac. This is hardly democratic and erodes the purpose of public participation in the planning process.

For those who weren't around then, or can't remember the events, release of the initial 1998 Plan of Management for Sydney Harbour National Park "slipped under the radar" and climbers suddenly discovered they could no longer legally climb at North Head. This single event was the impetus behind SRC's creation of the role of Access Officer. As the present incumbent of that position I am keen to see the entire climbing community unite to defeat the Service on this issue.


Eduardo Slabofvic
16/12/2010
2:54:03 PM
On 16/12/2010 davidn wrote:
>Public servants often search the web for info (or use google alerts, or
>other such fancy things), so there's probably one reading, and discounting
>your views (and potentially the views of other climbers as a result) right
>now.
>
>The worst thing climbers can do as a group is to act like pariahs - it
>becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I can confirm that this exact thing occurred recently in the proposed development at Arapiles matter. I was present when a Council officer was leafing through a print out of the Chockstone thread and discounting the views put forward in some of the posts.

I urge you to ensure anything you post on this thread or submit to these reviews is based on a clear justification. Similarly, you should point out where any conclusions reached in the management document are likewise not based on a clear justification.

kuu
16/12/2010
3:51:55 PM
The NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service has revived the web Discussion Forum allowing people to comment on management of Sydney Harbour National Park (SHNP)

There is no guarantee, of course, that they'll pay any more attention to comments posted here than they did in the case of the original Forum!

Nevertheless, please think about visiting the site and posting a comment: http://sydneyharbourpom.net.au/POMforum

I have created a topic [ Public Participation in planning for, and management of, Sydney Harbour National Park? ] and you can add to/comment on this or create your own topic.

BUT, note that anything posted in the above discussion forum will NOT be treated as a submission. To have input (?) to possible revision of the Draft Plan prior to finalisation you will need to lodge a formal submission.

meinmuk
16/12/2010
4:06:21 PM
Submitted:
The volume of climbers' input that was disregarded is scarcely believable. Issues such as management of vegetation, responsibility for hardware and interaction with other users of the park are easily manageable.
The idea that paying operators might be allowed to use North Head while recreational climbers would not reveals what is either callous or devious disregard for potential users of the park.
The history of climbing in the park appears to have been ignored as well.
There is no indication in the draft document that the invitation for comment was anything other than an attempt to provide a veneer of consultation.
I have no doubt that reanalysis of the available data by an agency interested in promoting recreation in Sydney would come up with diametrically opposed findings.

rodw
16/12/2010
4:52:44 PM
In the process of writing a couple page submission on behalf of Cragx.org...being a NSW focusssed forum with 1829 members registered to the forum I though it might have a bit more weight then a submission by me alone...Ill post a copy here once finished.
Philtown
16/12/2010
5:21:14 PM
Hot tip from someone who does this stuff for a living:

Consultation is about Govt being obliged to let you have your say. They don't have to agree with your opinions. Special interest group's opinions won't count for shit unless there's pressure on the POM authors from above.

Approach it from a number of ways:

1. Request that submissions are responded to (they have to prepare a Submissions Report).
2. Get your local member and the ministers involved. Kevin Greene (sport), George Souris (shadow for sport), Frank Sartor (environment - NPWS falls under him), Pru Goward (shadow environment).
3. Sydney Rockies, as our peak body, should lobby around proper process, equal access for all park users and the example of the blue mountains experience.
4. Push for removing climbing as a prohibited activity and leaving it as an uncontrolled, uncondoned one.

rodw
16/12/2010
5:28:04 PM
Okay here is my response submitted to them..over next few posts......
Response to Sydney Harbour National Park - Draft POM:

I am writing on behalf of Cragx.org members , a website and NSW climbing portal that currently has around 1829 members. I encouraged my members to respond initially to your request for public feedback via your website, and many responded directly on your website in favour of allowing climbing to once again be allowed in North Head National Park.

When reading the recently released Draft Management Plan, it was noted, with dismay that obviously, despite canvassing our opinions, little was taken on board in regards to the new draft plan which closely mirrors the preceeding plan of banning climbing within the park boundaries for fairly flimsy reasons.

Below I have quoted the main reasons as indicated in the draft plan and highlight the reason as to why I believe they are invalid as whole...

"Adventure activities such as rock climbing have the potential to conflict with other park visitors at North Head. The numbers of visitors to North Head is increasing and most visitors visit North Head for the harbour and city views, for whale watching and for viewing specific harbour events such as the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race"

You have not stated how rock climbing would conflict with other users in the park. Rock climbing has a small active community and daily visits to the site would be minimal and would hardly impact on other users. 99% of the time the rock climbing is below the cliff line, out of view of other users who would most likely be unaware of climber presence. In addition to this, on particularly busy days at North Head, closures of the cliff lines could be in place, which happen in other national parks for various reasons, i.e. In the Grampians areas are closed during certain native animal mating periods etc ... and these regulations have always been followed and welcomed by the climbing community as a whole.

This statement seems to also hint that rock climbing is not perceived by NPWS as a valid recreational activity, and marginalise it as other park users have more right than we do, and rather to even have limited opportunities for rock climbers to use the park, you simply ban it as a whole in favour of other user groups ... even though they wouldn't be affected by climbers.

"There is an acknowledged increased risk to visitors who may be enticed to the cliff edge to view rock climbers"

Has this been proven in any study, as who has acknowledged the increase on risk, or is it merely a perception that is accepted by NPWS as fact? As stated previously, most climbing activities would be well out of view of visitors to the park and most of the activities are conducted below the cliff line. There are many parks within Australia that have climbing in them, that the public may see or not see ... and have these parks shown an increase in the public getting into danger because of it?

Simply saying something is true without official studies proving it so, does not make it fact but merely an assumption which in my view is wrong.

rodw
16/12/2010
5:28:16 PM
In addition to this you can further mitigate the chance of the public seeing climbers by allowing us to place lower-off below the cliff edge where we can lower back to the ground and only gain access to the top of the cliff at designated access points way out of public view.

"Trampling of vegetation and the creation of new tracks is damaging to the environment and to the flora and fauna of the area."

Climbers spend most of their time climbing on the rock face itself or waiting at the bottom setting up to do the climb. New tracks are rarely produced by climbers who will visit an area by the usual access trails to climb particular climbs on the rock. All users have an impact, be it whale watchers or rock climbers, but the effect can be reduced by simply providing guidelines to follow on each visit. Climbers climb predefined routes which involve the same start and finish each time ... the effect is local to that climb and can be easily managed by NPWS, and the climbing community has shown in the past they are willing to help in this regard.

Cliff Care, in conjunction in the Blue Mountains, continually organise working bees to manage track care in the region. Tracks are used not only by climbers, but other user groups such as hikers. You will find the climbing community will, if approached, be active to helping mange tracks in an area and follow rules and regulations to protect Flora and Fauna in an area. Active consultation with the climbing community is needed, not the blanket ban NPWS currently imposes.

"Rescue operations are hazardous"

Rescue operations by their very nature are hazardous and I cannot see how operations at North Head are any different to possible operations in the hundreds of other climbing sites around the country that occur in other National Parks. Please show the report which states why possible rescue operations would be more hazardous if conducted at North Head than at any other climbing area in NSW or Australia were climbing is currently allowed.

"Much of the face at North Head is comprised of poor quality, ‘chossy’ rock"

North Head consists of varying rock quality. The current climbs at North head all follow the better stronger rock and avoid the soft looser "chossy" rock. Part of the challenge of rock climbing is determining the best way up a cliff avoiding the bad rock. The climbs at North Head are well established and the poor chossy rock is avoided, making this argument ill informed and void.

Summary:

North Head has a long significant history of climbing. Many iconic climbs that are an important part of climbing in NSW and Australia are found at North Head. The original release of the 1998 POM was released with little-to-no consultation with the climbing community, who suddenly found out they were banned from this significant climbing area. The recent request for submissions, prior to the draft release, gave some hope that perhaps NPWS would start a dialogue with climbers in respect to opening up at least limited access to the area. However, the latest release of the draft plan has indicated that once again NPWS will continue to marginalise a significant user group from using the park based on outdated or plainly wrong assumptions.

I urge, along with the 1829 registered users, the NPWS to reconsider the blanket-ban of climbing in the park and to start a dialogue with the climbing community that will allow access to these iconic climbs once again while fitting in with other park users. Climbing can happily co-exist with other park users, as has been shown in many other National Parks around Australia.
Rod Wills

Editor/Webmaster: Cragx.org
Mailing address: Po Box 269, Cherrybrook , NSW, 2125.
Email: admin@cragx.org

IdratherbeclimbingM9
16/12/2010
5:43:28 PM
rodw wrote;
... an excellent starting point for others to co-join with in trying to re-establish common sense into the next Management Plan.

(It has a few typo's but that is inconsequential to the thrust of the document.)

In my opinion it is worth the members of CragX citing it in their individual responses, which may only be one liners if needs be (based on the fact they have cited that document), as the way I understand the process to work, the authority actually tallies up the responses, and perhaps weights them accordingly.

Hmm.
I just noticed the Philtown post, who wrote;
>Special interest group's opinions won't count for shit unless there's pressure on the POM authors from above.

In what way? Are you saying that politics will determine the outcome regardless?
How can we target our responses to those 'above', other than through our local members?

ajfclark
16/12/2010
5:50:50 PM
I wonder if it worth pointing out that some people in other parts of Australia would travel to Sydney to do some of these routes? Is that what the whale watchers have over us? That they travel up there as tourists rather than locals and hence spend more money?

I'd certainly head up to Sydney and stay and extra day or two to do some of these routes.

kuu
16/12/2010
5:57:37 PM
Thanks Rod!

Lots of well-considered ideas there for people to think about when composing their own individual submission.

And I hope many will do so. The attitude displayed by NPWS in this latest example is very confronting. It hints at underlying beliefs within parts of the Service that question/deny the legitimacy of rock climbing as an activity to be undertaken in (NSW) national parks.

kuu
16/12/2010
6:09:30 PM
On 16/12/2010 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>
>In what way? Are you saying that politics will determine the outcome regardless?
>How can we target our responses to those 'above', other than through our
>local members?

By ensuring that when the new state Government is elected next March, the politician appointed as Minister for the Environment is our 'puppet'. It's the way things work in NSW. ;-)

rodw
16/12/2010
6:31:00 PM
On 16/12/2010 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>(It has a few typo's but that is inconsequential to the thrust of the
>document.)

Damn i had the missus proof read it as well....note to self for future reference, dont wake her up of the couch to proof anything...:)
Philtown
16/12/2010
10:04:04 PM
On 16/12/2010 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>In what way? Are you saying that politics will determine the outcome regardless?
>How can we target our responses to those 'above', other than through our
>local members?

Absolutely. The depressing state of the bureaucracy in NSW is that in the absence of political will, no change will ever get up. And the political will is completely reactionary. That's why lobbying works so well. :) There are some notable exceptions (i.e. transport), but there really is little to hold out hope for.

Going straight to the mins office is one way, but will be almost innefectual at this point in the electoral cycle. Going to the General Manager of the division within the NPWS who is responsible (i.e. will sign off) on the POM would be the best bet, but it'd probably require an existing relationship to pin them down. The timing of this POM reeks to me of the NPWS trying to slip under the radar of an incoming new minister, because the service would view it as completely uncontentious. The only way to make a change would be to turn it into a contentious issue, so the NPWS is forced to review their decision from on high.

Sigh, politics, NSW style! :/
Wendy
17/12/2010
8:36:23 AM
On 16/12/2010 kuu wrote:
>
>Nevertheless, please think about visiting the site and posting a comment: http://sydneyharbourpom.net.au/POMforum
>
>I have created a topic [ Public Participation in planning for, and management
>of, Sydney Harbour National Park? ] and you can add to/comment on this
>or create your own topic.
>
>BUT, note that anything posted in the above discussion forum will NOT
>be treated as a submission. To have input (?) to possible revision of the
>Draft Plan prior to finalisation you will need to lodge a formal submission.

Here's the formal submission link again ...
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/SydneyHarbourNPdraftPOM.htm

scoll down page to on line form or upload doc link
TonyB
17/12/2010
8:39:21 AM
Rod,

NPWS have already demonstrated that they ignor climbers, despite our dozens of submissions ... and there isn't even a whale watchers' lobby that is claiming conflict with us (".. rock climbing have the potential to conflict with other park visitors ... for whale watching...")

Note the word "potential" ... there has obviously been no conflict with whale watchers nor others. It would be easy enough just to ban climbing at Nth Head on Australia Day, when it is flooded with Hobart race watchers.

It would be worth writing direct to the minister(s), instead of the NPWS. I'm not sure but it looks like Tony Burke (Fed) and Frank Sartor ( NSW ). Perhaps someone here knows ?

I suggest that this is the thin end of a wedge. A precedent of banning climbing in this instance could easily be an excuse for banning climbing in many other areas.

I also found this
http://www.smuggled.com/NPWS1.htm

kuu
17/12/2010
8:59:36 AM
On 17/12/2010 Wendy wrote:
>
>Here's the formal submission link again ...
>http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/SydneyHarbourNPdraftPOM.htm
>
>scoll down page to on line form or upload doc link

Thanks for that Wendy, I'm getting forgetful.

And thanks also for your post on the Sydney Harbour NP forum. You elegantly demolish the spurious arguments being advanced by NPWS to justify the climbing ban.

rodw
17/12/2010
10:10:14 AM
On 17/12/2010 TonyB wrote:
> A precedent of banning
>climbing in this instance could easily be an excuse for banning climbing
>in many other areas.

Already happening, some of the excusing are taken from various other POM around Australia were they have instituted bans...tis a sorry state indeed......Id doubt MP give a rats TBH....we are to small a community to worry about voter backlash and the most of the public are ill informed enough to see us as a bunch of extreme risk taking wankers..

....but in saying that everyone needs to put in a formal submission..no mater how small.....NPWS does have to follow rules and address every submission...at least make it hard for em.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
17/12/2010
11:44:34 AM
On 17/12/2010 rodw wrote:
>....but in saying that everyone needs to put in a formal submission..no
>mater how small.....NPWS does have to follow rules and address every submission...at
>least make it hard for em.

Yeah, ... they even ask for them!

~~v

>
The draft Plan of Management for Sydney Harbour National Park will be on exhibition until 30 April 2011.

>The Sydney Harbour National Park Plan of Management offers a vision for the Park as an iconic natural and cultural landscape. The plan offers an holistic and integrated approach to the management and enjoyment of the Park over the next 10 years.

>You're invited to go to http://sydneyharbourpom.net.au/ where you can download a copy of the draft Plan of Management and comment on the Draft Plan of Managment by either of the following methods:
>
>* by submitting your comments using the online form at the DECCW website; or
>* by 'registering your details' and sending a submission via http://sydneyharbourpom.net.au,

>You can also go to the online discussion forum and either create your own discussion topic about the draft Plan of Management for community feedback or comment on other discussion topics submitted from other members of the community.

>It's your Sydney Harbour so have your say on the draft Plan of Management for Sydney Harbour National Park and forward this email to friends and colleagues so they can also have their say!


~> ... gotta love that last paragraph... It fits in well with the holistic and integrated approach to amongst other things, enjoying the Park!!

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