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Council has been invited by the Aboriginal Land Claim Investigation Unit of the Department of Industry to provide comment on an Aboriginal Land Claim (the Claim) for Dee Why Lagoon (Claim No. 6966) .

The Claim was made by Metropolitan Land Council on 16 June 2003 over land identified as Part Lot 7056 in DP 1023866.

It is proposed to object to the Claim on the grounds that Council had an interest in the land at the date of the Claim (and maintains that interest) that the land is lawfully used and occupied and serves an essential public purpose.

The Claim has been lodged on Crown Land Reserve 56146, in particular the bed of Dee Why Lagoon, the adjacent saltmarsh and dunes, and a small area of reclaimed land currently used for recreational purposes.

This land has been continuously used for environmental protection and public recreation since at least 1964, as evidenced by the following:

  • The Dee Why Lagoon Conservation and Preservation Committee developed a Management Plan for the Lagoon in 1964 which emphasised wildlife conservation and low key passive recreation.

  • In 1969 the National Parks and Wildlife Service prepared a Plan of Management for the Refuge, which recommended that Council enter an agreement with the Service for Dee Why Lagoon to become a Wildlife Refuge in order to give the Refuge the protection of the then Fauna Protection Act 1948.

  • The Dee Why Lagoon Wildlife Refuge (Number 373) was officially gazetted on 2 March 1973, and is now considered under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

  • The Dee Why Lagoon Wildlife Refuge Plan of Management was adopted in August 2002. Its vision is to preserve the natural appearance of the lagoon edge, conserve a significant natural area and provide a range of low key, predominantly passive, recreational and educational opportunities complementary to the Refuge’s natural heritage values.

  • The Dee Why Lagoon Estuary Processes Study was adopted in 2001, and the Dee Why Lagoon Estuary Management Plan was well underway on 16 June 2003 when the Claim was lodged. These documents identify the important issues for Dee Why Lagoon as: protection and management of its environmental values, issues associated with breaching and flooding and balancing recreational use. Based on the above documents, the former Warringah Council carried out active management of the area including:

  • Bush regeneration on dunes and saltmarsh for environmental purposes

  • Maintenance of recreational access paths and fences behind and through the dunes

  • Exclusion of entry to the lagoon foreshore and waterbody to protect nesting bird habitat Use of southern (grassed) portion of claim area as overflow car park and recreational area. As the Claim was submitted to the Department of Lands on 16 June, 2003, and as the land has been used for environmental protection and public recreation since at least 1964, the land has been lawfully used and occupied prior to the land claim being submitted to the Department of Lands. THE SITE IS NEEDED OR LIKELY NEEDED FOR ESSENTIAL PUBLIC PURPOSE The site under claim and surrounding reserves are needed for flood management, environmental management and recreational use.

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