In 2007 the New South Wales (NSW) State government granted a 52-year lease to a developer allowing them to build lodges, swimming pools, restaurants and a conference centre in 3 portions of Killalea State Park on the NSW South Coast. The park includes two famed surfing spots – “The Farm” & “Mystics” which together have since been recognized as a National Surfing Reserve – only the 5th such reserve in Australia, joining the likes of Bells Beach in Victoria. This proposal, which was initiated by a legal loophole, was immediately rejected by the local community and received national press coverage. The state park is highly esteemed not only for its recreational value but also for its heritage, aesthetic, environmental and social value. The state park is seen by many as a “haven” from the dense residential development, which hugs its boundaries.
The development would have been the first of this magnitude in an Australian state park which are said to exist in order “to provide access to some of the most beautiful and pristine locations in Australia for recreation”. This development would have likely broken this image.
The local Wollongong/Kiama chapter of Surfrider Foundation Australia formally aligned itself with the “Save Killalea Alliance” – a strong community group that included a number of organizations including the local Greens political party and the South Coastal Trades & Labour Council. This alliance worked tirelessly and met regualry throughout this long winded and dynamic battle. The Chapter completed a number of fundraising and awareness activities including selling t-shirts, petitioning, attending protest meetings, updating our members and establishing relationships with corporate sponsors who also opposed the development. After over 3 years of community campaigning the development was “officially shelved” by the Minister for Planning in May of 2010 to the relief of many.