24 March, 2014

PEARSONS LOOKOUT in the firing line again

On Monday night Council voted to accept Crown Lands offer for Council to become Trust Manager of the site known as Pearson’s Lookout described as Lot 7308 DP 1130828. 

Does this mean that Lithgow Council is dumping Pearsons Lookout?

24 March 2014
AGENDA – ORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL
Page 31

ITEM-11 CORP - 24/03/14 - PEARSONS LOOKOUT CAPERTEE

REPORT BY: M JOHNSON - MANAGER COMMUNITY AND CULTURE

REFERENCE
Min 13-30: Ordinary Meeting of Council held 4 February 2013.

SUMMARY
This report advises Council of correspondence received from NSW Trade and
Investment Crown Lands concerning works at Pearsons Lookout, Castlereagh Highway
Capertee.

COMMENTARY
Council was advised at the Ordinary meeting of Council held 4 February 2013 of the offer
of $200,000 funding by the State Member Mr Paul Toole for local road works.

Council resolved at that meeting (Min 13-30) THAT Council:

1. Accept the grant of $200,000 from the NSW State Government for local
roadworks;
2. Allocate $60,000 of the funding to the upgrade of Pearson's Lookout,
representing $30,000 from Local member Paul Toole and $30,000 from
Council.
3. If Department of Lands decline the opportunity to undertake works on
Pearson's Lookout the Council complete the works. This shall be on the basis
that Council does NOT become responsible for the lookout;
4. Allocate $100,000 of the funding for the upgrade of the access to Pearson's
Lookout with works to be completed by the RMS. The funding here is
represented by $50,000 from Local member, Paul Toole and $50,000 from
Council;
5. Allocate $40,000 to Urban reseals (Lithgow). The main project for urban reseals
here would be Lithgow Street; and
6. Thank the local member, Paul Toole, for the funding.

Council wrote to Crown Lands on 7 May 2013 seeking approval to undertake works at
the lookout and confirmation that in undertaking the works, ownership or responsibly for
the reserve would not change. The works include:

 Grading and resurfacing the road surface to the lookout
 Fence replacement
 Installation of a feature sign
 Removal of the old obelisk
  24 March 2014
AGENDA – ORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL
Page 32
Crown lands replied on 7 May 2013 giving approval to these works subject to
indemnification against any risks or liabilities arising from the works.

The works detailed above have since been completed. The RMS has graded and sealed
the road verge adjacent to the Castlereagh Highway and Council is about to install
interpretative signage at the lookout.

Council wrote to Crown Lands again on 21 November 2013 seeking approval for the
installation of a viewing platform at the lookout. Crown Lands replied on 2 December
2013 withholding approval for the viewing platform due to potential future Native Title
issues.

Crown Lands wrote again to Council on 3 March 2014 advising that they have
undertaken a review of their earlier determination in respect of the viewing platform and
would be prepared to accede to Council’s request if the viewing platform could be
designed in such a way that it could be removed at a future date as it would then be
considered a low impact future act for the purpose of Native Title, should Native Title be
deemed at some time in the future to have existed.

Crown Lands advised that their approval is subject to Council being appointed Trust
Manager of the reserve due to concerns about the expenditure of Council funds on a
reserve that Council does not control and future liability issues.

Should Council be appointed as Trust Manager there will be implications for both
financial and public liability risks. The risks arise from the potentially dangerous access
from the highway to the lookout, public liability for the lookout and platform and minor
maintenance costs included regular clean up of rubbish in the area and addressing
vandalism to the area.

Other implications as Trust Manager include as described by Crown Lands include;

 Care, control and management of the Crown reserve as permitted by the Crown
Lands Act and consistent with the purposes for which that reserve was reserved.
 All insurances.
 Environmental management including management of weeds and pest animals;
protection of threatened species and their habitat; protection of heritage items
and bushfire risks.
 Leases: Council can with the consent of the Minister, enter into leases and
licences with third parties for all or part of the reserve. RailCorp currently
operates a communications facility on the reserve.

Council will also be responsible for maintenance of the access road to the lookout and
the lookout itself and potentially any risks associated with the lookout being located
above the rail corridor.

POLICY IMPLICATIONS
NIL

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
RMS funds of $37,000 remains unspent of which $3,000 is currently committed for
interpretative signage. The viewing platform is estimated to cost approximately $30,000.  24 March 2014
AGENDA – ORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL
Page 33

Entering into an agreement as Trust Manager will expose council to possible additional
liability with respect to maintenance of the site and potential public liability issues.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
Local Government Act NSW 1993

ATTACHMENTS
1. Letter - NSW Trade and Investment Crown Lands dated 2 December 2013
2. Letter - NSW Trade and Investment Crown Lands dated 3 March 2014.
3. Map of Lot 7308 DP 1130828 showing location of Pearson's Lookout.

RECOMMENDATION
THAT Council decline Crown Lands offer for Council to become Trust Manager of

the site known as Pearson’s Lookout described as Lot 7308 DP 1130828. 

3 comments:

Bruce Upton said...

Whoever put this recommendation up has no regard to the History of Pearsons Lookout and what it means to not only Lithgow residents but all over Australia, it is visited daily from people National and International, if you vote for this motion you take away people’s pleasure and passion that goes back to the early 1800’s.
After the hard work everybody has done, it just does not make sense, it's mean for Council not to consider the worthiness of this lookout.
Council is responsible for Clarence Pirie Park at Capertee, Bins Insurance, risks at Clarence Pirie Park are just as high as Pearsons as you have trucks caravans campers all sorts of people who use the facilities.
Rate payers at Capertee and in the valley support the Lithgow facilities, we are not asking for a lot.
Has it been costed to empty bins and add to Council’s Insurance Portfolio, probably not.
In any case if you negotiate with the Insurance Company they would probably just include it without further cost.
There has been no recorded accidents anywhere in this last time I researched with RMS certainly not a black spot.
You really need to get solid evidence from who put this recommendation forward to justify this outright thoughtless mean decision.
Council’s income and expenditure needs to be looked as well, to my knowledge RMS paid for the sealing of the car park and road up to the lookout which would have been a saving to council.
Look at the profit and loss specifically for Pearsons Lookout and how much has been allocated back to revenue for staff on this project, it was the community that spent a lot of volunteer hours, it appears that council does not value this as a real cost either, total slap in the face.
CVA Inc. will be asking to see the file under Freedom of Information.
Who is driving this mean decision?
Please let common sense prevail vote NO.
22 March 2014 09:49

Anonymous said...

As some one who retired from the recycling wastmanagement evirement conscious
industry (I was man friday sort line truck driver forklift whatever)you go on road trip long weekend stop at public emendates
for break scenic look and continue respecting NO ess left behind. Sunday 30/3/14 Pearsons lookout site was ONE big shit fight Capertee vally a lli mac need a wake up call please folks even on Ausie clean up day no one bothered Sorry Billy

Bruce Upton said...

Billy, once a year residents clean up the site but visitors soon mess it up again