Kiama Coast Walk: 20 year vision

Left: Peter Stuckey and Howard Jones at what will be the southern end of the Walk

When Peter Stuckey and Howard R Jones get together, the talk inevitably turns to their almost 20 year effort to make the Kiama coastline accessible to the public.

At the inception of the project, Peter was working for Kiama Council as Manager of Parks & Environment and Howard was a councillor, and chair of the Walking Tracks and Cycleways Committee.

“Peter was the Council officer in charge of the project from the early Nineties up until 2010, and I know how much commitment was involved,” says Howard.

It took drive and tenacity to make the first stage requiring land acquisition, from Loves Bay to Werri Beach, a reality in 2009.

Their biggest fear is that the funding available from the State Government for the acquisition of coastal land will dry up before the final stage is completed.

“I’m really excited that Council has endorsed the route for Stage II (from Boat Harbour to Gerroa),” says
Peter, who since retiring from Council has been a community representative on the Walking Tracks and Cycleways Committee.

“It has taken a lot of work to get to this point, and I’m concerned about the need to keep moving forward.”
Howard agrees.

“I’ve not been involved the Stage II work, apart from being in the cheer squad.

“The sooner we can get this process underway the better.”

The route will require acquisition of three parcels of private land, with the funding coming from the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme, which was established to increase public ownership of important coastal land.

“There has been an indication that the funding is limited and will run out soon, so that is what is playing on our minds,” say Howard.

The extension of the Walk is not only a priority of the Walking Tracks and Cycleways Committee, but also Destination Kiama, which has included it in its Tourism Opportunity Plan.

At the December meeting of local industry members, the Acting Tourism Manager, Megan Hutchison highlighted the interest the Kiama Coast Walk is attracting from potential visitors.

“Its page is the most viewed on our website, and it is also where people stay the longest.

“We’ve put together a digitised Google map to guide people along the way.”

A video of the Walk has also been made.

Beyond Gerroa’s Black Head, existing public reserves managed by Council would provide links to Seven Mile Beach, the National Park, the Municipality’s southern boundary and potentially further south to Shoalhaven Heads.

Council expects to make its submission for funding in January.

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