Four of the historic fishing shacks will be demolished.
Four of the historic fishing shacks will be demolished.

Some shacks will get the axe: Councillors make the call

Four of the historic fishing shacks on the Kalang River at Urunga will be demolished.

The development application for their removal was approved unanimously by Bellingen Shire Councillors at their recent meeting.

In total six buildings at the Atherton Drive Reserve will be pulled down - four of the fishing shacks and an old scout hall and boatshed.

The matter had been delayed due to an administration error.

RELATED: Council admin error delays demolition debate

The cabins have divided public opinion over the year - some describing them as iconic structures providing a link to the town's heritage, while others see them as dangerous eyesores taking up valuable public land.

The structures to be demolished have been deemed a risk to public safety and have been the subject of vandalism and unauthorised occupation.

Old fishing shacks on the Kalang River at Urunga.
Old fishing shacks on the Kalang River at Urunga. TREVOR VEALE

The work is estimated to cost $240,000 and was approved based on a number of specific conditions including the presence of a Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council officer at all times to ensure Aboriginal Cultural heritage is identified, managed and conserved.

If any Aboriginal object (including evidence of habitation or remains) is identified, all works shall cease immediately.

Sunrise and seagulls at Urunga. The boardwalk is a real drawcard for the village.
Sunrise and seagulls at Urunga. The boardwalk is a real drawcard for the village.

The work will also include decommissioning the onsite sewage management systems associated with the buildings to be demolished; vegetation pruning and clearing to enable demolition; and remediation works within five metres of each building to treat asbestos and zinc contamination of the soil.

Once the work is complete, seven of the fishing shacks will remain - five have existing use arrangements in place and two will be assessed for a range of future use options.

The buildings are all located on the banks of the river within the peninsular of land known as the Atherton Drive Precinct.

One of the old fishing shacks on the Kalang River at Urunga.
One of the old fishing shacks on the Kalang River at Urunga. TREVOR VEALE

The precinct is part of Bellinger Heads State Park. There is a Park Trust and this trust is jointly managed by the NSW State Government (Crown Lands) and Bellingen Shire Council.

Several years and rounds of public consultation culminated in the release of the Master Plan For Atherton Drive Foreshore Precinct in October 2018.

The masterplan outlined a number of priorities including urgent riverbank erosion and bank stabilisation works and work on the Urunga Lido tidal pool - much of which has already been completed.