ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING- New SI & Districts Community Forum Committee

Gwen Downie concluded her Annual Report as Chairman by saying it had been a busy and productive year for the Committee attending meetings, reading and following up on Council matters, preparing agenda for meetings and acting on the decisions of Forum meetings on behalf of the  Community and taking residents’ and ratepayers’ requests to Council, all levels of  governments and other authorities and working towards all manner of projects and outcomes to ensure that:

  The Berrara, Cudmirrah, Sussex Inlet and Swanhaven  District remains a safe, strong, resilient, caring  and sharing community; respecting our natural environment whilst evolving into a more vibrant, inclusive, attractive and inviting place; providing more economic and social opportunities through a variety of recreational and social cultural infrastructure that highlights the area and its connection to the water.

Gwen Thanked Vice Chairman Kerry Howes,  Secretary/Publicity Gail Drummond and Treasurer Jan Lang  for their support to her as Chairman and their commitment to the Forum.

NEW COMMITTEE for 2020/21

The Newly appointed Forum Committee announced by Returning Officer, John Lang at the AGM is as Follows:

                 Chairman- Hugh Johnstone       Vice Chairman -Russell Neeves,

                 Secretary-Sandra Gray                  Treasurer – Kerry May

Publicity Officer- No nomination received – (volunteer/s welcome)

Forum  Committee Changeover

                           Back row L to R:     Russell Neeves, Hugh Johnstone, Sandra Gray, John Lang

Front Row L to R :  Gwen Downie, Kerry Howes, Gail Drummond, Kerry May

Absent- Jan Lang

John  Lang thanked the new committee members for their acceptance of their positions and their future contribution to the community. The outgoing committee offered their support and wished the new Committee well in the forthcoming year.

Gwen thanked John for his role as returning officer and invited the newly appointed Committee members to introduce themselves to the meeting.



2019/2020 Year End Review – Some of Our Achievements and Projects

In her Chairperson’s Report to the Annual General Meeting Gwen Downie gave an overview of Forum’s business, issues investigated and resolved, projects undertaken and proposals and plans for improved or well-maintained facilities and infrastructure in our district that have been presented to Council.

Gwen also explained how Forum meetings with Council and other Shoalhaven City Council CCBs and consultation between Council and community through Forum have fostered respectful, good working relationships that have facilitated and resulted in the enhancement of the lives of residents, visitors and the local environment, both natural and built.


  • Streetscape- Opened July 2019. Forum was instrumental in having Council fully fund the master plan and complete the streetscape as one continuous work. Convinced Council to relocate  Big Green  Pots from heritage theatre forecourt to children’s playground. (Master Plan on this  website
  • MuralOur History Our Heritage Project- Officially unveiled with  Streetscape Opening ceremony.Painted local artists  of renown. Funded by a Shoalhaven Arts Board Grant for- Public ArtA Sense of Place; our Chamber of Commerce, RSL and Lions Club.This Forum Project involved the financial, in-kind and practical support of many volunteers within our community and Sussex Inlet Public School children. Extra Lighting installed in Peace Park to illuminate mural and park.
  • Footpaths, Cycleways and Shared Pathways – Sussex Inlet and District Document-  This Planning Document, under the direction of Russell Neeves, charts and prioritises Forum’s many proposed pathways to connect our district. The document is filed with Council ready for any grants or funding that might be applied to a proposal, whilst some have now been constructed.(on website)

Some recent and current projects in which Forum has played a major role:

* Chris Creek Shared User Pathway Bridge – Achieved

* Swan Lake Shared User Pathway Bridge – Cudmirrah – Requests, proposals and planning by the community have been ongoing for many years. November 2019 on site meetings with Council engineers. Council has funding  which involves undertaking a survey, more community engagement agency engagement and developing a concept design.- In active planning

* Pathway from Inasmuch to Seacrest – Forum had planned a community – constructed pathway for the lower section, however, Council now has funding for the complete length of the pathway, pedestrian  crossing  drainage works. –In active planning

*Pathway Nielsen Road to Ellmoos Avenue – A pathway connecting to paved path – Soon to be constructed

*Public Amenities Errol Bond Reserve, Cudmirrah and Chris Creek –Achieved

*Pedestrian Crossings–  two on Jacob’s Drive -and one on River Road, Chris Creek – Achieved

COASTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN – ( Draft and Scoping Study)Forum made a submission on the scoping of the plan for our district and made strong representation of why Sussex Inlet  ought  be considered not just as an extension of St Geroges Basin as in past plans.Forum categorises tSussex Inlet as a diverse and multifaceted estuarine system of waterways and environments, including  canals, and Badgee Lagoon . Prior to the submission being presented, a meeting with the Mayor and Director of Planning and Environment was held to clarify some information.

The Forum CMP sub-committee later provided feedback on the Scoping Study Report that will inform the focus of the final plan. On-going engagement with process and plan

Salt Marsh Protection: Forum arranged and provided a public forum with representatives of  SCC, State Fisheries to inform the community of the facts and reasons for the proposal and to allow residents to discuss their concerns. An open on-site meeting followed so that actual areas could be identified and marked out and further queries responded to. One of the main concerns of nearby residents was the proposed installation of bollards to mark the margins of salt marsh  to be protected from mowing. This has been resolved – no Bollards low in-ground markers to be used instead. Resolved work to commence soon.

SUSSEX INLET and DISTRICTS STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN 12015-2030- This living plan has recently been reviewed and revised and the need for new or amended policies and priorities recognised, written and published . The impact and lessons learnt from the current bushfire experience will be considered and further inform the Plan. There is to be a Public Strategic Action Plan meeting in the near future. (Document available on this website)

BUSHFIRE  DEBRIEFING- In response to community concerns regarding lack of communication and local information during the fires, we held a Community Bushfire debrief and information session at our January Meeting. WE are most grateful to Graham Williams, RFS; Eileen Lynas and Sharron Williams Cudmirrah Berrara RFS and  Sandra Arnold, Red Cross Response and Recovery Coordinartor, Emergency Services Team NSW/ACT giving of their expertise, experience and time , not only in the fires, but to address the community and answer questions from the floor.

Gail Drummond


Cinema  and Park Landscaping                Pedestrian Crossing                      Streetscape Jacobs Drive

Walking Group on  Chris Creek Shared User Pathway Bridge 2019

“Everyone is pleased with how much this has improved the walk- now we don’t have to dodge cars while crossing Chris Creek.”


   Sandy and Olive Graham on Chris Creek “Bridge”-  1950’s

Forum Mural Project – Our History Our Heritage – Unveiled 13th July 2019















INSTALLATION                                           Official Opening of Streetscape and                                                                                                                                                Unveiling of Mural


Robert Simpson         OUR  AWARD WINNING LOCAL ARTISTS         Kylie Douglass

Kerry painting the fence 

Kerry Painting the Fence                 Planning                                            Steven at Work

FORUM MURAL PROJECT – Unveiled 13th July 2019

                                            OUR HISTORY OUR HERITAGE MURAL

The Mural Project, an initiative of the Sussex Inlet and Districts Community Forum (CCB), envisaged the involvement of the community as the town’s contribution to the recent streetscape to create a sense of place through understanding of the origins of the township. The Mural was unveiled in joint official Shoalhaven City Council ceremony with the opening of the Streetscape in Peace Park, Jacobs Drive.

Conceived by Forum and with concept and design by Artist, Kylie Douglass, who with the skills of Artist Robert Simpson, Signwriter Steven Douglass and Primary School Teacher Tiina Hill, engaging and directing the Sussex Inlet School students, have created an eye-catching and engaging “photographic” timeline that reflects our district’s history pre European settlement to the 1940’s.

School students printed single hand and arm prints to create a cohesive pattern behind the foreground. These images symbolically represent people, past and present, and our surrounding land, trees and forest. The blue background represents the river

The four mural panels were painted in artists’ studios and transported between school and the various studios

The community is gratified by what has so evidently been achieved through the collaborative, intergenerational contribution and efforts of many.

The Forum was awarded the Shoalhaven Arts Board Grant 2018/9 of $10 000 for Public Art- A Sense of Place. This grant was supplemented by a donation of $2 000 from the Chamber of Commerce, $ 500 from Sussex Lions Club and $3 000 from the Sussex Inlet RSL Club through the NSW Clubs Grants process.

This financial partnership allowed us to recompense our artists and signwriter who generously, initially, took on the project in the knowledge that although there was a grant we could apply for, our submission may not be successful, but we had a pledge of $2 000 from the Chamber of Commerce that could cover materials. They gave much of their work to the project in-kind and met and collaborated with fellow Artists and the Community Forum on concept, design development and gave valuable intellectual and artistic input to the proposal. Many, many hours of planning and painting have gone into each painting and panel.

Individual community member’s contributions, in-kind delivered a project worth much more than the funding of $15 500 and we acknowledge the contribution of the Shoalhaven Arts Board, organisations, clubs, groups and Individuals who made the realisation of the vision possible.

The worth of this project is not monetary, nor is it wholly in the mural itself, but is measured in the demonstrated spirit of enthusiasm and commitment of all who supported the project be it in principle,
practical, financial or in-kind coupled with the interest and pride engendered by the historic images, and, therefore, in the achievement of the aims and objectives of this project.

To enhance the project, Forum published and distributed two supplementary documents, The Ellmoos Story and Our History Our Heritage Sussex Inlet Mural brochure to give a background to the images and timeline. The Sussex Inlet History – Heritage Study Shoalhaven poster is installed next to the mural to further illustrate and explain the early history of our district.  


The recent  one hour bus tour with Council Directors, GeneralManger, Mayor and Councillors was an excellent opportunity to bring to the attention of Council a number of issues in the best way possible. This was a great opportunity to have those who make decisions or have managerial and operational responsibility see sites and issues for themselves, just as the town walk last year helped ensure the Street scape was to be completed in one continuous stage.

Below this notice is a link to the booklet Forum presented to all the tourists at the end of the tour.


MURALS – Proposed Community Project – Town Centre Revitalisation. Forum announced to Council that Forum is in the process of writing a proposal and applying for a grant for a community hands-on project to further enhance the town centre. Murals with the theme our history, our heritage are to be installed along the metal fence bounding the Peace Park and the bakery. It is envisioned that this project will be under the guidance and advice of recognised local artists, individuals experienced in this type of artistic project and realised through the assistance and work, in kind, by local schools, clubs and groups.

STREETSCAPE – the need to have the excellent paving in Jacobs Drive to continue through driveways to complete the excellent works in the manner that the Community expects.

CINEMA – It was requested that Council consider repainting of this Council property to further revitalise the town centre.

SUSSEX BEACH– The total vegetative obstruction of the iconic view of coastline from the public lookout at Sussex (Cudmirrah) Beach  at the Surf Club was experienced by the tourists and the inability to view the beach to the right from the platform/ lookout position is a concern to the community with tourism the mainstay of our economy and so was brought to the attention of Council.

DOGS OFF LEASH CAMPAIGN – SUSSEX/CUDMIRRAH BEACH -The stretch of Cudmirrah Beach identified in the Community’s Proposed Unlimited Dogs Off Leash Beach area trial was shown from Sussex Beach. Forum has long lobbied Council for an off leash area on the beach and supported the Red Bandanna Dogs who took up the banner.

On 26th June, 2018, The Red Bandanna Dogs Campaign, a motion to Council by Deputy Mayor, Patricia White and the supporting vote of a majority of Councillors has successfully resulted in a trial to be undertaken on a section of the beach. The timing of the trial is yet to be announced.

CUDMIRRAH and BERRARA – LOOKOUTS and RESERVES – The Council tourists were taken to the headland lookouts and enjoyed the magnificent views and watching the whale that appeared – on cue-at Third Avenue Lookout. The general amenity of the reserves, and construction, safety and maintenance of the lookouts were inspected.

ACCESS FOR ALL – the suitability for, and the possibility of, Third Avenue Reserve to be developed and upgraded to be not only beach access and a Whale Watching Lookout or viewing platform, but an inclusive passive recreation, picnic and playground reserve , accessible to all was presented to the Council.

ALL THIS IN JUST ONE HOUR ! – so we presented all the Council tourists with a booklet to remind them of the tour. A link to the document follows:

Cover Page Council Tour 15.6.18          SUSSEX Tour June 2018 -Summary