THE restoration of the Crookhaven Heads Lighthouse may be put on hold unless the state government commits to fund the project.
At its September 3 meeting Shoalhaven City Council moved a motion not to accept responsibility for the future management and maintenance of Crookhaven Headland Lighthouse until the NSW Government provides a budget to fully fund its restoration and maintenance.
Council also moved to write to the Member for South Coast and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services advising them of this resolution.
Council will also facilitate a meeting of the Crookhaven Headland Lighthouse Steering Committee to advise the committee of council’s position.
Built more than 100 years ago, the lighthouse has fallen into a state of severe disrepair, and has suffered at the hands of vandal attacks.
About three years ago there was a surge of community enthusiasm to save the lighthouse, and a preservation and restoration committee was set up.
The top of the lighthouse was lifted off by a navy Sea King helicopter and taken to the South Nowra jail for repairs.
In June 2010 NSW Minister for Lands Tony Kelly announced $100,000 in to help upgrade the lighthouse.
Vice-president of Lighthouses Australia Ian Clifford, who is also on the Crookhaven Heads Lighthouse Steering Committee, said he was not surprised by council’s decision.
“Council has never been keen on funding it, it was after all a Maritime Services light,” he said.
He said there has been a number of suggestions about what to do with the light and the site.
“There has been proposals put forward but I haven’t really seen a workable one that provides a reuse of the building and preserves it,” he said.
“We need to find a way to resolve the problems and conserve the building.”
He said one suggestion may be to relocate the structure.
“It could be done and the structure could be located closer to the pilot house at Crookhaven Heads which would alleviate problems with vandalism, we could at least conserve it that way.
“The problem is, it is so far from anywhere on the headland, once it became discontinued as a light the vexing question was what to do with it.
“There is no power, making it secure on the headland is hard and there are limitations to what can be cleared on the headland to make it visible from the main land.
“Obviously it needs to be secure and it’s long term future needs to be secured.
“Right now I will say I lean towards relocation as a way to preserve it.
“But who funds that?
“I think we need to be in discussions with community groups about how such a proposal could be achieved.”