A faint flicker of hope for lighthouse

THE Crookhaven Heads Lighthouse steering committee has been disbanded and plans to continue the restoration of the historic Crookhaven lighthouse or establish a viewing platform at the location put on hold indefinitely.

However, the area is still on the Shoalhaven Tourism Board’s radar.

Chairperson Catherine Shields said it was not the death knell for the structure, saying there were many opportunities for the area, including establishing a coastal walk.

The steering committee was disbanded at a meeting at Shoalhaven City Council on Thursday after nearly four years working on the lighthouse restoration.

A request by the committee for state government funding to establish a viewing platform at the location was also rejected.

“I’m keen to take it to the tourism board that we look at creating a coastal bushwalk in the area,” Ms Shields said.

“There are already some wonderful walks in the area and I’m certain we could link this area into the Round the Bay Walk at Jervis Bay and other walks at Abrahams Bosom Beach and Beecroft Headland.”

Ms Shields said she would love to see a walk from the Penguin Head headland at Culburra Beach, around to the lighthouse at Crookhaven Head.

“It is a spectacular walk and I would like to see a pop-up cafe located at the parkland near the pilot house,” she said.

“I can’t see why we couldn’t eventually get the funding to turn it into something like the Byron Bay lighthouse walk.

“Of all the tourism attractions around Byron Bay, the lighthouse walk is the most visited.

“There are other ways to approach it. While we may not have the lighthouse structure restored or a viewing platform built, we could turn the walk into something. It could include explaining the heritage nature of the building. And the view is still there and it is spectacular.

“Most of our villages in Shoalhaven suffer from the lack of tourism infrastructure and this is just the sort of thing we need to do give tourists another reason to stay another night in the area.

“It would not be creating ugly buildings or anything like that. It is about packaging and marketing a beautiful outdoor experience.

“When one door closes, another opens.”

Ms Shields said there was still money to be spent on the lighthouse structure and while it would still be maintained, the question remained as to what would happen to the actual light that is being restored.

“That is something the tourism board will take the lead on. We will consult with Crown Lands and Departments of Lands, council and, most importantly, the community as to what we should do with the actual light being restored,” she said.

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