We are pleased to confirm that the NSW Government has made a commitment (and has presumably implemented this commitment) to cancel the oversized marina proposal which has been resisted by the community for more than a decade. It should be added that the Government’s decision appears to have been driven mainly by a desire to free up this area of the Bay and the associated shore areas so that they can be used for construction of the Western Harbour Tunnel. (See article below)

Irrespective of motive, the understanding we have now been given by our local Member is that the current marina proposal and associated lease rights are dead, buried and cremated (to quote a well known member of the same party).

Further, following use of the area for construction of the tunnel, the lands and waters will be handed over to uses which are yet to be defined but have been promised to reflect the will of the community. Whilst this sounds good, given that a week is a long time in politics, several years is an eternity, so it is the intention of the SBB Committee to work towards a better definition of the outcome and move to an agreement which cannot be tossed aside by future politicians or bureaucrats.


With the re-election of the Liberal Coalition Government, the commitment to this project now appears to have hardened. Whilst preliminary engineering studies are still progressing, it appears that the design is based around a buried tube concept for the crossing to Birchgrove. This will be rather like the first traffic Harbour Tunnel which has been in operation for a couple of decades.

What are the implications for Berrys Bay and adjacent lands?

It is understood that these will include:

  • A sheet pile coffer dam built adjacent to the Coal Loader. This will allow construction of the transition from submerged tube to rock tunnel.
  • The rock tunnel from the shoreline up to Cammeray will be spearheaded from an entrance dug into the rockface behind the existing heritage bund wall near the bottom of Balls Head Road. This operation will use all the State owned land in the area, including the flat land promised as a park, the area behind the bund wall and some or all the Woodleys site. Dog owners, runners and walkers should be prepared for the current link between Carradah Park and Balls Head Road to be cut for the duration of works.
  • Excavated material will be loaded out from the site onto barges at a new wharf facility to be built in the Bay. It is understood that this will be covered to reduce noise and dust. Barges will be towed upriver where the spoil will be transferred to trucks for final use as clean fill on other sites. The following page is from the RMS Project Update:

The timetable for the works is currently unclear, but is expected to start in a year or two and last several years.

For more information on the tunnel generally, refer to the RMS website:  https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/sydney-north/western-harbour-tunnel-beaches-link/index.html but be aware that statements contained there are viewed as political and as such, avoid highlighting negative aspects of the project. Negatives are likely to include:

  • With average air quality in Sydney sitting right on the regulated limit of 8 microgrammes of PM 2.5 particles/cubic metre of air, users of the tunnel will, on average, be exposed to above acceptable levels of pollution for the full length of the tunnel. There is no intention to treat or supplement this air for the benefit of motorists.
  • The exhaust air will be discharged near the Ernest St crossing of the Warringah Freeway. Again, no filtration, so expect increased pollution locally. And if you think that this is of little importance, be aware that air pollution is currently rated as the major cause of death around the world.

Source: RMS Brochure on Western Harbour Tunnel

  • Construction is likely to be by road headers which grind the rock and put it on conveyor belts. You may experience noise and vibration from this work during the construction period.
  • The effect on Military Road will be modest given the oversaturated nature of current usage. It will remain a busy road and there have been no promises (broken or otherwise as is the case for Parramatta Road) to reduce lanes, widen footpaths or plant trees.
  • The people on the Northern Beaches will never get improved public transport given that the Government is committing $15b+ to this tunnel system.

ISSUE 3: FLOATING DRY DOCK PROPOSAL FOR NOAKES SHIPYARD Noakes have now submitted two DA applications to locate a floating dry dock on the waters within their lease area. The first DA was withdrawn following advice from Council that it was non-compliant in its current form and did not address various issues. The new DA (57/2019) has been on display, with public comments closing on April 23. Waverton Precinct, among other community bodies, made submissions against approval of the proposal on various grounds including scale, visual, noise, smells and that the existing approvals for the business exclude on-water industrial activities. The determination is awaited. The view below is from the visual impact documentation in the DA. As can be seen, it dwarfs in size the existing buildings on the site.


The wharf of the Coal Loader is an important piece of Sydney Harbour’s heritage. There are currently proposals being considered to heritage list the Balls Head Peninsula, including the coal Loader and all its facilities. Unfortunately, the wharf is currently being demolished by neglect by RMS, a strategy used to good effect on the wharves and jetties in Berrys Bay over recent years. Every year or so a contractor removes more sections deemed unsafe or unstable.

A proposal for saving the first few landward bays of the wharf was developed by North Sydney Council. At one point RMS expressed some support for this concept, but with the upcoming Western Harbour Tunnel, there is currently no bankable commitment to implement this plan which would enable the Coal Loader to be understood by future visitors. With no wharf it just does not make sense. The Waverton Precinct is committed to facilitating this scheme as part of its commitment to the Waverton Peninsula overall.

Concept view from NSC report of 2015