Bundeena bush road paper trail

SUTHERLAND Shire Council is trying to clarify the ownership of a road at Bundeena that only exists on paper.

The road, Sussex Street, is adjacent to the 5.6 hectare parcel of land known as Spring Gully that was recently sold by Scouts Australia NSW.

New owner, RVA Australia Pty Ltd, intends to build a small scale eco-tourism development on the land.

RVA wants to join Sussex Street to the site to create an asset protection zone and minimise the environmental impact of the development.

Sussex Street is known as a "paper road" — a road that remains undeveloped or unmaintained and is thought to belong to the council.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service also wants the "paper road" transferred to it as part of a land swap with Sutherland Shire Council.

The council and the service discussed a possible land swap of the council's former sanitary depot at 10-40 Sussex Street in exchange for three playing fields within the Royal National Park at Heathcote, Loftus and Grays Point.

The service indicated it would like parts of Sussex Street included in the land swap.

This proposal is supported by the Spring Gully Protection Group, which opposes the closure and sale of Sussex Street to RVA Pty Ltd.

The council is trying to establish who actually owns Sussex Street, which was part of the area's original private subdivision of Owen Byrnes' 400 acres in 1886.

The law states councils can apply to close a council public road opened after 1920. Prior to 1920, roads in a private subdivision of freehold land usually remained in the name of the original subdivider.

Spring Gully Protection Group member Mark Da Silva said Sussex Street was zoned E2 environmental conservation because of its high environmental value.

"Sussex Street is heavily forested and contains a large, dense stand of bloodwood mallee many hundreds of years old. It should be transferred to the national park along with the former sanitary depot land," he said.