The top half of Hungry Point Reserve is expected to be open to the public in six to nine months following state government funding of more than $545,000.
Works on the site of the former fisheries research centre, which the state government closed in 2013, will include picnic facilities, a new toilet block, landscaping, additional lighting, fence relocation, minor roads repair and signage.
Lands and Forestry Minister Paul Toole and Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman announced the funding, which follows smaller sums for maintenance and to draw up a masterplan.
Mr Toole said the public would be able to make use of the heritage-listed site for the first time in more than a century.
A staged plan, prepared by the Hungry Point Trust in conjunction with Sutherland Shire Council, details works on the top half of the site and connecting paths and integration with Darook Park and Salmon Haul Reserve.
Mr Speakman said the grant of $545,197 covered Part A of the plan.
“The trust applied for the the exact amount given,” he said.
“Parts B and C (costing $166,552 and $493,219) are on council land and I am told by [general manager] Scott Phillips they are in council’s four-year works program.
“Part A should take six to nine months from today.”
Mr Speakman said funding for the bottom half of the site would come from use by government agencies and low-level private operations such as a cafe.
“The council was invited [by the state government] to take over the site, but elected not to do so,” he said.
Mr Speakman said Marine Rescue NSW was already based there and would soon be joined by the State Emergency Service (SES), which is based at Heathcote.
“The SES want another location to provide better response times in the east of the shire,” he said.
“When Kurnell was hit by the tornado in December, 2015, it took them them quite a while to get there.”
Mr Speakman said the Water Police and NSW Maritime were no longer interested in establishing operations at Hungry Point Reserve.
“I understand the Water Police were not satisfied the site was secure enough to have firearms stored there, and NSW Maritime went somewhere else,” he said.
Mr Speakman said, with these decisions and former trust chairman Kevin Schreiber leaving the shire a year ago, the Hungry Point Reserve Trust needed new members.
“After that happens, I would hope the trust will quickly call expressions of interest for low level operations on the bottom half of the site,” he said.
”I think private funding will be quite significant, but all the elements of the masterplan may not be possible immediately.”
In December, 2016, the council decided to reject a request to take over management or ownership of the reserve without a big cash injection by the state government.