The Lower Hawkesbury Aquatic & Recreation Association (LHARA) was established in 2019 and includes representatives of Brooklyn-based sailing and paddling clubs and Brooklyn Community Hall Project Committee.

Boating clubs have been in discussion since 2017 to establish shared facilities at Parsley Bay to improve access and security and to better engage children and young people in Brooklyn and the lower Hawkesbury river communities and provide a greater opportunity for learning and fun, especially through upper primary and into secondary schooling.  In early 2019, the Brooklyn Community Association ( BCA) & Hall Committee discussed an expanded concept to include a community hall.

The BCA discussed the proposal at its meetings in June 2019 where the concept was supported in principle. Again, at the September 2019 meeting a detailed presentation was made including draft drawings and plans. Information pamphlets were distributed at the September meeting, the Brooklyn Spring Fair, and a door knock/ letterbox drop at homes adjacent to Parsley Bay.  There are information pamphlets available at the Cottage opposite the railway station for those interested.

Early planning has identified possible income from a kiosk on the ground floor, and midweek daytime use of the first floor by school groups attending a day program focused on environmental, heritage, and PDHPE studies. Operational, repair and maintenance costs would be offset by this income. It is proposed that government grants (educational, sport and recreational) could assist.

Community use spaces on the first floor have been drawn for flexibility. Seating for 150 would be feasible with a retractable internal wall “open” for uses such as school visits, and traditional community events like trivia night, soccer dinner dance and end of year school assembly that need a bigger area.  With the internal wall “closed”, two smaller groups could use the facility at the same time, say, exercise groups, meetings, or seniors events/learning.

It is not an event or entertainment center; it won’t have a liquor license or gambling machines; it won’t be used for corporate events or school formals.  The primary objective is a community facility with the opportunity for some income from learning and recreational activities for people of all ages, and a low-key kiosk catering to locals and visitors to Parsley Bay.

The facility could be developed in partnership with Hornsby Council. Detailed design and engineering are needed for a development application.  An application will need to address matters such as traffic and parking concerns, potential noise and visual impacts, and bushfire hazard. It would go through an extensive planning assessment, and full community consultation.

A few queries have been raised about what is intended for the facility. The Parsley Bay Centre Concept Proposal flyer (September 2019) sets out some of the basics and is available at the Cottage opposite the railway station. In addition, the following information is provided:

  • The proposal has not progressed beyond concept. Discussions have been held with Council and MPs to gauge viability and funding options.
  • Any development application would be subject to full community consultation/ public exhibition – including the opportunity to make submissions.
  • Whilst the concept drawings show a kitchen/servery, it is not proposed to apply for a liquor licence.
  • It is anticipated that community use spaces could be made available for hire where proposed usage is consistent with the development conditions, and objectives of the facility.
  • Intensification of use of this area, and associated traffic and parking, has been identified as a constraint. The ground floor boat shed would cater to existing weekend use/ users of Parsley Bay (i.e. sailing & paddling clubs) and therefore no difference to current usage.  The proposed usage of the first floor Community facility is mainly Monday to Friday when access and parking at Parsley Bay is generally not an issue.