How 'off limits' Bexhill quarry could become stunning asset
IMAGINE being able to ride a bike from your home to a sparkling cobalt blue waterhole, popular with Instagrammers.
Sounds divine doesn't it? And what if you could walk there?
Well, if an enthusiastic group of locals had their way, that would soon become a reality on the Northern Rivers, providing a parkland area and stop-off point alongside the rail trail.
A concept plan has been drawn up to remediate the Bexhill Quarry, with the aim of turning a problem into a community asset.
Landscape architect Nicholas Alderson said he joined together with like-minded residents to form the Bexhill Quarry Parklands group, all keen to address a growing concern over the misuse of the waterhole.
The site, formerly a brickworks, and in the years since it closed, fencing and signage had not deterred swimmers and travellers from entering the site, keen for a dip and a selfie at the beautiful site.
"It's a celebrity on the internet," Mr Alderson said of the waterhole. "It's all over social media.
"Backpackers often wander into the (Bexhill) shop asking where the water hole is."
But, he said, "it's going to end up in tears before bedtime," if the situation continued.
He said instead of trying to prevent people using the site, its popularity should be embraced, improved, and turned into an attraction.
Mr Alderson said the quarry was unique in its own right, but a proposed rail trail running through the site made it "rolled gold" for recreational purposes.
Among the members of the Bexhill Quarry Parklands group were a former civil servant, a lawyer, and a landscape architect, who have drafted a thorough concept plan.
Local politicians were also said to be excited by the plans, and their support Mr Alderson said, would be crucial to helping gain the required permission from the Lands Department.
He said addressing any safety issues at the site, which included water quality and an unstable cliff face, would be part of more detailed investigation of the proposal.
"We see this as a catalyst for Bexhill, and of great benefit to the local community."