THE fate of Penders has been decided with the historic Myer House official designated as commercial holiday accommodation and the structure known as The Barn remaining open to the public for day use.
The 220 hectare property known as Penders is situated inside Mimosa Rocks National Park was gifted to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) by former owners Ken Myer and Roy Grounds in 1976.
They maintained the lease of a home (known as Myer House), garden and barn for their families until the lease expired in January 2011.
Since then the future of the property has been hotly contested, with the community group Friends of Bithry Inlet (FoBI) taking on the fight to make the area public use.
Relatives of Mr Myer and Mr Grounds also weighed in on the fight, with Mr Grounds son Marr saying he would rather see The Barn “burned down” than have it used commercially.
In September 2012 the NPWS held a community workshop regarding Myer House and The Barn and from that formed the Penders Reference Group under the auspices of the Parks Service.
The group formed as a result of the public workshop comprises two members from FoBI, one representative from the local Aboriginal community, and four members of the wider community as well as NPWS staff.
After considering the views shared in the workshop, this month the NPWS confirmed plans to have Myer House available for holiday rental accommodation and to maintain The Barn for public day use.
According to NPWS regional manager Tim Shepherd the department was “celebrating a spirit of good will and some positive outcomes after last year’s Penders community workshop” with the FoBI.
However Phil Bramley from FoBI was not putting such a positive spin on the decision.
“We regret the loss of Myer House to commercial tourism but we are gratified The Barn was saved and did not meet the same fate,” he said.
“We formed the group to speak out against the growing commercialism within National Parks so we are not happy to see Myer House become private holiday accommodation.”
Mr Shepard confirmed that the renovations on Myer House are almost complete and an online booking system for holiday accommodation at the property will open soon.
"The Barn will be retained as a public shelter and low-key day use area,” Mr Shepherd said.
“September’s workshop was positive and we are now implementing decisions that are stronger and better because everyone’s voices have been heard.
“Over the years there have been some challenges managing this section of Mimosa Rocks National Park, but our meeting cleared the air and I’m confident the spirit of cooperation will prevail.”