MAMBO Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group members hope the now-weathered banner that hung for three years while they fought to save the environmentally significant site will be preserved in perpetuity.
Group secretary Kathy Brown said it was "wonderful" to see about 50 community members and seven dogs attend the Sunday removal of the Save Mambo Wetlands banner, which Guy Innes created in 2016 and has hung on the corner of Port Stephens Drive and Foreshore Drive at Salamander Bay ever since.
"People have said 'It's going to be bought back, take it down, it's a bit ugly' but we wanted confirmation," Ms Brown said.
"It was a very important symbol and reminded people that it still wasn't back in public ownership.
"Every time they turned that corner it was like a protest. If it had gone it would have gone out of their heads."
Ms Brown said while the banner had been removed, she hoped the issue wouldn't be forgotten.
"We folded it up but I would like to see it preserved in some way, perhaps being archived at the library," she said.
"If anything like this happens again, we will drag it out and remind them we're still here."
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes announced on May 31 the government had paid $420,000 to buy back the 5.6 hectare corner of the 175 hectare wetlands under the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme. It had sold the parcel to a developer for $250,000 in 2016, despite objections from Port Stephens MP Kate Washington, Port Stephens Council and community members.
"This is a win for the environment, it's saying you can't come up to Port Stephens and grab any land you think is not doing anything," she said.
"That does not mean it's not useful and something the community recognises as valuable."
Ms Brown said the group was now waiting to see the outcome of development applications that she said will impact on nearby koala habitats in Stoney Ridge Reserve.
She said it had made a video about the connection between Aboriginal people and the wetlands it hoped to release in October and would support the council's three year regeneration plan for the site.