ESC Public Forum_12.2.2019 Lack of Compliance and Land Clearing
In the last couple of weeks a parcel of land at Mossy Point has been cleared, with DA approval, within an Ecologically Endangered Community. The land runs alongside the Tomakin river and is part of the remnant Bangalay Sand Forest in the area. Much of this type of forest has recently been cleared, again with approval, for further housing developments in Broulee.
The remnant forest at Mossy Point however is included in the rezoning proposed by ESC in the Rural Lands Strategy which is presently waiting approval by the State Planning Minister Anthony Roberts. Whilst this block, which has just been cleared, is DA approved it remains true that it is on land deemed an Ecologically Endangered Community.
And, as the photos above show, this land has been cleared right up to the edge of the river with no sediment control. A few days after it was cleared, we had heavy rain meaning sediment almost certainly went into the river. All development approvals include the requirement for sediment control. The forest at Mossy Point was a significant climate change buffer and, protected the low- lying existing properties and their dwellings from rising sea levels, not to mention the SEPP14 Wetlands and oyster leases. The king tide now comes up to the wetlands opposite, halfway up Connells Close. What will happen next time we have a storm on a king tide without the massive sponge of the Bangalay forest and the littoral rain forest? Have ESC opened the door to liability in this regard?
Clearly, no matter how much Council assure the public otherwise, regulations are sometimes broken when developments go ahead.
Another case in point is land at Long Beach (Development application S434/92 for a 56 lot subdivision. Property: Lot 253 DP 1120747, Blairs Road, Long Beach.) with clearing and inadequate erosion control and buffer in a SEPP 14 wetland. Photos of the site from September through to January this year show the continuing lack of an adequate response.
The fact that the Eurobodalla Shire Council has approved this clearing for a dwelling at Mossy Point, together with the 2 tracks required for fire risk does not mean it will not have, already is having a very significant impact on the environment of this endangered ecological community. And this is just one block. If the Rural Land Strategy is approved there would be 19 more blocks allowed under changes to zoning. So, no matter the assurances of council that all will be well – clearly it isn’t. This clearing right up to the rivers edge, and with no sediment control, appears to be a graphic example of blatant disregard for regulations. And this is just one block. Imagine 19 more of these. The clearing of this lot (63) had zero sediment control and includes high risk of acid-sulfate soil incursion, as clearing goes all the way to the river. As a consequence the health of the estuary is put at risk. I wonder will this clearing with no sedimentation control have an impact on the oyster leases only a kilometre or so away?
Further clearing in this area would decimate this precious, remnant parcel of Bangalay Sand Forest. It would continue the slow sprawl of urban development along the coast. It would destroy precious habitat for endangered species such as the Swift Parrot and Yellow-bellied glider. And we are destroying the natural beauty and amenity of our ‘Nature Coast.’
This bit of remnant forest at Mossy Point is one example of what we have got to lose with inappropriate development. Clear any of it and it is lost for good. It may well be that developers can afford the cost of a fine after the event given the value of land in this area now. So, how are council to enforce development controls in such a climate? Or in the end is it only money that matters? It is not necessary to clear this land for housing. There is land cleared already.
My questions are:
Who actually owns the land bordering the river where clearing has gone to the edge? Is it Crown land or privately owned?
Is it true that a council staff member attended this property during last Tuesday and said it complies with the DA.? If so, given assurances in regards to re-zoning under the RLS that the DA process will look after all environmental impacts, how can the community have any confidence in this process?