‘Coastal Residents United’ Launched: Dalmeny Matters and Friends of Coila in Macquarie Street
Representatives from dozens of community groups along the NSW coast campaigned at NSW Parliament House today, rising to defend small coastal towns and pockets of sensitive and endangered coastal bushland from what they claim as inappropriate development.
The alliance, Coastal Residents United, also presented petitions gathered from community groups Dalmeny Matters, Friends of Coila, Voices of South West Rocks, Hallidays Point Community Action Group and Save Myall Bushland Incorporated, all containing over 600 signatures, calling for a moratorium on developments that these groups are fighting. Dalmeny Matters is fighting Council's sale of land at Dalmeny that would require full compliance with all current NSW development conditions while the already approved Coila Foreshore development has little hope of being stopped unless legistation changes which would involve considerable compensation being paid to the developer. Both petitions were tabled in the Upper House today.
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who released the report Concreting Our Coast: The developer onslaught destroying our coastal villages and environment last year following a coastal fact-finding tour, said:
“Last year, dozens of communities fighting large, inappropriate developments in their small towns contacted me crying out for help. What I found was an onslaught of development planned that would destroy coastal NSW as we all know, and love it”, said Ms Faehrmann.
“Many of the opposed developments are so-called ‘zombie’ developments. Approved decades ago, they’ve avoided any of the environmental, cultural and other impact assessments that would be required today. Many are planned for areas prone to floods and fires with just one road in or out in an emergency and in towns that already do not have access to critical services and infrastructure.
“Combined, these campaigns add up to potentially thousands of hectares of bushland lost along our precious coast. Much of it is habitat for threatened species on the brink of extinction that cannot withstand any further loss of habitat.
“I’m proud to stand with community representatives today to launch Coastal Residents United - a powerful alliance of groups sharing information, resources and strategies to ensure developers cannot get away with destroying our precious coastal environment,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Greens MP and planning and environment spokesperson Sue Higginson said:
“Our planning system is not fit for purpose and it is putting developers profits above local communities, their safety and our fragile coastal environments. Communities up and down the coast of NSW are fighting inappropriate developments as the impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises worsen. The planning system is not working and developers are taking advantage of it,” said Sue Higginson.
“The petitions tabled in the NSW Parliament today are just some of the many communities on the frontline of a broken planning system who are taking on property developers in the name of protecting the environment and keeping communities safe.
“For too long the planning system has been controlled and influenced by private developers and their profits. Local communities need to be at the centre of decisions that affect them and their local environments and they need a system that protects our natural environment and addresses the worsening impacts of fires, floods and climate change.
“It is brilliant that the community groups who are part of Coastal Residents United have mobilised and are working collaboratively for change and have brought this important issue to Parliament.” Ms Higginson said. Whilst this is a commendable statement from the Greens MP and planning and environment spokesperson to turn the "Zombie" developments around would require her to put forward a motion that would be hard pressed to win given the developments have been approved and any compensation would be considerable. It's quite clear that unless current legislation is changed then future Zombies will come to life. When asked by ABC South East Radio how many zombie developments remained in Eurobodalla his response was that he did not know.
Above: Caption: Cate Faehrmann MLC and Sue Higginson MLC receiving a petition for a moratorium on coastal zombie developments by Jacob Shields, Tura Beach resident and Friends of CRUNCH.