In the latest round of revelations in regards to the clearing of trees on a community reserve in Broulee what is being revealed is becoming more of an embarrassment each day that passes for the Eurobodalla Council. In 2003 a Council staff member identified two blocks of land as being under-utilised and suggested they could be reclassified as Operational and sold. In addition to these two blocks it was suggested that the adjacent Unformed Road reserve also be closed, declared Operational, and sold. In the Executive Summary of Council's Plan of Management Broulee & Mossy Point Reserves Adopted 25 November, 2003 it states: During the development of this Plan of Management community comment was sought on the future use of the land at the north western corner of Broulee Road and Clarke Streets. This land was previously classified as Operational Land (land which Council can use in performing its functions or can sell as an asset). In order to maintain a patch of natural bushland and to reflect the community’s desire to preserve this bushland, the land was re-classified as community land and included in this plan. This plan identifies many other opportunities to improve the community’s access to community land in Broulee and Mossy Point. With grant funding and community support, these projects will improve public use and enjoyment of community land in Broulee & Mossy Point. The Plan was adopted and the blocks were identified and an action given for the identified section of unformed road reserve to be closed for inclusion in The Plan For what ever reason Council staff did not action this road closure. Never the less the intention was documented and adopted by Council. The closure was simply paperwork.
Above: the Plan of Management shows clearly Blocks 1,2 and 3. Block 3 is community land. The trees that were on this block have been removed. this land has been been under-scrubbed and cleared by the developer with Council approval. Broulee Mossy Point Community Association wrote (in part) to Council's General Manager, Catherine Dale: "At the recent meeting between yourself and other Council staff with representatives of the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association (BMPCA) the issue of the future of this land was raised. Council denied there were prior Council decisions to convert the land to community land and made no attempt to explain that it was Council‘s intent to clear fell a large portion in order to save the developer the considerable cost of maintaining an APZ on her own land." In the end the Council staff were reminded of the CURRENT Broulee Mossy Point Reserve Plan of Management. The Council staff clearly failed to carry out due diligence to establish the status of these blocks. The Council staff also failed to carry out due diligence of a site inspection prior to clearing because, if they had, they would have found two Land Care signs, one on Clarke Street and one in the purple zone of Block 3.
The signs advise the community that these parcels are Community Land Typical of all Council signs erected in the Eurobodalla there had to be permission to erect these signs. Had staff bothered in due diligence they would have found the permit for two signs. The first facing Clarke Street and the second facing Private Land
Such is the nature of Council sign permits that they require 5 signatures. This document, available in Council's archives, signed on the 22nd June 2004, acknowledges the land is Community Land and states that the purpose of the sign is to give the Community awareness of Community Land. Unfortunately the sign failed to be a reminder to Council staff that the land was Community Land.
The Meeting Notes Regarding Broulee Mossy Point Community Association and Council Staff Meeting On 27 April 2021 report: Council claimed that the land was always Operational Land but BMPCA recalled that it was changed to Community land some 15 years ago. This will need to be established. If the Council staff were adamant on April 27th 2021 that The Triangle was Operational and they were able to sell it without public consultation it might be suggested that they also believed it was Operational at the time they approved the adjacent subdivision. Until the Development consent of that subdivision is viewed it remains unknown what mention is made of The Triangle, if any mention at all is made, being an adjacent property. What is known is that, as Community Land, Block 3 of The Triangle would require a full environmental impact study to be undertaken for the extent of removal we have witnessed. Yet no Environmental Impact Assessment would have been carried out. Nor would there be any tree assessments carried out that would authorise tree removal from the Community Land. If the developer has removed any vegetation from the Community Land Blocks 1, 2 or 3 then the Community need to be clearly advised how this came to occur and under what authority. As for bastardry? The Eurobodalla Council have been made to look stupid once again. There has been an ongoing display of their failure to communicate, and when they do they show a lack of understanding of the various Acts, policies and guidelines, being caught out by the public on far too many occasions for being wrong. The problem appears that, rather than accepting any wrong doing with grace and an apology they instead hunker down to build, layer on layer, the pustule that eventually explodes as we have seen with the sale of Batemans Bay Community Centre, the sale of the Moruya Racecourse and this time their intent to sell The Triangle. It is clear that all the information (and signs) required to ring alarm bells was at hand for them on May 30th 2021, Four weeks ago, when Council advised the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association was correct and it (Council's adamant stance the land was Operational) was an error in their database of land classification and they "are not considering selling this land at this time". Council added to their failure of an apology saying "A search of Council records has revealed the Council resolution from 25 November 2003 for these parcels to be classified as Community Land. This classification was not reflected in Council's database of land classification. Council had been considering the use of this land in the belief it was operational land but its use is no longer under consideration given the above confirmation that it is community land. Council's database is being amended accordingly" Their full letter can be downloaded and read on the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association website It is clear the Council has been publicly embarrassed. What might be asked is why, with the knowledge that The Triangle was Community land on May 30th 2021, did Council allow the developer to clear Block 3? Many in the community are wondering "Was it sheer bastardry?
Above: Council knew it owned The Triangle. Council knew that trees were going to be removed. Why didn't Council staff follow their own flow chart that clearly advises that if the land is zoned R2 then their own Tree Preservation Code applies and they they need to call themselves before proceeding. Under Council's Tree Preservation Policy any tree removal on Block 3 would have required a full report by a tree specialist. Was any assessment of wildlife or trees carried out on this Council reserve? What promises were made to the developer, if any? Has the developer overstepped their permissions? Have Council breached the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017?