Contrary to Eurobodalla's latest tourism campaign inviting visitors to 'all kinds of natural' it appears from the perspective of our town planners that the last thing they want in an urban area is any resemblance of nature.
A motion voted for by Clrs Brown, Thompson, Nathan, Tait and Constable at this week's Council meeting has spelt the demise of vital section of green corridor running through Sunshine Bay Clrs Brown, Thompson, Nathan, Tait and Constable outnumbered Mayor, Liz Innes, Clr Mayne and Clr Pat McGinlay giving their vote to follow the staffs recommendation to approve the subdivision, much to the outcry of local residents who had discovered the demise of the Public Reserve all too late.
Earlier in the day the Councillors had listened to two speakers against the proposed development.
Resident Douglas Brown advised them in his Public Forum presentation "Lot 9 is currently a bushland reserve mostly covered with mature spotted gum forest. The proposed subdivision will shrink it by 54%, subdividing off two small lots, one of which has a “battle axe” shape." "To enable development of homes and driveways on the proposed lots 1 and 2, essentially all the trees on those lots will need to be removed as they are small lots and the battle axe will need to be cleared for a driveway. On the remaining reserve, most the native trees have already been removed, so once development is complete, there will be very few native trees remaining on the 3 proposed lots."
"I am strongly opposed to the proposed subdivision for four reasons. "The lot in question forms the northern end of wildlife corridor that extends 1.2 km south to White Stone Park. The lot is currently wide enough to form some wildlife habitat, and while I am no wildlife biologist, I see it is frequented by tawny frogmouth owls, blue tongued lizards, lorikeets, galahs, rosellas, cockatoos, bower birds, kookaburras, and wattle birds, to name but a few. "The aforementioned corridor is also the only off-pavement walking route in the entire community – it comprises approximately 3% of the community’s land (see included map). Any other pockets of public bushland in the community are typically impenetrable bush surrounding wetlands. Consequently the corridor is heavily used by local residents – walking, biking, and exercising their pets." During his presentation the indifference being shown via the body language of most of the councillors was little short of embarrassing and it was clear that few had bothered to read the presentation prior to arriving in the Public Forum. Fortunately Innes, McGinlay and Mayne did show interest and genuine concern as Mr Brown delivered his presentation. In summary Douglas Brown said "The lot in question has been until recently reserved as a community space, and part of the central Sunshine Bay reserve corridor for the nearly 30 years. All community residents I have canvassed have long believed it to be reserve, and wish it to be left as reserve, and I understand submissions to council on this proposed subdivision have been 8-to-1 in opposition. There can be no doubt that council’s guidelines require this lot to be left as reserve.
"Lot 9, in its current state, provides a small but important bit of bushland linking White Stone Park in the south and Short Beach Creek in the north.
Above: Council votes to sell of the 'head' of White Stone Park ignoring community pleas
"Bushland in Sunshine Bay is a scarce and valuable resource and I believe the lot in question would serve the community much better if it were left as bushland." "The proposed development is unlikely to result in any significant environmental, social or economic concerns." Council staff advice to councillors. "Unfortunately these tall spotted gums aren't always suitable in THIS environment" Director of Planning Lindsay Usher. During debate on the issue the justification offered for Council's determination was that the land was seen as surplus to their requirements.
VIDEO: Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Council Date: November 26th 2019
Discussion around the DA593/19 3 lot subdivision at 13A Sunshine Bay Road, Sunshine Bay, Lot 9 DP 774356
Under MOU with Eurobodalla Shire Council Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia licence. read more http://bit.ly/beagleCC Councillor Mayne rightly offered that the original subdivision went through Council and it was required that a portion of the subdivision allocate open space for residents. "No social concerns?" When we now have more and more wall to wall development, more and more people coming into the 'nature coast' and we put up there as a council that this has no social concern". We heard from the community actually raising social concerns. I think it is disappointing that this council continues to sell off reserves. These are reserves given to this community. Not to us as Council but to the community. These little parcels become more an more precious" "To willingly flick this off for a couple of bucks... I think is disappointing". Councillor Anthony Mayne Unfortunately Councillor Mayne had to suffer the off-microphone mumbling and interjections beside him from Clr Lindsay Brown who appeared to have something to say but, when invited to by Councillor Mayne, failed to offer anything to the discussion other than to later on suggest that not progressing with the subdivision and sale of a Public Reserve would send the wrong message to developers. The staff explanation to pressing ahead with the subdivision and sale was their desire to maximise infrastructure and push for minimum size blocks explaining that with smaller blocks it was inevitable that trees have to go adding that while larger blocks might see trees retained it is all about maximising blocks. Dedication of reserves are no longer a requirement of subdivisions and those reserves that Council own are best reassessed and sold off. If the public are not 'using' them then they are considered underutilised, deemed surplus to use and then reclassified from Community to Operational to allow them to be sold off. Council's reclassification process offers little in the way of effective community consultation and many communities are now discovering that the parks and reserves they enjoy are earmarked, such as this one at Sunshine Bay, to be sold off. Next on the list are Pretty Point, Broulee and Sth Durras. With little in the way of any community notice and engagement those blocks will also fall into consolidated revenue.
It is widely assumed that the profits from the sales will be directed to the financial blowout expected of the Mackay Park Leisure Centre. In what was a surprise vote, in what was a disappointing outcome, the community saw Mayor Liz Innes vote with Clr Mayne and Clr Pat McGinlay on an issue that most would consider Green and environmental.