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On Open letter to Dr Catherine Dale from Broulee

Dear Dr. Dale Community Concern about Vegetation Clearance, I believe the action of the Council to approve the clear felling of vegetation on the unformed road at the corner of Clarke Street and Broulee Road with no community consultation goes well beyond normal principles of community consultation and represents contempt of the local community. Let me explain. 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. This was the first opportunity for productive consultation missed by Council. BMPCA wrote to you detailing the earlier decision by Council to convert the land adjacent to the unformed road to Community land and also to close the unformed road in order to convert this land to Community land. Andrew Greenway wrote back to acknowledge that the land adjacent to the unformed road had indeed been converted to community land and would not be sold but this letter made no mention of the future of the unformed road. This was the second consultation opportunity missed by Council. I also mentioned in my correspondence with Council that the area including the unformed road was a designated Landcare project site and signposted as such on two sides with the approval of Council. Landcare members have done a lot of work to maintain the quality of this land yet Council made no attempt to contact Landcare to tell them that this work had been a waste of time and that the a large part of the land would be cleared to assist the developer. (I have attached a photo (below) of the Landcare sign formally approved by Council in 2004).This was the third consultation opportunity missed by Council.

I contacted Andrew Greenway who said Council was investigating why the unformed road had not been closed and converted to Community land. But he made no mention of Council’s intention to clear fell the land. This was the fourth opportunity missed by Council. I was on holiday in North Western NSW, but by this time many members of the Broulee community had contacted me to express their deep concern about the actions being taken by the developer removing all of the vegetation and habitat along the closed road and possibly into the Community land. I called Andrew Greenway to ask what was happening. He first of all told me that the developer would not be allowed to go outside her own land but the next morning Andrew had the decency to call me and explain that Council had in fact given the developer approval to clear a much larger area. He would still investigate why the unformed road was not closed and converted to Community land. In the local community there is a mix of great anger, deep disappointment and hurt at the action by Council which will severely impact on the relationship between Council and the community for the future. Reasonable community consultation and negotiation could have led to greater understanding and less community distress. Some Councillors and some Council staff seem to see real and meaningful consultation as an avoidable nuisance apart from bland messages about what it thinks the community will like rather than being open about the breadth of community issues Council has to consider. As you know BMPCA has worked hard to raise funds to work with Council in building community infrastructure. The BMPCA has so far provided some $60,000 to Council to build bicycle and pedestrian paths in Broulee and Mossy Point. This includes $25,000 to complete the path from Broulee to North Head which has been widely appreciated by both residents and visitors and is a great attraction for Broulee. This sort of action is only possible with a Council that is open to honest discussion and consultation. The hurt flowing from the highly visible but secretive action by Council to destroy the area of land for the convenience of the developer will make community involvement with Council extremely difficult for the future. I would like to meet with you to with a view to finding a way that might lead to some recovery of trust in the Council. A good start would be to implement the Council decision of 2003 to close the unformed road and to classify the land as Community land. The land could then be revegetated with plants appropriate for an APZ. A second element would be to recognize the financial benefit for the developer of being able to use public land for her APZ by requiring a significant public contribution that could go towards maintaining the Community land. Yours sincerely, Andrew Bain Acting President BMPCA

VIDEO: Broulee Mossy Point Residents held a public meeting on June 27th, 2021 to learn more of the land clearing witnessed on their Community Land

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