Corkwood tree may stay on proposed nursing home site

Objector Mr Norm Harris inspects the corkwood tree

A corkwood tree that was to be removed to build a proposed nursing home at Woy Woy can stay, subject to council approval, the site owner says.
“I’m in no hurry to take the tree out,’’ Thompson Health Care owner Mr Doug Thompson told Peninsula News.
“It will only be removed on council advice that it has to go.
“Council was suggesting a swamp mahogany but it would be nice if the cork tree stays.’’
Mr Thompson, who owns Tarragal House at Erina, is awaiting a decision from the Joint Regional Planning Panel on the future of his proposed 160-bed three-storey nursing home at 45 Hillview St, Woy Woy.
The panel held a meeting to hear submissions from the public on January 24.
The panel voted to support the proposal conceptually but was reviewing consent details.
The panel expected to make a decision within weeks.
Objectors wanted to see the site protected.
The land is home to some of the last examples of ecologically endangered Umina coastal sandplain woodland.
The Australian Conservation Foundation Central Coast branch said the three-storey proposal was non complying in an area where only one and two storey developments were allowed.
Branch president Mr Mark Ellis said planning provisions should not be whittled away by an accumulation of incremental precedents which become the de facto benchmark but bear little resemblance to the formal provisions.
The branch says the development would have significant impact on the rare bushland on site.
But Mr Thompson said he believed the site would benefit from his development
He is proposing to build a three-storey nursing home on a site that was partly cleared in 2007 to build independent senior housing.
“I’m sure when finished, the greatest detractors will be happy,’’ he said.
He said he had already spoken to his ecologist about planting only endemic native species and no exotic species would be introduced.
The land would be better cared for than it was now because his company would be looking after the land, hand clearing the weeds carefully under council supervision.
It would become be a better site for birds and animals.
“We will plant more trees in the area but nothing will be planted that doesn’t come from the area,’’ Mr Thompson said.
He described it as a wonderful site and he was only building on that area that had already been cleared.
He said he was never a fan of a proposed boardwalk which would have only given shelter to rats and feral cats.
The boardwalk through the site was discussed at the panel meeting and Mr Thompson said at the meeting that he was happy to remove it from the plan.
He said he was happy to meet on site with interested people.

Interview, 6 Feb 2019
Doug Thompson, Thompson Health Care
Media Release, 25 Jan 2019
Mark Ellis, ACF Central Coast
Reporter: Merilyn Vale

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