ACF branch to raise Hillview St objections with Ministers

Central Coast Branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation will raise objections about the way the decision to permit a nursing home in endangered bushland in Hillview St, Woy Woy, was made with State Government ministers.
Branch president Mark Ellis said the site had one of the most significant remaining stands of the endangered ecological community, Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland.
He said the branch would be writing to new Planning Minister Mr Anthony Roberts and Energy and Environment Minister Mr Matt Kean, as well as to Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch.
Mr Ellis said the approval was based on outdated information.
“The approval suggests protection of the endangered ecological community is based on a bushland management plan established 12 years ago for an entirely different development, under different legislation and scientific understanding and biodiversity management,” he said.
“The original approved development application was an up-market retirement village with 37 units to what it is now a three storey nursing home with 160 units.
“This will create more shading, impact on the vegetation by changes to the surface water flow; create cumulative impacts of nutrient run off, increase pedestrian movements; fragment the habitat, along with mowing and slashing and weed invasion.”
He said the development did not comply with the Gosford local environment plan.
It ignored and did not explain a recent council assessment of the development’s unsuitability for the site.
There was the loss of 132 trees with no replacement policy and there was no monitoring of the management of the endangered bushland after 10 years, he said.
Mr Ellis said the object of the Environmental Planning and Assessment act to protect the environment, including the conservation of threatened and other species of native animals and plants, ecological communities and their habitats, had been ignored and had not been adequately addressed.
He said a number of issues had to be taken into account in determining whether a proposed development was likely to significantly affect threatened species or ecological communities, or their habitats.
These included risk of extinction and fragmentation or isolation of a habitat.
Mr Ellis said “no real science” was carried out for this application, nor were the risks given detailed consideration.
He said that, if the decision was to be based on 12-year-old information, the decision of the Land and Environment Court at the time should be followed.
It found that the whole of the site could be considered to be Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland and that the adverse environmental impact of such a substantial proposal on the natural environment outweighed the competing factors weighing in favour of consent, he said.
Mr Ellis said he believed the local community still felt the same way: “Our community feels the protection of the Umina woodlands still far outweighs the competing factors weighing in favour of the grant of this development consent.”

Media release, 3 Apr 2019
Mark Ellis, ACFCC

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