Protection of Porters Creek wetland took another step forward when Central Coast Council voted on extra conditions to keep the urban sprawl at bay.
At its meeting on July 8, on a Motion from Councillor Greenaway, Council decided to maintain a vegetated buffer zone and that all development applications (DAs) on the northern boundary be referred to Council for determination.
Mowing or slashing or trimming of vegetation will not be permissible within a 100m of a previously cleared section.
Cr Greenaway said part of the wetland was cleared during the tenure of Wyong Shire Council and that area had not been remediated.
Council staff will report on costs involved in remediating the cleared site as well as engaging a consultant ecologist.
Cr Greenaway said it was “merely to rectify the situation”.
Councillors McLachlan, Burke, Marquart and Best opposed the motion
Warnervale airport is adjacent to the wetland and supporters of the Central Coast Aero Club, which has operated there for 47 years, say the club “is under attack”.
A petition has started on change.org, opposing Cr Greenaway’s motion.
“Once again, all Labor councillors and the Mayor voted for something which is anti airport,” it said on the petition.
“Essentially, if this is approved, over time, we will lose the first third of the runway.
“Stopping the trimming of the tree line north and south of the runway will make our airport unusable within a short space of time.”
Cr Greenaway said, “this is about remediating this very valuable wetland which impacts on Tuggerah Lakes”.
“Isn’t that why Council originally obtained it? To protect the water quality? And the wetland is a crucial element in maintaining the lakes,” she said.
“In regard to the DAs and other activities in the near vicinity,” she said, “by referring them to Council for determination will enable greater transparency around issues relating to the wetland, keeping the community informed and promoting efforts to ensure council is open with residents about plans affecting such a sensitive valued and environmentally significant natural asset,” Cr Greenaway said.
In December, 2018, Council decided to protect the wetland by reclassifying it to Community land which means it cannot be sold.
The 5sq km wetland is the largest remaining fresh water wetland on the Central Coast and is known to contain numerous threatened species and endangered ecological communities, along with swamp forests.
It is part of the wider Porters Creek catchment, covering about 55sq kms, with Woongarrah, Buttonderry and Hue Hue creeks coming together at the wetland, which drains into Wyong River and then on to the Tuggerah lagoon system.
This waterway system provides clean and healthy drinking water during droughts.
During the millennial drought, which occurred from 1996 to 2010, large parts of south-eastern Australia were subjected to one of the worst droughts in recorded history.
At one stage, Mangrove Dam only held 14 percent of its volume.
A weir was constructed on Porters Creek to capture the good quality water from coastal showers and feed the water into Mardi Dam.
The wetlands flood regularly and without this wetland retaining those floodwaters, levels in the lake and along the river would be higher.
The flooding slows the water flow and sediments then settle out on the floodplain.
Meeting, Jul 8
Agenda Item 8.5
Central Coast Council
Community Environment Network
Journalist, Sue Murray