Showing posts with label Koala. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Koala. Show all posts

Saturday, 23 September 2017

An NJRPP Public Briefing Meeting in Iluka, NSW, 20 September 2017


Section of the southern boundary of the Hickey Street land proposed for development

On 21 September 2017 North Coast Voices received this email from an Iluka resident on the subject of a recent meeting in that little coastal town:

At 4.30pm on Wednesday 20th September 2017 the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (NJRPP) held a Public Briefing Meeting at Iluka Community Hall concerning the proposed coastal subdivision of 19 hectares of environmentally sensitive land adjacent to the Iluka World Heritage Area.

The meeting was chaired by Gary West (Chair NJRPP) who was accompanied by three other panel members - Ms. Pam Westing, Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons and Deputy-Mayor Jason Kingsley.

Four council staff members accompanied the panel members, including Carmel Landers who is responsible for progressing the development application through council planning processes.

Concerned residents and ratepayers filled between half and three-quarters of the hall’s seating capacity.

A number of people from the Yaegl community were present, as well as Cr. Greg Clancy who was there in a personal capacity.

The Panel secretariat had invited individuals and groups who had made formal submissions on the proposed development to register beforehand as speakers.

Around nine listed speakers presented their views and most called attention to significant problems with the development application – including street design, lot density, stormwater drainage and nutrient load, as well as loss of tree cover and habitat in the current version of this 140 lot urban development.

The Association of Iluka Residents (AIR Inc) were first off in the order of speakers. Its President introduced the issues, the Secretary expanded on key concerns, and one of AIR's members presented questions to the developer (in absentia) via the panel and Council staff, then the President wrapped up the AIR presentation.

John Edwards on behalf of the Clarence Environment Centre spoke with some authority on issues of concern regarding the proposed development.

Also rising to their feet were local residents Kay Jeffrey and Gabrielle Barto.

Ms. Jeffrey spoke very eloquently from the heart about Land Care on the World Heritage site which contains rare littoral rainforest, pointing out this development would be detrimental to flora and fauna within that site. Expressing her gratification that evidence now showed the koala was not functionally extinct in Iluka. She further pointed out that the type of development proposed was better suited to outer metropolitan urban areas such as Mt. Druitt.

While Ms. Barto spoke with a deal of on-the-ground knowledge on a range of environmental and planning concerns. She highlighted the fact that sightings of koala on and in the vicinity of the land in question demonstrated that this large lot was being used as part of a larger movement corridor.

A retired real estate agent originally from Bribie Island stated he didn't want Iluka to turn into a Bribie Island or Lennox Head, having had firsthand experience of what can happen if poorly planned developments are allowed in coastal towns. Additionally, he spoke of the problems associated with community title – in particular that by-laws and management plans on community title could be changed over time.

Another speaker suggested the development site would be suitable for acquisition by the NSW Government in order to protect the local koala population and koala habitat. Something it has apparently undertaken in the Tweed Heads region.

Grahame Lynn (who was approx.10 minutes late) was the last scheduled speaker as President of the Iluka Ratepayers Association (IRA). He proceeded to attack with some vigour the Clarence Environment Centre submission as well as those of many other individuals and groups that oppose this development. Indeed he spent most of the time in attack mode and very little time in talking up the proposed development.

Mr. Lynn as a local real estate agent has been advertising the proposed subdivision for at least the last eighteen months  – a potential conflict of interest he failed to mention to the panel. 

It was noted that up until that point, all panel members and Council staff were taking copious notes, but as soon as he started talking they stopped. I guess one loses credibility when attacking the “player and not the ball” so to speak.

By the end of the meeting I was of the opinion that Gary West as Chair had run the meeting well, making us all feel comfortable and all points of view were heard.

Anon
Iluka, NSW

Coastal Cypress Pine on the development site
Images supplied by Iluka resident

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Greed, plain and simple, is killing off NSW koalas and the Berejiklian Coalition Government continues to ignore this vandalism of habit


ABC News, 20 July 2017:

A koala habitat 50 per cent larger than the Royal National Park has been destroyed by logging, according to a new conservation report.

The report titled Clearing Koalas Away by conservationist Dailan Pugh, says more than 23,000 hectares of koala habitat near Coffs Harbour has been "virtually cleared".

"They're hitting them really hard. We're looking at about 40 per cent of koala habitat in state forests," he said.

Mr Pugh, an environmentalist for over 40 years, sourced the forestry data under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, in a bid to measure logging against known koala habitats.

Last year, then-environment minister Mark Speakman admitted "intensive harvesting" on the North Coast was "not consistent" with regulations, and said the Environment Protection Authority was investigating.

An EPA spokesperson declined to answer questions, but said "current rules are over 15 years old and lack clarity in important areas, including intensive harvesting".

Recent studies suggest less than 9,000 koalas survive on the North Coast, a 50 per cent decline in the past 20 years.

Habitat loss is widely acknowledged as a driver of the decline.



Mr Pugh said a sustainable logging method called "single-tree selection" is being misused by Forestry Corporation.

Single-tree selection permits the selective harvest of just 40 per cent of eucalypts trees in a logging zone — leaving 60 per cent of trees as off-limits.

But the off-limits status is temporary, and evidence shows these trees are heavily logged in later operations.

The reports highlights examples like Kerewong State Forest, with photos showing the heavy clearing of a mapped koala habitat.

Echo NetDaily, 13 March 2017:

A representative of the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) was ejected from a meeting that he called with the Environment Protection Authority at Gibberagee State Forest after it was ‘gatecrashed by the Forestry Corporation’.

NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh said he was invited to Gibberagee by the EPA on Friday (March 10) so that he could show them logging was taking place into what were meant to be exclusion zones around the nationally Endangered Narrow-leaved Melichrus, which only occurs at Gibberagee.

But he was directed to leave by the Forestry Corporation without being allowed to show the EPA anything.

‘A month ago I sent the EPA a complaint after identifying that the Forestry Corporation were refusing to identify the legally required buffers around the Endangered plant Narrow-leaf Melichrus,’ Mr Pugh told Echonetdaily.

He added they were ‘recklessly damaging hollow-bearing and recruitment trees, and logging “unmapped” streams in the immediate catchment of the regionally significant seagrass beds of The Broadwater.’

‘Bryce Gorham of the EPA invited me to come out to the forest last Friday “to accurately identify (on ground identification) of the alleged breach of intrusion into a Melichrus sp.Giberagee exclusion zone”,’ he said.

‘I expected that the EPA would only invite me if they had the authority to do so.

‘The EPA were late, so while waiting I looked around, finding two more places where logging had extended into what were meant to be 50m exclusion zones around Narrow-leaf Melichrus, in one case by 22m.

‘When the EPA belatedly arrived they had a Forestry Corporation employee, Jamie Churchill, with them.

‘He told me to leave the forest on the grounds of occupational health and safety. I insisted that I had been invited into the forest by the EPA and that, in the area where we were, logging had finished some three months ago so we were not interfering with an active operation and there were no safety issues.’

Mr Pugh said he told both the EPA and Forestry Corporation that he had just found another legal breach nearby, and asked to at least be able to show it to them.

But, he added, the Forestry Corporation refused ‘and the EPA went along with them’.

‘After driving two hours to get there I was forced to leave without being allowed to show the EPA anything.

‘The EPA should never have invited me if they don’t have the authority to stand up to Forestry Corporation bullying.

* Image of  koala mother and cub from Independent Australia