NATIONAL PARKS ASSOCIATION of NSW Inc.
PO Box A96, Sydney South NSW 1235
Ph: (02) 9233 4660 Fax: (02) 9233 4880

Media Release: 17 August 1997
Embargo until 6.00am on 18 August 1997

Crown Land Development and Coastal Policy
More Reserves and Less Sprawl - Protect Key Areas

The National Parks Association has called on the NSW Government to curtail urban development of vacant crown land within the coastal zone as a key part of the Government's impending Coastal Policy.

Noel Plumb, NPA Executive Officer said "The Government must lead by example if it expects local government, developers and the public to take it seriously on the issue of protecting our coastline against urban sprawl and degradation."

"Unfortunately we are still seeing the Government, through the Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC), repeatedly trying to develop sensitive coastal land of high conservation value or frustrating the addition of such lands to the reserve system, even in cases where the land has been zoned for additions to an adjoining national park."

NPA has recently urged the government to add a number of such areas to the national parks estate at Angourie, Brooms Head, Minnie Waters, Diggers Camp, Evans Head, Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Hawks Nest. See attached schedule

Each of the sites is of great natural value and is within the 1 km wide defined coastal zone. They are clearly sensitive coastal lands of high conservation value, including threatened species and habitats, and are also of great landscape value.

Each typifies the activities and philosophy of the regional offices of DLWC which have clearly encouraged urban development and sprawl in the coastal zone, apparently completely at odds with the Government's commitments to end the continuing degradation of the coastal zone.

Mr Plumb said "We urge the Government to take the opportunity of the announcement of its long awaited Coastal Policy to also announce that all these sites will be permanently protected by addition to the national parks estate before the end of the year."

"We also call for an urgent review of all other natural vacant crown lands held in the coastal strip to assess their suitability for inclusion in the national parks estate."

"This Coastal Policy may be our last chance to get it right and to show that we have learnt from the catastrophic experiences with the pollution of coastal waters, including Wallis Lake, and the creeping cancer of urban sprawl destroying the beauty and natural values of our coastal area, a region which is the envy of most other countries in the world."

For comment: Noel Plumb 018 975 075

See attached Schedule

 

Media Release NPA 17 August 1997 -Attached Schedule of Lands

Additions to Yuraygir, Broadwater and Bundjalung National Parks

There have been outstanding proposals since at least 1979 for incorporation into existing national parks of some Crown lands held in the immediate vicinity or within the existing villages of Angourie, Brooms Head, Minnie Waters and Diggers Camp (Yuraygir N.P.) and Evans Head (Broadwater N.P. and Bundjalung N.P.) on the north coast.

There is a current proposal to convert coastal heathland at Brooms Head to a golf course. - despite the fact that it is part of the land clearly intended for additions to the Yuraygir National Park and is zoned 8a - Existing National Park. This area is currently undergoing a land assessment by the Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) but clearly should be reserved for its natural values and scenic beauty, apart from the additional urban sprawl and water and weed pollution which its construction and operation of the golf course will inevitably cause.

Coffs Harbour, Kingfisher Park

The DLWC proposed a 60 lot subdivision on high quality natural bushland within the coastal zone and located almost within the centre of Coffs Harbour.

After prolonged and strenuous community objections Lands Minister Yeadon intervened and has suspended the proposal. However, the future of the land is not secure and it should be permanently protected as a bushland reserve.

Safety Beach (north of Woolgoolga), Schofield Drive

The DWLC proposes a 27 lot subdivision on high conservation value coastal land containing blackbutt forest.

The land contains high quality habitat for a range of fauna species, including birds, arboreal mammals, small mammals and macropods. Koalas have been recorded on the site. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has identified the land as habitat for a number of threatened species and it has recorded seven threatened animal species and two plant species within 5 kilometres of the site. The NPWS has also reported that the land is likely to have Aboriginal significance.

Byron Bay, corner of Paterson and Seaview Streets

The DLWC proposes a 7 lot subdivision on prime scenic ridgetop land which supports remnant clay based heath of regional and State conservation significance.

We understand that the development has been opposed by the NPWS which has reported that the site has intrinsic conservation values and provides habitat for many species of local wildlife.

An eastern chestnut mouse, listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, was recorded on the site by the DLWC's own environmental consultants. The record constituted only the second record of the species in Byron Shire.

The development application for the site was refused by Byron Shire Council but it has been overridden by Planning Minister Knowles who has approved the development

Hawks Nest, Mungo Brush Road

The DLWC proposes a 90 lot subdivision on open blackbutt forest located only a few hundred metres from the ocean. The land also has elements of swamp mahogany community and is part of a critical koala corridor between Hawks Nest and Myall Lakes National Park. It also contains part of the popular walking track from the park to Hawks Nest.

This proposal is a major example of coastal ribbon development pressure and would be the key step in the eventual development of much of the narrow peninsula between the present northern boundary of Hawks Nest and the southern boundary of Myall Lakes National Park. The DLWC owns a considerable part of the remaining land on this peninsula and it has recently degraded the land with an insensitive and unsubstantiated fire break.

Instead of allowing this agency to pursue this development, the Government should immediately add to the park all the crown land between the village and the park .

Much of this land is estuarine wetland, swamp forest complex , dry open forest, coastal closed scrub or government classified wetlands. All of these high natural value areas are amply justified as extensions to the park. Most importantly, such extensions would prevent coastal sprawl overwhelming this narrow peninsula.

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