Council ignores importance of endangered bushland
Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland is very rare and highly-endangered bushland vegetation is being once again minimised in importance by Central Coast Council, and formerly Gosford City Council (Peninsula News 551, p1).
The new proposal, rather than foster and protect the known areas, continues the incremental clearing of precious areas, reducing their biodiversity and capacity to foster regeneration.
The vegetation was first identified by Robert Payne and registered.
Since that time Council has allowed a fenced off and signposted block immediately behind Umina Public School to be invaded by foreign plants and degraded and the fence not maintained.
When I drew this to Council's attention some years back, the first response was a denial that it was part of the protected area as it was not on their maps.
I sent them a picture of their own signage, confirming its status, and they said they did not have funds to maintain it.
I was advised that funds were likely to be available to support Gosford Council on application.
And this was to occur but the funds, if they were applied for and materialised, were never applied to this particular pristine area.
Since that time, the council has approved clearing of other areas.
After community engagement with the Catholic Church as developer of another pristine area on the corner of Hillview St opposite Umina campus of Brisbane Water Secondary College, that property passed to a private developer.
Clearing was done of the major part of the internal area of the block, leaving the street sides protected from view of the clearing.
A subsequent developer obtained Council approval to destroy much of what was left for a residential facility on the grounds that the residual area was not so significant that a bit more clearing could not occur.
Now we have a new assault on another area: to clear 1948 square metres in Macleay Ave for residential development.
The NRMA carpark at Umina Beach has also been responsible for incremental clearing of areas in the UCSW conservation area where they occupy land.
Some of it was actually sold to them by Gosford Council, because facilities had been accidentally built in the area managed by the council.
I fear that unless substantial fines are imposed, with a full identification and mapping of the areas, we shall continue to lose precious vegetation until the entire endangered ecological community is lost forever.
Action is needed to ensure Central Coast Council understands its responsibilities and take action to pay for independent mapping of the areas ensure that this does not happen.
Adequate and informed mapping and notification of landholders (including our schools) is essential and is urgent and should be the responsibility of Central Coast Council.
Email, 1 Sep 2022
Kay Williams, Pearl Beach