Letters

Proposed development, Iluka

Ed,
re President of Iluka Ratepayers Association’s “report” on the above, March 2016 edition.
Yes, the D/A for the suggested 162 blocks opposite Iluka Nature Reserve and World Heritage Rainforest was “lodged just before Christmas” – (Christmas Eve to be precise), and the submission date was rightly extended to accommodate the busy holiday factor which occluded people’s notice of the fact.
The article states the two groups involved in the development application have employed “experts in their field to do the studies… of the land.” The expertise seemed to negate the need to refer the nearly 20 threatened species (including the endangered koala) who use and live on the site, for the mandatory Species Impact Statements, failing to refer the D/A to the Federal Environment Minister re the presence on site of federally threatened species, and for failing to mention the more than 400 individual Coastal Cypress Pines, which with 23 accompanying species on site, comprise the Endangered Ecological Coastal Cypress Pine community which Clarence Valley Council in their Biodiversity Management Strategy commit to protect.
Developer speculation hitting on Birrigangargle Land Council’s real and acknowledged need to improve their health, educational and living standard outcomes, is what has precipitated the potential sale (it is not fait accompli) of this environmentally sensitive 19 hectare corridor to Iluka Nature Reserve,World Heritage Rainforest and National park to NE and NW, not , I would suggest market need, as there exists in Iluka about 10 already cleared residential blocks, some of which have lain idle for at least a decade.
As for “ordinary people suddenly becoming town planners”, yes, residents with their own opinions and ideas on acceptable town planning; people whose lives and neighbourhood’s are potentially profoundly affected by such proposals in the place they have chosen to live, have rightly expressed, through local print media and Iluka D/A Have Your Say site, alternatives to the design of this D/A. While it is my firmly held belief that development is entirely inappropriate for this ecologically sensitive area, if any development does ensue, I think it will be borne out that redesign is, indeed, much in order, particularly in light of the site’s value as koala, and multiple other species’ habitat and movement corridor. The impact of such a number of houses, twice that number of cars and inestimable number of domestic pets on such a sensitive environment including Iluka Nature Reserve must realistically be considered.
Regards the article Iluka Ratepayer’s Association “in my opinion their (koala) numbers have reduced so low that they are not even being sighted anymore” and “that the (proposed) development site has one type of tree only that koalas forage on and they are low in numbers and in poor condition”, National Parks and Clarence Environment Centre continue to atlas a steady flow of koala sightings in the Iluka Koala area of Occupancy, which includes the D/A site, and National Park and places around Shark Bay, Woody Head and Fraser’s Reef.
Indeed ordinary people are encouraged to contact Clarence Environment Centre with any sightings of endangered or threatened species such as koalas, when and where being important.
Regards koala feed trees, there are sufficient numbers on site of primary and secondary feed trees (red gum, brush box and bloodwood respectively) and a plentiful supply of koala shelter trees such as acacia(wattle) and cypress in sufficient condition to accommodate a (recorded) koala mother and baby, which makes the site core koala habitat (breeding population).
Gab Barto, Iluka
PS – as a postscript to discussion of the D/A, may I firstly say “let those without blemish cast the first stone”, but also that a thwarted attempt at arson (a capital offence) on the tinder dry site (17/2/16) putting people and habitat at grave risk, has left many pondering the ethics, let alone the sanity of the would-be arsonist/s.

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