Community Hope To Add To Newport Bushlinked Reserves Receives Council Support: Funding Will Be Sought
On Wednesday August 1st an Extraordinary Council Meeting met to decide two motions put forward by councillors Amon and McTaggart, one concerned rescinding the Motion to compulsorily acquire the Pasadena inherited from when the northern beaches was placed under administration, the other to address the community’s expressed wish to preserve land atop Newport hill and adjacent to Attunga Reserve due to its environmental values and to forestall potential landslips should development occur.
Two speakers addressed council speaking in support of the Motion, Angus Gordon OAM, BE, M Eng Sc, FIE Aust, CPEng, NER, APEC, IPEA, former general manager of Pittwater Council, and Marita Macrae of the Pittwater Natural Heritage Association.
Angus stated there had been three major landslips in this area since the 1970s - one in the early 1970’s in Goodwin road, one in the early 2000’s in Nullaburra and then another in Hillside –
“In other words, this is a very unstable area.” Mr. Gordon said
“ There are problems with landslip and rainfall runoff. In each of these cases council ended up spending funds - first Warringah and then later Pittwater. Even though these were private sites it ended up costing council funds, which should be taken into consideration if development proceeds.”
This is what is termed in construction a ‘a tricky site to develop’.
Mr. Gordon then went on to explain how council managed to acquire 140 hectares under Angus’ term as General Manager that had significance and/or were associated with high risk.
The larger ones of these being the Warriewood escarpment, of around 70 hectares, Warriewood wetlands, 30 hectares, the Avalon bends, around 10 hecatres, Winnermerrery bay, 12 hectares.
Some were small blocks that were likely to be problems and small parcels that were likely to be problems, such as the area behind Bungan beach, 4 hectares there of land that isn’t dissimilar to what is being looked at Hillside was acquired.
In each case innovative funding systems needed to be utilised – quite often getting grants from the state government, coupled with a Strategic Purposes Reserve from council.
Mr. Gordon, in response to a query from Councillor White, stated that council avoided compulsory acquisitions as these tended to become expensive and followed the route of negotiations – better for all, all round.
Marita Macrae stated that PNHA and the community appreciate the support Councillors Amon and McTaggart have taken in this land and warmly support their motion to investigate ways it can be brought into public ownership.
“We urge council to make its acquisition a high priority so it can be added to the neighbouring Attunga reserve.” Marita said
“In partnership with residents of Hillside road and others concerned about this environmentally sensitive land, we present to council a petition of over 2200 signatures, requesting council and state government acquire the land for its environmental protection.
“PNHA has had a long interest in the preservation of this land because of its high habitat value and because it is part of the littoral rainforest endangered community (present) and its proximity to Attunga Reserve.
“Such bushland is needed for smaller native birds which can’t survive in suburban garden landscapes which people may not even realise are missing due to the presence of larger ‘bully birds’ such as noisy miners and currawongs.
“The little birds that you find in this kind of bushland include two species of fairy wren, grey and rufous fantails, spotted pardalotes, eastern yellow robin and many more.
“PNHA has noted various attempts to subdivide and sell this land over the years. PNHA objected to development proposals in 2003, 2005 and 2007, and we wondered why we were not notified of the latest DA application. Under Pittwater (council) our previous interest would have earned us the courtesy of a Notification that another DA had been lodged this year.
“Because of the sites endangered ecological community of littoral rainforest the DA had to be referred to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy. At the conclusion of the report provided by the owner it gives a ‘glass half empty’ view of the site whereas we believe it is, in fact, a glass half full. Though degraded in part it has great potential for regeneration.
“In conclusion, we again urge the council to seek means to acquire this land and maintain the outstanding environmental values of the Pittwater area.
The Motion and Decision:
5.1 NOTICE OF MOTION NO 48/2018 - 62 HILLSIDE ROAD, NEWPORT
Cr McTaggart / Cr Amon
A. Council note the community’s strong desire to put into public ownership the environmentally sensitive land known as 62 and 85 Hillside Road, Newport.
B. Council accepts the petition organised by the Pittwater Natural Heritage Association to save this land containing over 2241 signatures as tabled at the meeting.
C. Council write to state and federal members requesting funding to assist with the purchase of the subject lands.
Rob Stokes, Member for Pittwater, and NSW Minister for Education has been keeping up to date with the Newport land acquisition proposal put forward by the community.
“I would be pleased to assist Council with any plans it has to rezone the land for open space and help seek collaborative funding.” Rob said on Friday.
Jason Falinski, Member for Mackellar, stated;
“I welcome the decision by Councillors to explore the options of purchase and or acquisition of this land.”
As the land is zoned for residential use under the 2014 Pittwater LEP that may need to be changed.
As to funding, one current state government program that could apply is the Metropolitan Greenspace Program.
The Metropolitan Greenspace Program (MGP) supports local councils in Greater Sydney and the Central Coast to improve regional open space by co-funding projects that enhance open spaces, parks, bushland, natural areas, waterway corridors and tree-lined streetscapes.
On the GSC webpage pertaining to this it is stated that ‘The Metropolitan Greenspace Program is one of the longest running grant programs in Sydney and since 1990 has awarded over $45 million to more than 620 projects. Funds are awarded to councils on a matching dollar-for-dollar basis.
‘The Greater Sydney Commission manages the Metropolitan Greenspace Program and provides the Minister with recommendations for the funding of individual grants. The Greater Sydney Commission is committed to building a major legacy for future generations by partnering with Councils to deliver projects that assist delivery of the Green Grid network for our communities and this is reflected in the District Plans and Information Note 9: Delivering Green Grid Implementation October 2017 (PDF, 320 KB).
Councils throughout the five Greater Sydney Districts and the Central Coast are eligible to apply.
Next Grants round
The Metropolitan Greenspace Program will be announced in 2018.
The Commission suggests that Councils continue to make draft budget provisions for the 2018-2019 financial year for their MGP projects and proceed with their preliminary investigation of potential projects aligned with the Green Grid Priorities under the recently adopted District Plans. This will allow for councils to prepare for grant applications in 2018 once an official opening of the program is announced by the Minister.
Metropolitan Greenspace Program core objectives
- Improve regionally-significant open space including links between bushland, parks, centres and waterways.
- Enable more effective public use of regionally-significant open space.
- Promote planning and improve access to a diverse mix of open space opportunities for Sydney's community.
- Promote partnership projects between state and local governments, including between different councils.
- Support projects that demonstrate a commitment to the design and future management of open space including improved outcomes for health, sustainability, climate change and the community.
At a federal level the 20 Million Trees Programme identifies four strategic objectives;
- 20 million trees – 20 million trees and associated understorey planted by 2020.
- Environmental conservation – support local environmental outcomes by improving the extent, connectivity and condition of native vegetation that supports native species
- Community engagement – work cooperatively with the community
- Carbon reduction – contribute to Australia reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
On Saturday Councillor Amon said.
”It’s encouraging Council is making attempts to secure this environmentally sensitive land”
“I am lobbying our State and Federal Members of Parliament for funds to save this land which is sensitive under State and Federal laws”
The view from Attunga Reserve
report and photos by A J Guesdon.