Recent comments on applications from NSW Department of Planning Major Project Assessments, NSW

  1. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Andrew Hodgson commented

    I strongly object to the new M5. It will not achieve its stated aims. It has not been compared against public and active transport solutions that will better serve the public.I object to this proposal as there has been little consideration of the public desire for more public transport options and less large roadworks. The inner west is becoming more densely populated with many new high rise developments. Where there are no transport options, this leads to increased car usage.

    NSW Department of Planning Major Project Assessments should look at cities that have neglected public transport and focused on car based options (LA, Manila) and failed. They should also look at cities that have embraced public transport and improved the life of the residents.

  2. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Alison Byrne commented

    I object to this proposal as there has been little consideration of the public desire for more public transport options and less large roadworks. The inner west is becoming more densely populated with many new high rise developments. Where there are no transport options, this leads to increased car usage.

    NSW Department of Planning Major Project Assessments should look at cities that have neglected public transport and focused on car based options (LA, Manila) and failed. They should also look at cities that have embraced public transport and improved the life of the residents.

  3. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Isobel Deane commented

    Just an extra note to the Major projects team at NSW Planning . I want you to register my comment on this application as an OBJECT.
    I very strongly object to this proposal.

  4. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Isobel Deane commented

    The World Health Organization estimated in 2014 that seven million premature deaths are attributable to air pollution, and a significant share is the result of urban transit.
    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/

    Because of this FACT, I am concerned about this project. I think the enormous amount of funds would be better spent on innovative means of transport. Imagine if Sydney led the world in alternatives to private vehicles transportation.

    I am wary of the significant cost blowout for this project, reported in recent weeks. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/the-way-we-justify-investments-in-road-projects-like-westconnex-doesnt-add-up-20151129-glaq7g.html
    I am also concerned about this project because of THESE FACTS.

    Sydney traffic congestion will worsen with or without WestConnex, with the project only making a minor difference to Sydney’s overall traffic in the future. This is another FACT, which does not make the WestConnex project seem like a viable option, according to this independent study http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/232697/150427_COUNCIL_ITEM35_ATTACHMENTA.PDF

    Parliamentary ministers are the public's representatives. The strong public opinion against this project should be listened to and accounted for. The wealth of independent data opposing this project should be carefully considered.

  5. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Sarina Kilham commented

    I strongly object to this proposal. The so-called benefits of saving a few minutes driving time are heavily outweighed by the negative impact that project will have on the area of St Peters. The widening of Campbell Street will result in extra traffic that will be pushed onto the narrow and already crowded roads of Edgeware Rd, May Street, King St and the Princes Hwy around Sydney Park. St Peters is just 7km from the CBD and has much residential development occurring. It is close to public transport and provides a healthy community with shops, schools, public parks and pools all within walking distance. Building a huge interchange and bringing more traffic into this area is an outdated mode of development thinking. I would prefer to see the monies invested in decent reliable public transport for the whole of Sydney and more communities supported to be walkable to reduce car dependency. How the State Government can support this project knowing full well that major lifestyle changes will occur over the next 50 years due to climate change is appalling. How loud does the community have to say that we object before the government pays attention? Indeed the Minister Duncan Gay seems to hold the public opinion in contempt.

  6. In Brookvale NSW on “Brookvale Community Health...” at 612, 620 and 624 Pittwater Road, Brookvale, NSW:

    Frank Arenelli commented

    For many years cars park in front of driveways on the residential side of William Street sometimes they park there the whole day having a lot more people looking for parking could become much worse than it is now not all people would use Community Health Centre carpark.
    Also the increase of traffic along a already busy road being a industrial and a Community school on William street which runs all hours.
    One thing I am not sure about will there be a righthand turn from William Street on to Pittwater Road that will cause more traffic of cars coming from Harbord road to turn right at William street to Pittwater Road.
    I would like to know how these issues will be addressed.

  7. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Damian Haslam commented

    I strongly object to this proposal. Spending the same amount of money on public transport is a significantly better way to invest in Sydney's future. If we can't learn from the mistakes of LA and its ilk, then the future for Sydney is bleak.

  8. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Wendy Bacon commented

    Just an extra note to the Major projects team at NSW Planning . I want you to register my comment on this application as an OBJECT.
    I very strongly object to this proposal. It's important that people state that they OBJECT if they do otherwise comments can be registered as comments only

  9. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Wendy Bacon commented

    This EIS is huge and it is absurd to expect Councils, community groups and members of the public to digest and respond to this over the Summer holiday period. Why not extend the period until the end of February 2016.

    I cannot believe that we have a publicly funded body that would put forward a $16.8 billion project that on the figures provided IN THE EIS ITSELF will actually end up with more traffic and a worse level of service on Stoney Creek Road, Euston Road, Edgeware Road and at times on Kings Street. Who knows what the true figures will be but we can be sure that this is just a recipe for more traffic congestion in Sydney. We already know that over on the M4 East project route the same problem would occur.

    I have spoken to residents in Euston Road and draw your attention to the submission by Vincent Baudel - you are actually planning to bring the road within 2 metres of bedrooms. I have been told no noise wall is even planned there which indicates a callous attitude on the part of consultants employed to deliver this plan at huge public expense.

    AECOM the body that has been paid $13 million of tax payer's money to deliver this EIS has other commercial stakes in the project. I would refer the Planning Department to my blog http://www.wendybacon.com/2015/m4-eis-company-aecom-has-major-stake-in-westconnex-project/

    IA fellow resident emailed me this information last night:

    "I have already looked at table 9-51 in the EIS
    Euston Rd north of Sydney Park Rd
    AM peak
    2021 with project 86% traffic increase
    2031 full WestConnex 114% traffic increase
    PM peak
    2021 with project 56% traffic increase
    2031 full WestConnex 96% traffic increase
    The widening on the road reserve
    on Euston McEvoy and Lachlan is inevitable but WestConnex won’t admit It why?"

    The reason why I think RMS and Westconnex won't admit it is because they don't want to count it as part of the $16.8 billion dollar project. The costs are already blowing out at $2 billion a year - Westconnex is just promoting more road building at the tax payer's expense

    I expect the Planning Department to publish this submission with my name and suburb that I live in on the list of submitters to the EIS that you promise to deliver on your website. I note that you have not done this so far as promised to the nearly 4000 groups and people who submitted to the M4 East proposal. How can you expect people to have faith in the planning process when you can't even keep to simple undertakings about the publication of information?

  10. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    sue commented

    This development will adversely effect nearly everyone in our local community.
    Unfiltered exhaust stacks near schools, parking restrictions and constant construction noise & dust will make life nearby hell.
    I think it's a lot to sacrifice for a few minutes off the commute time for the few that will be willing to pay the hefty tolls.
    All in all I would say poorly planned, so far poorly executed & seriously lacking in vision

  11. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Jacinta O'Brien commented

    Never in all my days have I seen such a poorly thought out plan for a road. It's not a small road either so the changes in air quality will be significant. Are their clauses in the contract for compensation when people start to get sick?

    The proposed M5 roads end at awkward junctions, one way streets that are already busy, lead into school zones which can only cause danger to students and add to conjestion.

    In all seriousness this an appalling design and significant waste of taxer payers money which will only cause detriment to the health, wellbeing and lifestyle of the residents whose homes were not forcibly acquired. Residents clearly oppose it so why force it on us?!

  12. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Nicky Barry commented

    I strongly object this proposal. Sydney needs better public transport not more roads. More roads = more cars and more congestion somewhere. This M5 extension and the proposed Westconex seams to be trying to be worked out as it progresses. Sounds like the whole thing is I'll worked out and poorly planned.

  13. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Joe Ortenzi commented

    I strongly object to the new M5. It will not achieve its stated aims. It has not been compared against public and active transport solutions that will better serve the public.

    We need more public transport and for jobs and industry to be distributed across greater Sydney to reduce the need for people to commute into the city centre from suburbs an hour away.

    The M5 extension needs to be stopped, and a business case put forward BEFORE a solution is started. Many high quality transport solutions have been put forward, in far more populated cities than Sydney, that don't put so many eggs in a car-centric solution. There are hundreds of great ideas suggested by non-partisan experts we should have considered first.

    This motorway, aside form decimating the neighbourhoods it seeks to support, has a very poor return on investment and will cause more problems than it purports to resolve.

  14. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Jasmine Andrews commented

    This development is inappropriate and will destroy the character and amenity of our local community. We need more public transport and for jobs and industry to be distributed across greater Sydney to reduce the need for people to commute into the city centre from suburbs an hour away. The more this goes on, the fewer businesses will be left in the inner region of Sydney anyway - it's going to be all highways and apartment towers.

  15. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Vincent Bardet commented

    I'm a resident of the 125 Euston Road, at the intersection of Sydney Park Road and Euston Road where your project plan to widen the road from four to seven lanes coming as close as two metres from our bedrooms windows. I would like to know - based on your environmental study - how soon we will have a car landing in our three-year-old twins' bedroom.

    Aside from the fact that the Westconnex project is a pure political idiocy which is based on a flawed business case, urbanism ideas from the 1970s and a waste of AU$15bn which could be better used to sort the Sydney road congestion issues with a proper public transport plan, the widening of Euston Road is dangerous for the residents of the 125 and 95. We can't wait for the first fatality to get an acknowledgement that this shouldn't have been done in the first place.

    I dont see how the widening of Euston Road will solve any congestion issues as it only pushes the bottle neck 500 metres further up the road to the intersection of Euston and Maddox where the road goes back to four lanes. What difference does it make? It only creates a nightmare for the families living there.

    If your project really has the support of the majority of Sydney councils and Westconnex goes ahead, then, rather than widening Euston Road, why don't you use Bourke Road (which doesn't have any residential developments) and connect directly with Botany Road and the M1?

  16. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Jen Barnett commented

    NO. This motorway is against community wishes and makes no sense for the future well-being of Sydney. Better public transport is what is required. No intelligent city in the world thinks more roads bringing more cars into its centre is the answer. BUILD LIGHT RAIL INSTEAD.

  17. In Saint Peters NSW on “M5 East - New multi lane...” at M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road, Beverly Hills and St Peters, , NSW:

    Andrew Chuter commented

    I strongly object to the new M5. It will not achieve its stated aims. It has not been compared against public and active transport solutions that will better serve the public.

  18. In Majors Creek NSW on “Dargues Reef Mine -...” at Majors Creek Road, Majors Creek, 13 km south of Braidwood, Southern Tablelands, Majors Creek, NSW:

    Bernie Du-Field commented

    The original development application may have deliberately omitted the use of cyanide on site to increase the likelihood of approval. To modify the application now is a cynical manipulation of the planning process.
    My understanding is that the tailings storage facilities (TSF) of the type proposed 'have a track record of leaks and some catastrophic failures that lead to discharge of large masses of cyanide to the environment'.
    I live in Moruya and my drinking water is drawn from the Deua river which we live adjacent to & our children play in.
    It is simply not worth the risk.

  19. In Epping NSW on “Pedestrian bridge over...” at Beecroft Road, Epping, NSW:

    Rod commented

    Anything that improves access across (under, over, through) the rail road corridor barrier that divides is to be supported. The existing connection is very limited restricted and not very convenient or safe. I assume the advertising is to help fund the project.

  20. In Blayney NSW on “Blayney Export Meats...” at 137 Newbridge Road, Blayney, NSW:

    Alexandra Wiseman commented

    Although I would like to see additional employment opportunities in the Blayney Shire, object to the proposal on the ground of the transport route proposed for livestock carriers.

    As I understand it, currently the plan is for trucks carrying feral goats (with potential parasites, viruses etc) through Millthorpe. Similarly, via that route, they would have to go through the middle of Blayney, too.

    Evidence of disease: "Feral goats are susceptible to devastating exotic livestock diseases including foot-and-mouth disease, scrapie, rinderpest, Rift Valley fever, rabies and blue tongue. Unchecked, wild herds could play a major role in the spread of infection and act as a reservoir if these diseases are introduced to Australia. Feral goats are prone to a number of diseases currently in Australia including Q fever, tetanus, leptospirosis, brucella melitensis, hydatids, pulpy kidney, blackleg, and various
    parasitic worms of the gastro-intestinal tract." (Source: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/55200/IPA-Feral-Goat-PA18.pdf)

    Millthorpe in particular involves a lot of pedestrian activity. People walk to school, to the GP and chemist, to the variety of small businesses, to the park and oval. It is a pedestrian village, and also a tourist village. The heritage of the village is very much a draw card and as well as historic buildings, the village has bluestone kerb and guttering and other heritage features. Obviously, large numbers of heavy vehicles could impact on the heritage features of the village.

    The route would take this large number of trucks past Millthorpe Public School, as well as Blayney Public School and Blayney High School, during the period when children are leaving school - this is a health hazard and a safety issue. While the law may say drivers are to observe a 40km speed limit during this period, in my experience, truck drivers are often the worst offenders at speeding through school zones and even if they observe the speed limit, the risk of injury or death is increased as trucks take longer to stop and are heavier - creating a greater impact.

    As well as general safety and the safety of children, there is also the safety of the aged population to consider, as there is a SEPP 55 aged residential facility with direct access to Park St/Orange Road/Millthorpe Road. Older people are at greater risk of falls, disorientation, poor eye sight etc. This presents an additional safety risk as they need to cross Park St in front of the school to get to the GP and chemist.

    If a condition was included in an approval that stipulated a particular truck route that avoided Park St, Millthorpe and the entire Millthorpe village (for example, the developer to improve Guyong Rd and the route to be Millthorpe-Vittoria Rd, Guyong Rd then the Mid-Western Hwy - thus the increased traffic impact would be on a handful of farms rather than an entire village and three schools) then I would be in favour of this application.

    Until or unless the truck route is changed, then I object on the grounds of health and safety, as well as the impact on the amenity of the village of Millthorpe.

    I am a rate payer in Millthorpe (Blayney Shire), we have chosen to build our home there because it is a quiet, safe village with a wonderful school for our children.

    Please do not change that.

  21. In Kurri Kurri NSW on “Weston Aluminium Dross...” at 129 Mitchell Avenue, Weston, NSW:

    Col Maybury commented

    This application should not be approved. As a resident of Kurri Kurri and a retired Industrial Instrument Technician with wide process control experience I am well aware Weston Aluminium is too close to residential areas and has in the past polluted those areas. Their application to burn in furnaces, designed to reduce dross, drugs and pharmaceuticals is in my opinion incorrect and could be dangerous to residents. However it must be done somewhere and Weston Aluminium have indicated the sharing of pollution recordings with residents and locals which is an appreciated move. Weston Aluminium state they are proposing this function because of a downturn in their core dross treatment business and the question must be asked what next, the disposal of hospital waste and body parts? As I stated in the beginning this plant is too close to residential areas and would be much better sited at the now redundant smelter site where their equipment and plant could be used to treat the hundred of thousands of contaminated and poisonous smelter wastes including Spent Pot Lining on that site.

  22. In Rozelle NSW on “Sydney Super Yacht Marina,...” at James Craig Road, Rozelle Bay, NSW:

    Julie Rigg commented

    While outdoor dining and socialising spaces this side of the harbour ( Rozelle White Bay etc ) this "consolidated " marina is way too big, and threatens to lock out local residents from yet more of the foreshore. The new passenger berth for cruise ships has already stopped many present and future residents from accessing the foreshore. This " consolidation" of separate marinas is a defacto extension of scale driving greater density/ traffic congestion/ noise and pollution.
    Where I live, in Balmain East, a block up from the foreshore the fireworks from Darling Harbour and its associated entertainments occurr nightly at around 9.30 pm. The dog goes crazy and rushes from one end of the house to another .Add to this the music and loudspeakers associated with large outdoor entertament spaces, already disturbing from the Darling Harbour/ city side, extended through this proposed development, and we have a recipe for a very abrasive environment.
    Don't get me wrong: I support a "living city". I support reasonable foreshore development around this side of the inner harbour . But yachties playgrounds and mass spectacle entertainment should not extend across the water .

  23. In Rozelle NSW on “Sydney Super Yacht Marina,...” at James Craig Road, Rozelle Bay, NSW:

    Neill Francis commented

    No.
    "Super" is a good word to use to describe this development. Increasing the number of "super" sized motor yachts from 24 to 43 will increase traffic in this area with trucks supplying all these "super" sized motor yachts, as well as maintenance traffic and the people sailing/motoring on these yachts. Why not share the burden and build a "super" yacht marina in the eastern basin of the Harbour? With all these "super" motor yachts moored in Rozelle Bay will one see the water?

  24. In Rozelle NSW on “Sydney Super Yacht Marina,...” at James Craig Road, Rozelle Bay, NSW:

    Neill Francis commented

    I agree that Rozelle Bay should be part of a "working Harbour", but not an "overworked Harbour". Has any consideration been made to the recent announcement, that this part of Sydney is going to have a massive residential development in the near future? What improvements have been made to the surrounding road systems to facilitate the increase in cars in the car park from 219 to 307, or will Westconnex deliver these cars to this car park? This is at the conjunction of two of the busiest roads in Sydney - more cars, more congestion, more pollution.

  25. In Ravensworth NSW on “Mount Owen Mining Complex -...” at 666 Hebden Road, Ravensworth, NSW:

    barrie griffiths commented

    Barrie Griffiths
    North East Forest Alliance
    P.O. Box 9 Singleton 2330.

    March 6th 2015.
    Major Projects, Department of Planning

    Objection to Proposed Extension, Mount Owen Mine.

    In December 1993 and January 1994, and again in May and July 1994 I submitted detailed written critiques of the Mount Owen project and extension on behalf of NEFA, and made representations to the first and second sessions of the Commission of Inquiry. Again in July 2004, I appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into yet a further extension.

    I objected to any further coal mining or mine extensions because of global warming; I was appalled that a State Forest could be sacrificed for a coal mine, that a manifestly inadequate EIS be submitted in support, and specifically that the conservation significance of the remnant Spotted Gum-Ironbark- Grey Box forest and woodland, and of the fauna habitat values of this rare valley-floor remnant, had been so grossly understated and so negligently overlooked. It was evident that the Department of Planning had failed to assess the proposal objectively and professionally; and significantly, although the original Report by NPWS opposed the project, the Service were subsequently persuaded to drop their objection.

    It is absurd to pretend that because of offsetting there is not a net loss when an area of high biodiversity and ecosystem services value is destroyed. If the offset area comprises equivalent values, it should be protected in any case on precisely the grounds requiring compensation for the impending loss. And indeed, failure to do so over past decades has been in breach of environmental protection law and policy, inadequate though these are. A major ground of objection to development and mining approvals during the 1990s and since, has been the increasing politicisation of the assessment and approval processes, to the point today where the bias and dishonesty of Government Agencies in servicing the demands of development and mining interests is absolutely appalling - shameful. Proponents commission and governments routinely approve, assessments which assert - contrary to science, available data and common sense - “no significant impact”; legislative protections have been removed, the Land and Environment Court has been sidelined, public participation and appeal rights have been removed. The Planning and Assessment Commission is fraudulent, supposedly independent but clearly a rubber-stamp mechanism applying token assessment of proposals routinely approved with conditions permitting the destruction of rare, endangered vegetation and habitat, and the decimation or complete destruction of local communities.

    Fraudulent use of offsetting has become increasingly prominent in this shameful history, as illustrated here. Mining and other developments in the Hunter Valley overwhelmingly impact remnant habitats and vegetation communities occurring on private land which have suffered very high rates of clearing and fragmentation, and degradation from grazing and frequent fire. Consequently these communities are mostly rare and endangered, and because of inadequacies in the listing process, this includes communities not currently listed. In this situation the EIS resorts to “related” communities and “substitute ratios” to offset the destruction of an area of EEC acknowledged to be irreplaceable. And because in the Hunter Valley Floor remnants with significant mature component and abundance of hollows and forage resource, as is proposed to be destroyed here, constitute a category even more rare and precious, the Offset Strategy here relies significantly on mere assertions that grassland is “likely” to become woodland over time, that existing regeneration is “tending towards” the EEC as defined, and “will result in a substantial gain for hollow-dependent fauna species.” In the end, notwithstanding all this weakening of offset principles, there is still a very significant deficit in the offset area for the Central Hunter Ironbark Spotted Gum Grey Box Forest EEC.

    It is all very pathetic, and embarrasing to read; and it is shocking to know, that this nonsense will be approved by the Department of Planning, EPA and other agencies, and of course given the rubber stamp by the PAC.

    The Offset Strategy is as follows:

    “The Cross Creek Offset Site contains a total area of 367 hectares, of which 51.7 hectares comprises Central Hunter Ironbark – Spotted Gum – Grey Box Forest EEC listed under the TSC Act. The remaining area of the property, approximately 315.3 hectares, comprises native grassland, which is likely to have once supported Central Hunter Ironbark – Spotted Gum – Grey Box Forest. Most of the grassland areas are likely to naturally regenerate into a functional woodland ecosystem over time, with the strategic management of stock on the property. Some active management is likely to be required to regenerate the Cross Creek Offset Site into a woodland community due to the high level of clearing the property has been subject to. The regeneration of the woodland community would provide a significant environmental gain as an outcome of offsetting for the Project, balanced with the immediate outcome of protecting 51.7 hectares of Central Hunter Ironbark – Spotted Gum – Grey Box Forest EEC, a community that will be potentially significantly impacted by the Project. The
    provision of a ‘like for like’ offset, i.e. offsetting the vegetation type impacted with the same vegetation type, is a key outcome of the inclusion of the Cross Creek Offset Site in the Biodiversity Offset Strategy.

    “Although much of the vegetation is relatively young and hollow-bearing trees are present
    only in low abundance, the general health of the vegetation is good and the diversity and
    abundance of introduced flora species is generally low. The grassland community contains a relatively high diversity of native flora species and these areas are considered likely to regenerate into Central Hunter Ironbark – Spotted Gum – Grey Box Forest, providing grazing and other pressures, are minimised. The ongoing regeneration of the Cross Creek Offset Site will allow hollow-dependent fauna species to colonise from adjacent Biodiversity Offset Areas once the vegetation is mature enough for populations of these species. This will result in a substantial gain for hollow-dependent fauna species in the central Hunter Valley, especially as hollow-bearing trees are a limiting resource in the local area due to the long history of vegetation clearance for agriculture and the time required for mature trees to develop tree hollows.

    “The Cross Creek Offset Site also provides a direct, ‘like for like’ land-based offset for three threatened species that are potentially significantly impacted by the Project and for an additional cave-roosting threatened bat that will also be impacted through the loss of habitat (although not significantly) as a result of the Project.”

    The Director-General's Requirements include:

    “A comprehensive offset strategy for the development including a justification of how the strategy would maintain or improve the terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity values of the region in the medium to long term.”

    We submit it is obvious from the EIS, and from the Offset Strategy as quoted, that this requirement is not met. It is clear that in the medium to long term this project represents a most significant loss of biodiversity values, likely to include a significant contribution to the continuing decline, towards regional extinction, of species of fauna dependent on the hollows and other resources including winter-flowering species, associated with mature Spotted-Gum Ironbark communities.

    The EIS claims “The Cross Creek Offset Site provides targeted ‘like for like’ vegetation and threatened fauna habitats.” It manifestly does not do so. The claim is absurd:

    “The Proposed Disturbance Area includes approximately 217.7 hectares of woodland and forest communities, where tree hollows were recorded in high densities (75 per hectare) due to the dominance of mature spotted gum in the canopy. “ (EIS App 11 at 4.13).

    The Cross Creek Offset Site is predominantly cleared; remnant trees are thinly scattered, such that reckoning it as 50 hectares, and calling this woodland and forest, “like-for-like” to that to be destroyed, seems contrived and ridiculous. Likewise talk of the remaining 300-odd hectares of cleared grazing country becoming in the long-term, compensatory EEC and habitat, and talk of regenerating land as “trending towards the Central Hunter Ironbark – Spotted Gum – Grey Box Forest EEC” to “counterbalance the loss of regionally and state significant vegetation communities, fauna habitats and threatened species” is lame and unconvincing indeed!

    The Offset Strategy acknowledges that “like-for-like communities are not readily available for offsetting in the Hunter Valley”, and consequently the strategy relies on ‘related’ vegetation types to offset the Ecologically Endangered Community proposed to be destroyed. The EIS states

    “This approach is valid where there is some ecological relationship/similarity between the target community and that with which it is offset. Similarity can be measured through floristic, habitat or geographic relationship.”

    This is absurd - almost any two communities could be found to have some similarity within such broad parameters.

    The EIS also states that

    “As the relative impact on the subject species, population or vegetation community increases, that is, as the entity becomes more ‘irreplaceable’, the proportion of the offset area to impact area typically increases. The degree of ‘irreplaceability’ is generally recognised by the level of listing under NSW and/or Commonwealth legislation afforded to the subject entity, although this is subject to whether or not the entity has been nominated for listing.”

    State or Commonwealth listing is an inadequate measure of irreplaceability, for a number of reasons. The Scientific Committee occasionally acts to increase an entity's status, for example from Endangered to Critically Endangered, or to reduce the status, or delist an entity; and I believe the Committee may initiate a listing process, although I'm not aware of it doing so directly. NPWS or OEH can and have initiated a listing, although this occurs very rarely, or they may commission and fund an assessment which may lead to a listing (for example, Stephen Bell's surveys of various Spotted Gum - Ironbark communities in the Lower Hunter). Also, for various reasons botanists undertaking surveys tend not to nominate entities, notwithstanding assessing them as meeting criteria for listing. Consequently the process is overly dependent on listings initiated by citizens. NSW listing of Hunter Valley vegetation communities has occurred many years after they have been assessed as meeting criteria, and a number remain to be nominated. The situation is even worse with respect to Commonwealth listing. Over a decade ago I submitted nominations to the NSW Committee, for six Hunter Valley communities, which had been assessed some years previously as meeting criteria; the process to Final Determination took 3 to 4 years in each case, during which time the largest and most significant remnants (for example, of Central Hunter Spotted-Gum Ironbark Grey Box Forest) were destroyed.

    The listing process is also an inadequate measure of irreplaceability because with respect to vegetation, it is based on floristics – vegetation type – not structure or condition. For the Hunter Valley, and especially the Valley Floor, sizeable mature forest and woodland remnants on private land are especially rare, and provide critical fauna habitat and resources, regardless of the particular floristics which determine whether listing criteria are met.

    So that whilst listing and protecting rare vegetation types, as unique assemblages of plants and animals in place, is vital, it is nonsensical to fail to also recognise and protect the very significant values remnant mature forest and woodland areas provide.

    And of course, further illustrating how farcical this is, is the fact that listing is largely a sham, because high conservation value vegetation continues to be approved for clearing, regardless of listed status.

    The requirement that offsets should be local has never really been applied, and now seems abandoned entirely. Since ‘like-for-like’communities are scarcely to be found locally, or anywhere for that matter, in the Hunter, the strategy in this EIS is “to seek non-local areas where long-term protection can be more readily afforded to the same and ‘related’ vegetation communities.”

    Moreover, even offset areas set aside for protection, generally as feeble, inadequate compensation, may be subsequently permitted for mining, as has occurred with this Mount Owen Mine, and a number of others.

    In oral submission to the 2004 Commission of Inquiry into Mount Owen Mine we stated:

    “ If conditions of consent can be breached with impunity (for example, the corridor), and then approval ten years later can be gained in contravention of original conditions of approval, then the assessment and approval process is abused and corrupted. A developer is encouraged to proceed deceitfully, gaining objectives incrementally, in stages - objectives which taken together are unacceptable - and to meanwhile breach, ignore or fail to fully comply with conditions considered expensive or inconvenient. .. (We) object to the use of dishonest and misleading language, such as describing the destruction of an area of forest as "disturbance". This is a matter I raised in submissions to the first Inquiry. Moreover, I consider there is the appearance of a more fundamental dishonesty, in waiting 10 years and then applying for extensions which may have been considered imprudent to seek initially, and which are contrary to the original approval conditions. I consider it is necessary to restore public confidence in the integrity of Inquiries, that communities may feel the question whether to approve is genuinely at issue. “
    (Barrie Griffiths, NEFA July 1st 2004)

    These grounds of objection are even more compelling now, with Government weakening legislation and regulation,and offsetting principles etc, and colluding with a mining company to subvert the Court's ruling (Bulga, Warkworth). And it was revealed just recently that complicity between Government, through its agencies, and mining interests, has reached a new low:

    “Large swaths of the Upper Hunter are likely to be cleared to make way for as many as 16 new or expanded open-cut coal mines, according to leaked studies prepared by the Office of the Environment and Heritage and 11 major mining companies. The OEH has been working with mining giants, including BHP, Glencore and Rio Tinto, to assess new coal projects that could cover as much as 45,000 hectares, or about 18 times the size of the City of Sydney. Each miner paid $93,000 to help cover the costs of the assessment, the OEH said.”

    ( SMH, February 28, 2015, Major new coal mines planned for the Upper Hunter).

    I object to this project proceeding, and I object to any further approvals of new mines or mine extensions, as irresponsible and indefensible because of global warming and the severe loss of biodiversity in the Hunter, and the dreadful impacts on the health and amenity of local and regional communities affected, and I object to the cynicism, dishonesty, fraud, and corruption involved in perverting proper assessment and approval processes.

    Barrie Griffiths

    Co-ordinator, Hunter Region,
    North East Forest Alliance.

  26. In Redfern NSW on “60-78 Regent Street,...” at 60-78 Regent Street, Redfern, NSW:

    GRANT WHYTE commented

    The 2x 18 story buildings there are already enough! its going to look a total eyesore!
    Start thinking about envoiment this is really going to impacted on the area that is just starting to lift its status student accommodation does nothing to add value or help the CBD of Redfern.
    I have been a long time supporter of Redfern and love living here this really is going to put Redfern back 10 years as it was.
    Not that Like the 2x 18 story buildings but at least working people are looking after them and occupants are spending money in area surely this is one of the most important factors Students spend very little!
    You only need to look at Auckland NZ the downtown is a mess, it used to be very beautiful and now it is ruined with student high raise's everywhere it truley is a disgrace.
    You also are NOT condsidering the 2x 18 story buildings how there light and views are going to be effected!

    PLEASE FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FANTASTIC SUBURB PLEASE STOP IT!

  27. In Redfern NSW on “60-78 Regent Street,...” at 60-78 Regent Street, Redfern, NSW:

    Michelle Maarhuis commented

    This project should NOT be approved.

    The area directly surrounding is already heavily densely populated with tall apartment buildings. You would be obstructing the view from local businesses and adjacent apartment complexes. It would be a travesty to inject another unnecessary tower into the area. Not only is it visually displeasing, it will create a further draft to the already wind tunnel that leads through to Redfern Station. It will cast a shadow over Regent Street.

    There are also a high number of developments recently approved in the area, you are putting local residents at risk of not being able to rent out their properties and potential market crash for Redfern.

  28. In Urunga NSW on “Urunga Contaminated Site -...” at Hillside Drive, Urunga, NSW:

    JOHN commented

    If any soil is disturbed by this development it will have a disastrous impact on the whole river and lagoon system in south Urunga and probably the Kalang & Bellinger river systems..The first big storm will wash it all down to the lagoon..Please do not allow this to happen..Once you allow this poison into the water system, YOU CAN NOT FIX IT THEN..Please don't let this happen..This is not an environmental remedy, it is a commercial one..Any commercial benefit from this development will be at the cost of the environment..Thank you

  29. In Pyrmont NSW on “Commercial Building C2 and...” at Barangaroo South, Barangaroo, NSW:

    Margaret-Rose Stringer commented

    A SEVEN STOREY building ???? Then it is your firm intention to build these montrosities all around the Pyrmont waterline.
    You people are OBSCENE.
    HOW DARE you do this to us ???
    It's bad enough having 'Barangaroo' on the other side of Darling Harbour: now you plan to keep calling all your revolting developments, every single one of which removes from the ordinary residents of this area more water and light, leaving nothing but noise and traffic and filth ... calling them ALL Barangaroo ????
    Whilst I am totally cognizant of the fact that nothing I could say - even were it to be presented calmly and rationally and backed up with all manner of data - would make one iota of difference, I am nevertheless driven to let you know what I think of all of you.
    YOU ARE DISGUSTING.
    You care NOTHING for people - just money.
    You don't even care for your city !!!!

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