Re-Classification of Land – Austin Butler Access Lot 9 DP235385
Objection by Peter Gillis on behalf of Woy Woy PRA Inc.
Mr Gillis was one of three residents who were not allowed to address the public forum on September 26 as the required four speakers per item had already registered. Here is the speech he could not deliver:
Mr Administrator, Council staff.
My name is Peter Gillis, I’m here representing the Woy Woy Peninsula Residents Association.
The Council are proposing to sell over 4,000 square meters of a public reserve to Peninsula Plaza to allow Woolworths to expand their shopping facility. The 44 trees
in that area will be replaced by roadway, a walkway, and 79 car spaces.
The Council states that this sale is “to enable improved pedestrian safety and heavy vehicle docking”.
The area in question includes 44 mature Melaleuca trees, over 80 years old, which are the habitat for a multitude of local wildlife, and this is the only stand of mature tall
trees for a 2 square kilometre area in the Woy Woy heartland.
The LPP has recommended that the Council defer the reclassification of this RE1 Zone pending an environmental assessment, but the Council is ignoring that advice.
The reserve is of extreme environmental importance due to its uniqueness in the centre of a highly built-up suburb suffering from an increasing heat island effect, which will only get worse.
The loss of any trees in this area will exacerbate this, and turning the area into a concrete and bitumen jungle is nothing short of a disaster.
The Council state that the sale is contingent on DPIE Gateway approval of the reclassification, after which the public will be invited to comment during an exhibition
The Peninsula residents have zero confidence that this process will consider any of their objections. Our experience with the Ettalong foreshore development attests to that. That foreshore high-rise had a petition of 2000 signatures against the proposal, and 97 objections to it during the exhibition. The objections were ignored by the Administrator, who approved development proposal.
The Council have a shocking record in regard to trees on the Peninsula. A recent request to plant shade trees in the Umina Beach car park behind the dunes fell on
deaf ears, and that mass of concrete and bitumen will create unbearable localized heat in the coming Summer months.
The Council’s offer to put the sale proceeds of Austin Butler towards a Ten Year long- term greening program comes a little late – the Peninsula’s heat island effect is
the worst in the State, and promises to be extremely dangerous to community health this summer.
The community is rightly upset at this proposal. The idea of knocking down 44 trees to pave paradise and put up a Woolworths parking lot is shameful.
End of Speech.