Login

Porters Creek Wetland

  • CEN argues that airport masterplan should be withdrawn from exhibition

    CEN DOES NOT SUPPORT the exhibited Draft Central Coast Airport Masterplan. In fact, we’ve recommended that the masterplan be withdrawn as it is neither a balanced nor transparent document that enables the community to make fully-informed submissions.

    We appreciate that the council has a duty of care to prepare a masterplan for the ongoing operations of the airstrip. However, the aim of the exhibited draft masterplan completely omits the fact the airport is physically linked by its operations to a state significant coastal wetland.

    The masterplan must be amended to recognize the biodiversity values and contribution of the Porters Creek Wetland to Tuggerah Lakes and the whole Central Coast environment.

    CEN contends that the council has a duty of case to prepare a masterplan for Porters Creek Wetland. We believe the strategic objectives of the wetland formed part of a Conservation Agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) that was canned by our council-under-administration in 2021.

    The exhibited draft masterplan refers to ecological assessments conducted by AEP and de Witt Ecology. We have informally asked for those assessments to be made public and the council has refused. CEN believes the studies must be proactively released as part of the current consultation process.

    Please read our whole submission (below) and help us to achieve permanent protection for Porters Creek Wetland before any airport expansion is approved by writing your own submission, in your own words, using the points raised in ours. Make sure you send your submission to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.u before the closing date on 13 February 2024.

    Here's our full submission:

    Although the Central Coast Airport (CCA) has a contentious history, the CEN has never formally opposed the operation of the airfield as it has a valid consent to operate a 970 metre length runway. CEN recognises that, as the CCA is a Council Asset, Council not only has the authority to prepare a Masterplan but it has a duty of care to prepare a Masterplan for its ongoing operation.

    After undertaking a comprehensive review and analysis of the documents available on Council’s Your Voice Our Coast website and having the opportunity to review CEN’s library and records which contain various GIPA documents, the CEN does not support the exhibited Draft Central Coast Airport Masterplan. The CEN strongly recommends that the Masterplan be withdrawn as it is neither a balanced nor transparent document that enables the community to make fully informed submissions.

    The CEN makes the request to withdraw the current Draft Central Coast Airport Masterplan on the following grounds.

    1. Purpose and Objectives of the Master Plan

    It is noted the purpose of the Masterplan is that:

    Council is aiming to develop the Central Coast Airport into a general aviation hub which integrates aviation, technology, education, and business, and provides opportunities for interaction, collaboration, and alliances in the general aviation sector.

    The above aim completely omits the fact that the airport is physically linked by its operation to the state significant coastal wetland under State Environmental Planning Policy Resilience and Hazards (SEPP R & H) which is locally referred to as Porters Creek Wetland. Therefore, the aim should be amended to read:

    Council is aiming to develop the Central Coast Airport into a general aviation hub which integrates aviation, technology, education, and business, and provides opportunities for interaction, collaboration, and alliances in the general aviation sector while recognising the biodiversity values and contribution of the Porters Creek Wetland to Tuggerah Lakes and the wider Central Coast Environment.

    The rationale for amending the aim is that Porters Creek Wetland is the region’s largest freshwater wetland, a backup water supply during drought and the lungs of the Tuggerah Lakes, Wyong River and Porters Creek catchment. Wetlands are now known to be critical for extracting and storing carbon from the earth’s atmosphere.

    In 2021 the Central Coast Council under administration halted a Conservation Agreement (CA) with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of NSW (BCT) to permanently protect Porters Creek Wetland. At the time CEN wrote to and met with Mr Persson and senior members of council’s planning and environment staff to express our opposition to the council’s withdrawal from the CA. Since that time Central Coast Council under administration has invested time, resources and money into master planning for the airport without first fulfilling its legal obligations to protect the wetland.

    Stonewalling and misleading information about the “need for further consultation with neighbouring landholders” was offered as an excuse for council not finalising the CA.

    As Council has a duty of care to prepare a Masterplan for the Airport, CEN contends that Council equally has a duty of care to prepare a Masterplan strategy for Porters Creek Wetland. CEN understands that the Masterplan or strategic long term plan for the Porters Creek Wetland was incorporated into the management objectives contained within the abandoned CA with the BCT.

    The CEN contests that preparation of the Masterplan for the airport must have equal weight with the management objectives contained with the CA with the BCT.

    The draft masterplan states:

    “All development on the airport site must consider the findings and recommendations of the ecological assessments undertaken by AEP and de Witt Ecology”.

    However, the documents on exhibition do not include the AEP and de Witt Ecology studies. This makes it impossible for the community and environmental stakeholders, such as CEN, to make a fully informed response to the current Draft Airport Masterplan exhibition.

    On the 16 January 2024, the CEN lodge and Informal Access Request for Information to view the environmental studies. On 17 January 2024, CEN was informed that a Formal Access to Information Request under the GIPA Act was required to view the documents. We believe these documents must form part of the exhibition for the airport Masterplan and, in the interests of transparency, we call for their immediate proactive release via the Your Voice Our Coast website.

    Two areas colour-coded indigo in the draft Masterplan, located to the west and east of the current ALA, have been earmarked as either additional wetland or additional industrial land, pending how much demand there is for this new general aviation hub. This land is currently zoned C2 – Environmental Conservation. This is the highest level of protection available under the NSW

    standard planning instrument to protect sensitive endangered ecological communities and their habitat.

    The exhibited draft Masterplan does not explain the current status of the “investigation areas”, the potential loss of biodiversity involved if they were to be added to the airport expansion or the process involved in rezoning this land. These omissions from the current exhibition again make it impossible for the community and stakeholders to provide fully informed feedback on the current proposal.

    The draft masterplan states that:

    “Whilst passenger services at CCA are not envisaged in the foreseeable future (for at least 10 years), it would be prudent to reserve land for this purpose. The Master Plan includes a site for this purpose on the west side of the runway”.

    The draft masterplan documents placed on public exhibition fail to explain that a rezoning (planning proposal) would be required as the proposed land use – an airport passenger terminal – definitely is not permitted with consent on land zoned C2 Environmental Conservation. We believe Central Coast Council has a legal obligation to provide the full facts to the public before it can legitimately move forward with any plans to expand the airport that impact negatively on endangered ecological communities, threatened species or wildlife corridors. CEN believes all three would be placed at grave risk if this proposal is adopted and approved by NSW Planning.

    A 250m public safety area boundary which is supposed to keep foot traffic and aircraft at safe distances from each other would appear to prohibit passive recreation or any recreation in a substantial part of the existing wetland even though passive recreation is a permitted use on C2 land.

    The long-term viability of Porters Creek Wetland is already under threat due directly to the actions of both Central Coast Council and the NSW Government. Promised stormwater management, which was a condition of allowing more development in the Porters Creek catchment, was replaced in 2021-22 with “nature-based solutions” although the specifics of Central Coast Council’s “nature-based” approach to stormwater management has never been made clear to the public.

    Porters Creek Wetland is classified as operational land which means it can currently be sold without community consultation. Council’s executive leadership team have made public statements that PCW cannot be reclassified from operational to community land (necessary to underpin its long-term security) until the airport Masterplan and expansion is complete. CEN believes this position is legally precarious for Central Coast Council, which has legal obligations to ensure its actions are ecologically sustainable and cannot knowingly damage or destroy native flora and fauna under the BCA. CEN recommends that the Airport Masterplan be deferred until Porters Creek Wetland is reclassified as community land.

    2. Master Plan Context - (Historical Context)

    With all due respect, the information provided under section 2.1 Historical Background, does not provide a true and accurate record of the airport’s history. In fact, by being aware of the history, the current information appears to be a blatant attempt to rewrite history to justify a specific outcome rather than present facts to enable the broader community to make and informed decision on acceptance or rejection of the Masterplan.

    The CEN recommends the following or similar wording be included in a revised Masterplan:

    Central Coast Airport (also known as Warnervale Airport) was opened in 1973 following engagement by a local group of aviation enthusiasts with Wyong Shire Council to rezone an area of land for the establishment of a landing area for recreational flying activities.

    The airport was operated solely by the Central Coast Aero Club until the 1980s when a land swap was negotiated with Wyong Shire Council whereby the Aero Club consolidated the area around their club rooms and Council assumed ownership of the runway and movement areas. Council completed sealing works and the provision of utilities to the airport site and contracted Central Coast Aero Club to conduct regular maintenance activities.

    In 1993 a master plan was developed for the airport which proposed the extension of the runway to cater for regular passenger services and a freight hub. There was opposition to these proposals which culminated in a political intervention with the establishment of the Warnervale Airport Restriction Act 1996 (WAR Act) in NSW State Parliament. The WAR Act curtailed the ability for Wyong Shire Council to develop the airport site beyond limited maintenance work.

    In 2015 the activities of the former Wyong Shire Council (WSC) ignited a contentious expansion of the CCA without undertaking proper environmental assessment in accordance with both lodging a Development Application (DA) with and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for clearing of native swamp vegetation within land zoned C2 Environmental Conservation and the clearing of native vegetation in the State Environmental Planning Policy Resilience and Hazards (SEPP R & H) – Coastal Wetland of Porter’s Creek. The need to lodge an EIS with the DA is required pursuant to clause 2.6(2) of the SEPP R & H.

    In addition, to breaching the requirement to lodge a DA with and EIS for the clearing of native vegetation the former WSC failed to undertake the proper environmental assessment in the extension and upgrading of the runway from 970 metres to 1196 meters. In 2015 the Department of Planning determined that the extension and upgrading of the runway was an ‘activity’ and was in breach of Section 5.1 and 5.5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP & A Act). Furthermore, as the extension of and upgrading of the runway changes the scale of the airport from a Category 1 airfield to a Category 2 airfield with enables passenger aircraft to use the airfield results in a significant change is scale of operation.

    Consequently, pursuant to section 5.7(1)(a) of the EP & A Act when Council should have undertaken the environmental assessment it should have prepared an EIS in the prescribed form and manner. Due to the multiple breaches of the EP & A Act the former WSC was fined $3,000 and the Department sought a formal undertaking from Council to carry out remediation works.

    Recognising that Council had to prepare a plan to undertake remediation works the Council resolved on 8 July 2019 under minute 659/19:

    That a report be prepared and submitted to Council on the following:

    a Council undertaking remediation on land that was formerly part of Lot 26 DP 1159349 that was reportedly cleared in or around August/September 2015 and subject to correspondence with the Department of Planning

    b Council developing a replanting plan in consultation with an ecologist prior to undertaking the remediation in minute number 659/19 part (a) above with such a plan specifying the proposed planting (species, size, number and location) as well as measures to ensure the plants are properly established and monitored.

     Furthermore, under minute no 660/19 Council resolved:

    That Council request the Chief Executive Officer:

    a Ensure that Council not cause or permit mowing, slashing or trimming of vegetation within 100 metres of the land referred to in minute number 659/19 part (a) without first obtaining consent or carrying out environmental assessment as required under the EP & A Act.

    b Ensure that Development applications and/or any activities (as defined under the EP & A Act) on land owned or under the care control and management of Council within 200 metres of the northern boundary of Warnervale Airport and 200 metres from the southern end of the runway are referred to Council for determination.

    In addition, under minute no 661/19 Council resolved:

    That the report referred to in minute item 659/19 above be submitted to the Ordinary Council meeting on or prior to 26 August 2019.

    In February 2021, the NSW State Parliament voted to repeal the WAR Act along with the immediate lifting of any flight restrictions. The review report also made recommendations for Central Coast Council to develop and adopt a framework for the future of the airport and act to reduce the obstacle risk of trees located on final approach at the northern end of the runway.

    On 23 November 2021, the Council resolved to rescind minute no 660/19 (a). However, all other resolutions 659/19 (a) & (b), 660/19(b) and 661/19 still remain which means extension and upgrading of the runway from 970 to a greater distance will require:

    i. The lodgement of a DA and EIS for the clearing of native vegetation in the coastal wetland and

    ii. The preparation of an EIS to consider the environmental and social issues associated with changing the airport from a Category 1 Airport to a Category 2 Airport.

     The airport continues to provide value to the community through:

    • Recreational flying and hangarage

    • Flight training

    • Community events

    • Medical and emergency services.

    3. Master Plan Context - (Airservices Australia)

    It is noted on page 11 of the Draft Central Coast Airport Masterplan it contains a copy of the aerodrome information, and the current plate within ESA for Warnervale (CCA). It is noted within this document that it states the Runway length is 1,193 metres. Notwithstanding that Airservices Australia records the Runway length at 1,193 metres, as discussed above, under the EP & A Act the length of the approved runway is only 970 metres.

    A statement needs to be included in a revised Central Coast Airport Masterplan that the approved runway length is only 970 metres.

    4. Council’s failure to present a complete and cogent business case as part of the exhibition.

    CEN’s mission is to stand up for Ecologically Sustainable Development and oppose threats to it. The Local Government Act 1993 also places an obligation upon local government to examine the ecological sustainability of its decisions. There is no triple bottom-line analysis provided as part of this exhibition. Thus, the community and stakeholders are being asked to provide feedback without being given access to the information needed to determine even the financial sustainability of this proposal, let alone its ecological sustainability.

    There is a distinct lack of evidence in the public domain that there is any demand for a general aviation hub on the Coast. The information available via the Your Voice Our Coast website does not include the results of the 2022 Request for Information (RFI).

    Council advertised a Request for Information (RFI) from the general aviation industry about whether it would be interested in using a general aviation hub at Warnervale. The results have never been released. However, council is conducting a further round of aviation consultation concurrently with the public exhibition. Does this mean the response rate to the RFI was low? The Your Voice Our Coast website implies the outcome of the RFI is available as part of this consultation but the results appear to never have been made public.

    The main increase in use of the ALA between 2018 and 2022 has been pilot training. This means the privately operated pilot school and the small number of aero club enthusiasts would be the big winners if the proposed Masterplan were to be adopted.

    The results of a phone-based survey with a small sample size of 600 residents are summarised but Council has never released the results of its RFI.

    Council under administration has allocated $4 million to fund the currently exhibited Masterplan. It’s not clear whether all that money has already been spent on this 52-page document on exhibition.

    The airport is currently uncertified, having a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) classification of an Aircraft Landing Area (ALA). The masterplan assumes that it will become a 2B aerodrome. No budget or cost estimates have been given as part of the exhibition to determine the outlay of funds required.

    Costs include new wind direction indicators, aircraft parking areas, hangar developments, helicopter areas, fencing and preparation of a new ANEF. All these costs are part of Stage 1 of the Masterplan, to take place in the next five years. These activities should not have been placed on exhibition without any indicative costings. The absence of a business case or costings makes it impossible for the public and stakeholders to provide fully informed feedback. CEN recommends the current draft Masterplan should be withdrawn from exhibition and council staff sent back to the drawing board. The Masterplan should not be reexhibited without a fully costed business case.

    Stage 2 – the medium-term part of the Masterplan – has no specific timeline (it may move ahead concurrently with stage 1 if the Masterplan is adopted). There are no indicative costings for example, to finance the expansion of the airport to the other side of Jack Grant Ave. The draft Masterplan includes measurements for a taxiway upgrade of 0.4km or 3689.7 square metres but no costs, even indicative, are given for this work.

    The draft Masterplan mentions that there may be a need for a passenger terminal after 10 years. The draft masterplan fails to explain the demand triggers that would determine the need for a passenger terminal and the upgrades and costings required to bring such a proposal to fruition.

    The draft Masterplan explains that the council will need to “ensure that future taxiway upgrades provide a suitable strength rating for planned design aircraft to avoid pavement concessions and risk of taxiway damage”. No costings are provided for this work so it is difficult for stakeholders to comment on whether or not such an investment represents good value for money. Various other facilities upgrades may be required over the life of this draft plan to service the growth of the airport, including:

    · perimeter road;

    · ARO facilities;

    · Automated Weather Station;

    · Car parking;

    · Helicopter facilities.

    The exhibited document gives some information regarding the location and staging of these facility upgrades but gives absolutely no information about how they will be paid for or what they are likely to cost.

    The development of the Western Precinct (currently zoned C2 Environmental Conservation) will require new road access from Sparks Road and will be subject to a future investigation. The design of new facilities, such as new hangar areas, must ensure that private vehicle access to such areas is landside and not airside. No indicative costings or information about the source of funds is provided in the exhibited documents.

    The draft Masterplan has been based on the work of a “range of specialist consultants … based on quadruple bottom line analysis”. CEN believes that whole quadruple bottom line analysis should have been placed on exhibition as part of the current consultation.

    CEN, along with other stakeholders and the general public, cannot determine whether or not this draft Masterplan is the best possible use of public money for the Central Coast. We can, however, draw your attention to Council Resolution 1108/20: “any motions put before Council for the remainder of this term of Council that have financial implications require the Chief Executive Officer to provide a report on how those additional costs will be met.”

    The only information provided by the CEO in relation to the resolution passed to put this Masterplan on exhibition was, “the cost of community consultation and aviation market engagement is included in Council’s adopted 2023/24 Budget.” The community deserves to know how much the short-term proposal to upgrade the ALA to meet CASA standards will cost and where that money will come from. The draft Masterplan needs to be withdrawn from exhibition and reworked for a future exhibition that includes a full business case and budget.

    Likewise, we believe the cost to ratepayers of the land swap between Central Coast Council and the Aero Club should be placed in the public domain as part of this consultation process.

    5. Council’s failure to explain and justify the proposed ‘stewardship site’ for Porters Creek Wetland.

    Figure 2 gives “indicative” boundary realignment for the runway and an indicative subdivision of aviation lands and employment lands from Porters Creek Wetland. The draft Masterplan must show the actual boundary realignment so stakeholders can have a full understanding of the implications for the future viability of the airport.

    The Masterplan on exhibition shows a map of a proposed ‘Stewardship Site’ for Porters Creek Wetland but there is no information, apart from that map, about the future of Porters Creek Wetland. The public has been informed that it is welcome to provide feedback on the proposed stewardship site yet, apart from a map and “indicative” boundaries, no information has been given. If surveys of flora and fauna have been conducted, they should have been placed on exhibition as part of this consultation. If they have not been conducted, the consultation is premature. The draft Masterplan should be withdrawn from exhibition until the surveys and all biodiversity assessments have been conducted.

    Exhibiting a draft Masterplan to develop or encroach on conservation land without disclosing the biodiversity value of that land is an example of mismanagement on behalf of Central Coast Council. How can stakeholders and residents assess the costs and benefits of the draft Masterplan without such detailed information?

    Central Coast Council must release the full details of the proposed new Stewardship Site and re-advertise the Masterplan in complete form. For instance, does the stewardship site cover a larger or smaller area that the previously proposed Conservation Agreement? Will it give the wetland more or less protection than the proposed 2020 Conservation Agreement? If the airport masterplan is going to be a “benchmark for environmentally sensitive and sustainable development in the region” why has it gone on exhibition without releasing the stewardship site information?

    6. Timing

    Has Central Coast Council planned this exhibition to minimise public participation? It was scheduled for exhibition, according to council’s summary of community engagement activities, during Quarter Three, January to March 2024. The Masterplan document history shows it has been in circulation since June but was only ready for community input over the Christmas holiday.

    During 2023 consultations have been held with six stakeholder groups including the aero club, plane owners, runway users etc. Residents and ratepayers have not been part of those consultations. A town hall style meeting was hosted by the aero club and attended by 40 people in person and another 12 digital attendees. More consultation is taking place with the aviation sector while the plan is on public exhibition.

    The council has not seen the need for public meetings, information sessions or any other types of consultation during the public exhibition period. It is up to the community to look carefully at this plan and ask questions.

    Since late 2020, when Central Coast Council was placed under administration, both interim administrator Dick Persson and current administrator Rik Hart have adopted staff recommendations to push forward the expansion of the airport. Between 2017 and 2020, the first elected Central Coast Council, with substantial community support, stopped spending rate payer funds on the airport and sought to find a better economic use for the land.

    The standing resolution on Council’s books is that “Council authorise the Chief Executive Officer to immediately suspend the development of the Warnervale Conservation Agreement and any agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust to permanently protect the Porters Creek Wetland until the Airport Masterplan, plan of Management and a subdivision plan is registered that subdivides the Wetland and surrounding C2 land from the employment land in Warnervale”.

    What is the timeframe for delivery of permanent protection of Porters Creek Wetland? It will be another three years before council determines whether future investigation areas are suitable for development or stewardship.

    According to the draft plan, actual implementation and timing of proposed developments and upgrades will depend on demand triggers, an assessment of forecast market conditions, commercial discussions, and approval processes. CEN appreciates that a masterplan is intended to be a strategic document. However, it is surely preferable to give estimates of what those demand triggers might be so the community can decide how soon impacts will arrive.

    7. Inaccurate and misleading information

    The current approved runway is not 1200 metres but is 970 metres. As Council is aware the current runway was unlawfully constructed by the former WSC and it was punished for doing so. Then the first elected Central Coast Council reinstated the approved length and that resolution has never been fully rescinded. The draft Masterplan needs to be modified in accordance with legal requirements because even though the photos in the draft masterplan are correct the content about runway length is incorrect.

    Figure 45 in the Draft Central Coast Airport Masterplan which represents an artist impression of stage 2 – Medium Term is misleading as it presents a false representation of future land use. Figure 45 must be deleted from the Masterplan.

    8. Noise and suitability of site

    The draft masterplan notes that “residential developments adjacent to airports and under flight paths may lead to complaints about aircraft” and recommends no such developments within the footprint of an airport.

    The draft Masterplan does not include flight path maps, even ‘indicative’ in the exhibited document so it’s difficult to know which suburbs (existing and new) will be impacted and to what degree.

    The Central Coast Local Environment Plan (CCLEP 2022) does include a clause about development in areas subject to aircraft noise. If this Masterplan is adopted, one of its recommendations is that N-contours (n for noise) “should be incorporated into the planning framework in a way that gives them proper and appropriate effect, at least as an additional strategic planning consideration over and above the ANEF contours and AS2021.” When will residents already living or planning to buy around the airport have the ANEF contours or have an explanation of AS2021 that they can understand?

    The ‘windshear assessment envelope’ which is included in the exhibited draft plan would appear to place substantial limits on what can be built on the general industrial land around the current ALA but there is no information about future impediments to development included for public consideration. If employment growth on the industrial land is a priority for council, it needs to better explain how expansion of land use for employment works hand-in-hand with the constraints required for airport safety.

    Thank you for taking the time to review our submission, we sincerely hope all matters raised will be taken seriously by staff and fully addressed in the subsequent report to Council on this consultation. However, as set out, we recommend the draft Masterplan’s immediate withdrawal from exhibition until all outstanding matters are addressed.

  • CENTRAL COAST COUNCIL CANNOT PRETEND TO HAVE ANYTHING BUT A SHAMEFUL TRACK RECORD ON PROTECTING WETLANDS THIS WORLD WETLANDS DAY

    Runway through Porters Creek Wetland

    Runway through Porters Creek Wetland

     

    It’s World Wetlands Day (February 2), a day to raise global awareness of the important role wetlands play in protecting critical ecosystems and biodiversity but, according to the Community Environment Network (CEN), Central Coast Council’s track record on protecting local wetlands is “shameful”.

    “Wherever land meets water, life abounds,” says Dr Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands. “Wetlands exist in every corner of this beautiful planet and are the arteries and veins of the landscape. Majestic and mighty, wetlands are a sight to behold.”

    Dr Mumba, in her global address for World Wetlands Day 2023, explains that:

    •        40 percentof all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands;
    •       wetlands are rich in nature and vital to human life; 
    •       they are crucial to agriculture and fisheries; 
    •       they act as water sources, purifiers and protect our shores. Wetlands are the planet’s greatest natural carbon stores;
    •       nearly 90 percentof the world’s wetlands have been degraded or lost; and 
    •       we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests.

    On the NSW Central Coast, the Community Environment Network (CEN) has called on Central Coast Council to explain its reasons for neglecting to protect two of the region’s most important wetlands – Porters Creek and Spring Creek.

    PORTERS CREEK

    “When Central Coast Council was placed under administration in October 2020, CEN urged the newly appointed Interim Administrator and Acting CEO to complete an agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) to permanently protect Porters Creek Wetland,” said CEN Chair, Mr Gary Chestnut.

    “Not only did they fob us off, but they didn’t even have the good manners to inform the BCT that they had changed their mind about an agreement that was ready to sign off,” Mr Chestnut said.

    “During this current period of administration, Central Coast Council has also backed away from storm water management plans for the Porters Creek Wetland that would have gone some way to protect the region’s biggest freshwater wetland from some of the consequences of over-development in its catchment,” he said.

    “Council has opted for less expensive ‘nature-based’ solutions that we hope will be effective enough to prevent the wetland from literally drowning in stormwater runoff.

    “Meanwhile the currently-exhibited community land draft plan of management implies that the whole of Porters Creek Wetland was classified as operational land by the former Wyong Shire Council and the current administration appears comfortable with this.

    “Operational land can be sold by Central Coast Council and CEN considers it a travesty that this wetland is not valued enough by our local government to be classified as community land to protect it from sale when it perfectly matches the definition of a Natural Area – Wetland in the draft plan of management.

    “CEN marks the occasion of World Wetlands Day by repeating our call for Central Coast Council to enter a Conservation Agreement with the NSW BCT to permanently protect Porters Creek Wetland and we ask Mr Rik Hart and Mr David Farmer to move swiftly to reclassify this important environmental feature of the Coast from operational to community land.

    “This is particularly important as the recently-released Greater Cities Commission’s Central Coast Strategy recommends unlocking employment land in ‘the Northern Growth Corridor around the Central Coast Airport at Warnervale…’ and includes a photograph of the airport runway extended through the wetland.

    “If Central Coast Council will not reclassify and permanently protect Porters Creek Wetland, will it come clean and let the community know why not. Is the long-term plan to develop the airport into the wetland? If so, where’s the business case for doing so?”

    SPRING CREEK

    Mr Chestnut said CEN was continuing to work on its response to the inappropriate sale of land at Doyalson including the Spring Creek Wetland.

    “It is clear from the research we have done to date that Central Coast Council was aware, before selling this land, of its long-term conservation value.

    “CEN believes Council needs to explain its actions to the public, repurchase the land, classify it as community land and complete the work we now know it had started to protect the land through bio-certification.

    “We have written to Mr Farmer, the Local Government Minister and former directors multiple times about this matter and we await their explanation.”

Contact details

CALL 02 4349 4756

PO Box 149 Ourimbah NSW 2258

CEN OFFICES
FM Building, Central Coast Campus,
University of Newcastle,
Loop Road, Ourimbah,
NSW, 2258

EMAIL US

Connect